Five Changes the New No Child Left Behind Makes for English Learners

By Brenda Calderon, Policy Analyst, Education Policy Project, NCLR

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This week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously passed Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray  600-page bipartisan bill, the “Every Child Achieves Act” (ECAA) to make updates to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESEA, the nation’s largest federal K–12 law, best known as “No Child Left Behind,” has played a key role in providing aid to disadvantaged students from low-income communities.

Earlier this year, NCLR released its recommendations on Title III of ESEA, the provision dealing with English learners (ELs). As highlighted in our statistical brief, there are nearly five million ELs in the United States, 80 percent of whom are Spanish speakers. NCLR believes that having a strong federal role is important in getting ELs college- and career-ready. There are significant changes throughout the bill, but the changes highlighted here focus specifically on English learners.

  1. Accountability moved to state plans. Under current law, states receiving funds under Title III must hold schools accountable for increasing the number and percentage of ELs attaining proficiency along with other provisions. While this section of the bill was removed in the new version, all states are now accountable for moving ELs from the lowest levels of English proficiency to the state-determined proficient level and this criteria must be demonstrated in state plans.
  1. Eliminates Part B. No Child Left Behind offered a slew of competitive grant programs to enhance language instruction programs. These are nestled within the “Part B” section. It includes grants for professional development and funds for districts experiencing large influxes of immigrant children and youth. These programs were eliminated in the ECAA.
  1. New standardized entrance and exit procedures for ELs. Identification of ELs varies widely across and within states, meaning that a student may be identified as an EL in one district, but as a non-EL in another. The ECAA tries to remedy this by establishing standardized statewide entrance and exit procedures for students identified as ELs. It also sets a timeline for students to be assessed for EL status within 30 days of enrollment.

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  1. Evaluations removed. Under NCLB, entities that use Title III funds shall provide for an evaluation every two years that includes a description of the programs, progress of ELL students, the number and percentage of ELs meeting state academic standards, and other metrics. While this provision is no longer in the bill, the Secretary of Education must now conduct an evaluation of Title III programs.
  1. New categories of ELs. The ECAA creates reporting requirements on progress of two new EL categories: long-term EL and EL with a disability. A long-term EL is a student who has been in EL services for a minimum of five years. An EL with a disability is one who meets the criteria described in section 602 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

For more detailed information on changes to Title III please see our side-by-side.

Weekly Washington Outlook — April 13, 2015

By Vinoth Chandar (Flickr: Capitol Hill - Washington, DC) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Vinoth Chandar (Flickr: Capitol Hill – Washington, DC) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House returns Monday from a two-week recess to consider six bills under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 299 – Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Stivers / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1259 – Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act (Sponsored by Rep. Andy Barr / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1265 – Bureau Advisory Commission Transparency Act (Sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 601 – Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act (Sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1367 – To amend the Expedited Funds Availability Act to clarify the application of that Act to American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands (Sponsored by Del. Amata Radewagen / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 1480 – SAFE Act Confidentiality and Privilege Enhancement Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Dold / Financial Services Committee)

On Tuesday and the balance of the week, the House will consider the following tax-related legislation under suspension of the rules:

  • R. 1058 – Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1152 – IRS Email Transparency Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kenny Marchant / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1026 – Taxpayer Knowledge of IRS Investigations Act (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1314 – Ensuring Tax Exempt Organizations the Right to Appeal Act (Sponsored by Rep. Patrick Meehan / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1295 – IRS Bureaucracy Reduction and Judicial Review Act (Sponsored by Rep. George Holding / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 709 – Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act (Sponsored by Rep. Jim Renacci / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1104 – Fair Treatment for All Gifts Act (Sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1562 – Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • R. 1563 – Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2015, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

The House has also scheduled votes on additional financial services and tax legislation, subject to a rule:

  • R. 650 – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Fincher / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 685 – Mortgage Choice Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga / Financial Services Committee)
  • R. 622 – State and Local Sales Tax Deduction Fairness Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)
  • R. 1105 – Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)

Senate:

The Senate also returns Monday and will vote on a judicial nomination Monday evening. Later in the week, the Senate is expected to vote on House-passed legislation to reform the Medicare sustainable growth rate and extend CHIP authorization for two years.

White House:

On Monday, the president will attend meetings at the White House.

On Tuesday, President Obama will host Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the White House. The Prime Minister’s visit underscores the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq and the strong U.S. commitment to political and military cooperation with Iraq in the joint fight against ISIL. The president and prime minister will discuss a range of issues, including continued U.S. support to Iraq to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, the Government of Iraq’s actions to address the needs of the Iraqi people and to strengthen cooperation between all communities in Iraq, and advancing a broad U.S.-Iraqi partnership through expanded political, commercial, and cultural relations under the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement. In the evening, the president and first lady will invite music legends and top contemporary artists to the White House as part of its “In Performance at the White House” series. The event will pay tribute to the fundamental role gospel music has played in the American musical tradition and the important artists and repertoire that have marked its vibrant history.

