Update on HR 5: Unfinished Business

The report that HR 5 to seriously limit the authority of the U.D. Department of Education, restructure Title I funding for low income area schools, and eliminate the Common Core standards among other measures, has not been pulled as previously announced by Rep. Amash.

Two amendments were offered:

HR 5 (#43) Thompson (MS).  HR 5 will not go into effect until it can be assured there will be no adverse affect on low income, minority, and English learner students.

HR 5 (#44) Scott (Va).  The amendment would replace # 43 and call for robust funding, replace No Child Left Behind, and maintain civil rights and equity.

The committee voted to rise and leave the bill as unfinished business.


Common Core: Are We In or Out?

common coreCOMMON CORE: Are We IN or OUT?

There is much angst about Common Core Standards (CCS). People disagree about what children should know and be able to do. The new standards focus on learning how to evaluate how well students understand what they read and how well they grasp math concepts.  All students are expected to be college and career ready.  The arguments have a familiar ring. Students differ.  The Florida League of Women Voters asks: Is it fair to have the same high expectations for all students?   Is it fair not to?  Is this even the correct question?

Some say that the standards are not the problem, the amount of testing required to measure the standards.  They argue that testing to evaluate teachers and schools is misguided. How is the Florida legislature responding? Is it possible to find some common ground?

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Congress to Vote on H.R. 5 NEXT FRIDAY: Send your opinion

US House SealAn important vote on H.R. 5 is scheduled Friday.  While the League of Women Voters supports national curriculum guidelines and assessment of skills that compares the student achievement across similar districts, it also supports local implementation of the curricula and skills.   The operative definition of the League’s position is that all children should have access to an equitable, quality education.  To what extent does this bill have the desired result?

The bill severely cuts the role of the U.S. Department of Education.  It also freezes funding until 2021.  Finally, it increases support for charter schools and allows Title I funding for low income schools to be moved to other schools.  The bill has generated controversy.  Specific requirements follow.

If you wish to contact your legislators, a contact list is below.

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Another Bill to Review Federal and State Testing Policies

dmbtestA new bill has been introduced in Congress to reduce testing.  This one funds efforts by states to review and eliminate redundant and low quality tests.  It is sponsored by Senator Baldwin (WI) and Representative Bonamici (OR).


The bill is called the “Support Making Assessments Reliable and Timely (SMART)” act.  According to Rep. Bonamici’s website, the bill has bipartisan support.  The press release does not explain why states would need federal money to do a review of their tests.


This bill is quite different from the Gibson and Sinema bill that seeks to reduce federally mandated annual assessments.

Difference Between U. S. House and Senate Education Bills

congress-74032_1280The Senate version of the education bill (See: US Senator Lamar Alexandar Bill ) and the House version differ mostly on the requirements for achievement testing.

The House version is a reintroduction of last year’s Student Success Act.  Both version emphasize returning control to the states.

A summary of the House version follows.  We will track the bills.  Check Legislative Updates on the rotating banner for the blog.  It is the photo of the green chalkboard.

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SB 616 Filed to Reduce Testing Impact

dmbtestSenate Education Chairman, John Legg, filed SB 616 to limit testing time and reduce the impact of achievement gain scores on teacher evaluations.

There is also a district option for changing how State assessment results are reported for 2014-15.

Will the bill have a meaningful impact on the amount of testing that is required?  Given that districts must still do local testing in courses not covered in statewide assessments, it is not clear how the number of tests will be reduced.

Testing and learning have always been intertwined.  The question at hand is how much testing and for which purposes should tests be used?  The legislators are listening.  Send them your thoughts.

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