IEL's latest PolicyPulse! video is up, featuring Mary Kingston Roche, public policy manager for the Coalition for Community Schools. The latest video, Roche discusses the latest developments in Congress on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind. Kingston urges viewers to reach out to their congressional representatives to urge them to support reauthorization with a focus on elements that support the community schools vision.
Read IEL's Coalition for Community Schools recommendations for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Take action and contact your congressional representative.
Hello, this is Mary Kingston Roche with the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership here to give you a PolicyPulse! update.
We are here to update you on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA for short, and what it means for community schools. Congress has actually been working on reauthorizing this bill since January, when Chairman Alexander of the Senate Education Committee declared it his top priority. Five months later, after the cherry blossoms here in DC have come and gone, they’re still working on it and we still remain optimistic that we could get a bill.
As recently as April 16th, the Senate Education Committee unanimously passed its bipartisan ESEA bill called the Every Child Achieves Act out of committee. This was led by Chairman Alexander of TN and Ranking Member Murray of WA and the bill included enough components from each side that it was able to get bipartisan support.
We can celebrate the fact that there were a few key wins for community schools in this bill. Here are just a few.
First, dedicated funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program was preserved. This is a huge win for community schools as this is the single source of funding for after school and out of time programs and is a huge source of funding for community schools. We thank our national partner, the After School Alliance, for their great leadership in this effort.
Second, the bill moves us toward a more comprehensive approach towards accountability, which is in line with our principles. It requires states and districts in their Title I plans and reporting to include indicators going beyond academic achievement; including: discipline, such as suspensions and expulsions, and school climate, including chronic absence. This is a huge step forward towards a more equitable approach in our schools. Additionally, districts that would receive funding to promote student health and safety must first conduct a comprehensive community-based needs assessment, which again, is right in line with our community school principles.
And finally, for Title I schools known as targeted assistance schools, these schools can now use funding for, what they call, “Comprehensive Services,” which could include hiring a community school coordinator; family engagement; and health care services. These are all best practices you would see in a community school.
So what happens now? The Senate is trying to get its bill onto the Senate floor the week of June 16th, which would be great timing for community schools as our leaders will be on the Hill June 11th for Advocacy Day. Regardless of what happens, we urge you to keep the pressure on Congress to reauthorize this. So, we ask you to take two minutes to go to this Action Alert right here (www.communityschools.org/policypulse), and send a link to your members of Congress urging them to reauthorize ESEA and include these community school principles.
What’s happening on the House side? Not much as we see now, but they may try to bring their partisan bill back onto the floor and find a way forward to meld their bill with the Senate bill to bring it to the president.
Thanks for watching and be sure to stay in touch for the next PolicyPulse! update!