On Wednesday, President Obama will attend meetings at the White House.

On Thursday, the president will welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the White House in celebration of the eighth annual Soldier Ride. A cycling event to help Wounded Warriors restore their physical and emotional well-being, the Soldier Ride also raises awareness of our nation’s Wounded Warriors who battle the physical and psychological damages of war. Afterward, the President will deliver remarks at a Champions of Change event highlighting issues important to working families.

On Friday, President Obama will host Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the White House. During their meeting, the president and Prime Minister Renzi will discuss support for Ukraine and continued U.S.-EU unity on pressuring Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine to adhere to the Minsk agreements; the situation in Libya; and the need for the international community to continue efforts to counter ISIL and other extremists throughout the Middle East. They will also exchange views on economic developments in Europe, support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, climate change and energy security, and other issues of mutual interest.

Coming Up Next Week:

Nominations – After a two week break, it is still not clear how the Senate will move forward with consideration of a stalled anti-trafficking bill that has become mired in abortion politics. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said repeatedly that the Senate must complete work on this legislation before he will move to confirm Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General.

Health – The Senate is expected to vote this week on legislation that would permanently alter Medicare’s sustainable growth rate. This legislation also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. It passed overwhelmingly in the House on March 26. Senate Democrats, however, are hoping to have an opportunity to amend the bill to extend CHIP for four years rather than two years. Some have commented that their support of final passage is contingent on an amendment process. Elsewhere, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday on IRS challenges implementing the ACA.

Education – The Senate HELP Committee will begin marking-up a bipartisan ESEA reauthorization bill on Tuesday.  Last week, Senator Murray (D-Wash.) and Senator Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced they had reached an agreement to rewrite the law.  The compromise maintains annual statewide assessments, requires states to set rigorous goals, and includes English Learner language and academic proficiency in state accountability systems. However, the draft allows states greater flexibility in designing their accountability systems without clear guidelines of when states must intervene to address schools failing to meet the needs of specific groups of students. Additional details. In the House, there was speculation that H.R. 5 may be on the floor again this work period. This legislation was not listed in Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s memo outlining the schedule for the next few weeks, suggesting it is still short of votes for passage. Elsewhere, Education Secretary Arne Duncan will testify Thursday before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Labor-HHS-Education Sucbommittee.

Immigration – Immigration Customs and Enforcemenet Director Sarah Saldana will appear on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee and Wednesday at the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee.

Budget – As the April 15, statutory deadline looms for the House and Senate to agree on a concurrent budget resolution, negotiations between each chamber’s Budget Committees continue. The House and Senate are expected to formally name conferees this week. There is no penalty for failing to meet the deadline, whether by adopting a budget late or not adopting one at all. If no agreement is reached, each chamber can deem its resolution as binding on the spending and revenue bills that come later.

Financial Services – The House this week is voting on a series of consumer-related bills. Notably, H.R. 299 would allow privately insured credit unions to join the Home Loan Bank System and H.R. 1265 would require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to comply with federal transparency laws (the CFPB is currently exempt along with the Federal Reserve system). Finally, H.R. 601 would exempt financial institutions from providing annual privacy notices to customers if no changes have been made. Elsewhere, the House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday “Examining Regulatory Burdens of Non-Depository Financial Institutions.” The hearing is likely to focus on a range of industry complaints concerning the CFPB, including efforts to regulate indirect auto lending and payday lending.

Housing – The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing Thursday, “Regulatory Burdens to Obtaining Mortgage Credit.”  In the House, members will vote on a number of housing-related bills. H.R. 1480 will be considered under suspension of the rules and would allow federal and state financial services regulators to receive information through the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. Later in the week, the House will vote on H.R. 650. This bill would modify the Truth in Lending Act to change the definitions of high-cost mortgage and mortgage originator for the purposes of manufactured housing. The stated purpose is to ensure affordable credit for these loans, but consumer groups have voiced considerable opposition. Similarly, the House will also vote on H.R. 685 which would allow more mortgages to be classified as qualified mortgages under the CFPB’s QM rule. As with H.R. 650, consumer advocates are skeptical of this legislation.

Tax – April 15 is Tax Day!  To celebrate, the House will vote on a number of IRS oversight bills. The House will also vote on legislation to repeal the estate tax (H.R. 1105) and reinstate and permanently extend the state and local sales tax deduction (H.R. 622).

