Accountability on the table as Senate considers ESEA

Action on the rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act moves into the U.S. Senate this week, with major concerns around issues of accountability.

The House version of the bill, which they passed on July 8, does not include language that would hold schools accountable for intervening if an entire school or any group of students is persistently struggling, as measured by valid, comparable and reliable assessments of academic progress.

The Senate began debate on their version of the bill last week and will debate proposed amendments related to accountability and assessments this week.

The draft Senate bill includes a number of positive elements, according to an analysis by the Education Trust, including:

  • State-adopted standards aligned with the demands of postsecondary education and career;
  • Annual statewide assessment of all students in grades 3-8 and once again in high school, with a strictly limited exception for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities;
  • Transparent, accessible reporting of data — disaggregated by race, income, disability status and English proficiency — at the state, district and school levels, so educators, parents and students themselves have objective information on where they are on their journey to college and career readiness; and
  • Statewide accountability systems that include achievement and graduation-rate goals for all groups of students, rate schools in part on the academic performance of all groups of students, and provide dedicated funding for school improvement.

“However, the bill needs to be strengthened by adding accountability for the $14 billion in federal Title 1 money that is distributed annually to the states for educational support to low-income students,” according to the Education Trust analysis.

Graphic: Raising Achievement for All Through Accountability

All Kids Mattter









For years, academic achievement among black, Latino, and low-income students floundered.

Since federal requirements for annual testing, full public reporting, and serious accountability, these students have experienced big gains in reading and math.


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