The 114th Congress: A Chance for ESEA Reauthorization Corey Williams NEA Government Relations January 2015 [email protected] Republicans Win Solid Majority in Senate Control of the 113th Senate (2012-2014) Control of the 114th Senate (2014-2016) Democratic Republican Independent 2 2 45 53 Total Seats Democrats: 53 Republicans: 45 Independents: 2 54 44 Total Seats Democrats: 44 Republicans: 54 Independents: 2 Analysis •Having won most of this year’s competitive races, Republicans secured 54 Senate seats, flipping the Senate from blue to red •A GOP win in Louisiana was announced on December 6, 2014 •Since Republicans expanded their majority to 54 seats, they will have an easier time passing legislation in the Senate because they will need fewer Democratic defections to overcome filibusters (which require a 60 vote supermajority) Source: National Journal Research; CNN Election Center; Associated Press; NBC News. Republicans Win Record Majority in House Control of the 113th House (2012-2014) Control of the 114th House (2014-2016) Democratic Republican 234 201 AK Total Seats Democrats: 201 Republicans: 234 247 188 AK Total Seats Democrats: 188 Republicans: 247 Analysis • Republicans won a total of at least 246 seats in the House, their largest majority since 1928 • An expanded GOP majority in the House means that Speaker Boehner will have an easier time passing legislation in the House without Democratic support, and Republicans will also have an easier time holding on to their majority in future elections Source: National Journal Research; CNN Election Center; New York Times. Senate HELP Committee: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes… Chairman: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Former Secretary of Education and governor of Tennessee In both 2011 and 2013, wrote wide-ranging reauthorization bills Wants less federal involvement Ranking Member: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) Received NEA Friend of Education Award in 2013 Senate HELP Committee chairwoman Widely known as a deal-maker — e.g., worked with House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) Political pressure from back home — Washington’s ESEA waiver revoked in 2014 Up for reelection in 2016 Critical HELP Committee Members Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) Former Denver superintendent, education reformer who enjoys bipartisan respect Has already expressed deep concern about some of our priority issues — teacher evaluation, teacher preparation, testing In 2011, led group of DFER-aligned moderates who issued white paper on education reform, much of which we did not agree with Close with Alexander, could triangulate Senate debate Potential Republican allies Sen. Mark Kirk (IL) Sen. Richard Burr (NC) Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK) Sen. Alexander’s Priorities PROS: Values returning federal control to the states • Rejects instituting federal control over content of teacher evaluation — believes it is a state issue • Supports states leading on interventions for struggling schools • Supports state and local flexibility around accountability • CONS: • • • • • May not go far enough on maintaining equity Supports school choice, including Title 1 portability and vouchers (separate bill) Does not go far enough on charter school accountability Funding levels are not nearly high enough Need clarity on his position on testing frequency (113th Congress bill maintained annual yearly testing in grades 3-8) Fewer Changes in the House Rep. John Kline (R-MN) • Returning for a third term as chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee • Expected to start with H.R. 5 from the 113th Congress — passed by the House, opposed by NEA Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) • Ranking Member for 114th Congress • Long-time member of the committee who has been active on key social justice initiatives, high school reform Rep. Kline’s Objectives Embodied in H.R. 5 Passed by House in July 2013 — few Republicans voted “no” Supported returning decision making back to the state, including teacher evaluations NEA opposed H.R. 5 because it: Consolidated programs, walks back equity Did not protect the educator’s voice in decision-making Did not provide adequate levels of funding Maintained annual testing requirements in grades 3-8 Authorized Title 1 public school portability (floor amendment) Original version included a mandatory teacher evaluation provision — Conservatives stripped it out, felt it overstepped federalism ESEA Reauthorization Help ensure equal educational opportunity and resources – ensuring a child’s right to quality education Supports programs that level the playing field and protects the most vulnerable populations Revamp accountability systems Not punishment-driven system(s) Ensure federal role promotes equity Transparency to equity gaps among students High Quality Programs Resources – funding, materials, support services, quality faculty and staff Grade Span Testing Testing required by ESEA once in elementary, once in middle and once in high school VS NCLB Testing More than doubled tests in reading and math alone K-12 students take a total of 14 federally- mandated tests Toxic-testing backlash Additional Dynamics Opposition remains strong Administration dynamics Much of their legacy will not be possible given R leadership In ESEA context, can be most helpful in holding line on equity Continued staffing changes make Dept. of Ed less relevant on Hill If ESEA is reauthorized, the Department loses power Not a Single Moment to Lose We need to define what successful ESEA reauthorization looks like given composition of the 114th Congress We all need to understand the role Republicans will play in the ESEA reauthorization process Possible we could have House and Senate bills by the RA NEA will look to state affiliates and BOD for their engagement and assistance Current ask : push reduction of assessments with Congress More calls and asks in the future Questions?