Weekly Washington Outlook — January 5, 2015

Photo: Harris Walker, Creative Commons

Photo: Harris Walker, Creative Commons

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

House:

The House has not yet released its weekly schedule. On Tuesday, members will be sworn-in and formerly elect a Speaker; despite several Republican members challenging Speaker Boehner, he is widely expected to be chosen. The House will also vote on its rules for this Congress, which reportedly includes dynamic scoring of major legislation. Later in the week, the House may vote on legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and amend the Affordable Care Act.

Senate:

On Tuesday, newly-elected Senators will be sworn-in to office and a vote is scheduled to elect Senator Orrin Hatch to be the president pro tempore. At this time, there is no legislative business scheduled for the floor for this week. The Senate is expected to vote as soon as next week on legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

White House:

The White House has not released a public schedule for this week. However, on Tuesday, the president will host President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico at the White House. The two leaders are expected to discuss economic, security, and social issues. On Wednesday, President Obama will travel to Detroit to talk about auto manufacturing. On Thursday, the president will speak about homeownership in Phoenix. On Friday, President Obama and the vice president will discuss college access and affordability at an event in Tennessee.

Also this Week:

Appropriations – As part of the agreement to fund the government at the end of last year, the Department of Homeland Security only received appropriations until February 28 of this year. It is possible a Homeland Security spending bill could be on the floor next week after Republicans meet this week to discuss their strategy for continued opposition to the president’s executive actions on immigration. There has been some speculation that a border security measure could be attached, but this is not yet clear.

Health – The House could vote as soon as this week on legislation that would change the definition of full-time employment under the ACA from thirty to forty hours a week. Members may also vote on a bill that would allow employers to exclude employees with healthcare coverage through the Defense Department or Veterans Affairs Department from the employer mandate.

Budget – The House will vote this week on a package of rules for this Congress that includes a provision requiring dynamic scoring for major pieces of legislation.  Dynamic scoring takes into account the macroeconomic impact of a given bill. This policy change is motivated in part by a long-standing Republican wish to show that tax cuts are beneficial to the economy as a whole and this picture is not fully captured under current scoring assumptions. Elsewhere, new House and Senate Budget Chairs Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) are considering replacing Congressional Budget Office Direct Doug Elmendorf. His term has expired, but no decision has yet been made.

Education – While not yet officially scheduled, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee, has said he plans to hold a hearing in early January on testing as a lead-up to re-authorization the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Speaking Truth to Power

By Angelica Solis, Director, Youth Policy Institute

(Cross-posted from the National Institute for Latino School Leaders blog.)

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NCLR Nat’l. Institute for Latino School Leaders fellows in Washington last month.

Our national leaders are charged with some heavy responsibilities: representing the community’s interest and ensuring that that representation reflects national policy. This is easier said than done. Competing community interests, disconnect between local realities and national perceptions, insufficient information about specific topic issues, and many other factors often challenge our leadership’s ability to develop policies that address the specific needs of Latino students and their families. For this reason, it is important that school and community leaders working directly with Latino communities actively engage policy makers around the issues that are vital to supporting the students and families they work with.

Informing and educating policy makers and their staff about important education issues such as NCLB waivers, college and career readiness standards, family engagement, and mental health, is critical to ensuring that Latino voices and experiences are not lost as our national legislators craft policies that will impact our community. Most importantly, having policy makers hear first hand the stories of how education policies play out locally, allows them to put faces to the issues and to contextualize the statistics and data that may or may not accurately capture the impacts of these policies in our communities.

On March 6, the current cohort of NCLR’s National Institute for Latino School Leaders (NILSL) had an opportunity to do just that – share their local stories, experiences and expertise around these and several other key issues impacting Latino students and families across the country. The NILSL fellows had the chance to meet with representatives from high-ranking legislative leaders such as Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.), and others, that are currently leading discourse and developing policies that impact our educators, schools, students and families. NILSL participants shared first-hand accounts of how their schools can use resources to support teacher development; how realignment of existing funds can impact a school’s ability to provide mental health resources to the child that has to overcome the traumas of living in a gang-infested neighborhood; and how developing clear accountability measures can ensure local schools are held accountable for erasing the achievement gap.

National Institute for Latino School Leaders Fellows outside NCLR headquarters in DC.

National Institute for Latino School Leaders Fellows outside NCLR headquarters in DC.

These were the stories the NILSL fellows carried with them as they walked the halls of Congress and met with the staff of the powerful leaders that will make decisions that impact their communities. Equipped with these stories as well as the hard facts and data related to the issue topics, the school and community leaders were unwavering in their commitment to the share the key recommendations that will ultimately lead to improved student outcomes, safe and healthy school environments, and improved community and family engagement.

Without the voices of local school and community leaders in Washington D.C., our leaders’ job of representing our Latino community interests will be difficult to fulfill, and it is in our best interest that they are successful at what they do so that our communities can be successful in return.