ESEA in the 114th Congress - Iowa State Education Association

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)
Total Seats
Democrats: 53
Republicans: 45
Independents: 2
Total Seats
Democrats: 44
Republicans: 54
Independents: 2
•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)
Total Seats
Democrats: 201
Republicans: 234
Total Seats
Democrats: 188
Republicans: 247
• 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
 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
 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
Potential Republican allies
 Sen. Mark Kirk (IL)
 Sen. Richard Burr (NC)
 Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Sen. Alexander’s Priorities
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
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
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
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
NCLB Testing
 More than doubled tests in reading and math
 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
 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

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