House Completes Its Work on ESEA Reauthorization

On July 8, the U.S. House of Representatives completed its work on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, passed by a vote of 218-213 (Roll Call vote no. 423).

While the final House bill with all agreed-to amendments has not yet been released, there are a few pieces that AACTE members will find of interest.

First, the Growing Education Achievement Training Academies for Teachers and Principals Act – the GREAT Act – is included in the House measure. The GREAT Act would not result in the systemic improvement of our nation’s teacher and principal preparation for several reasons. For one, the “training academies” it proposes are unlikely to involve higher education, which currently prepares 90% of all new teachers, and the bill would not require partnerships with PK-12 schools. In addition, the GREAT Act would lower the standards required for preparing teachers and principals, and it would consider the academies’ certificate to be equivalent to a master’s degree. There are no requirements that academy completers go on to actually teach or lead in PK-12 schools, nor is there any match required from the communities or mention of partnerships the academies should be fostering.

The House bill also would repeal the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Program found in Title II of the Higher Education Act. The TQP grants are the only federal funds dedicated to the reform and innovation of teacher preparation programs. These partnerships are composed of teacher preparation programs, high-need local education agencies, and high-need schools. Requirements include a focus on high-need subjects, deeper clinical practice, and at least 2 years of induction for program graduates as they serve in high-need schools. In addition, grantees have the option to create residency programs, which are similar to those used in medical education. Furthermore, TQP grants require a 100% financial match, which increases the chance of programs’ sustainability after the grants expire. While pieces of the TQP program are considered allowable uses of funds in the ESEA Title II B set-aside, these pieces would not be woven into a coherent program that develops a pipeline of profession-ready teachers in high-need fields for high-need schools.

For these reasons and others, AACTE does not support H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. We now await the U.S. Senate’s ESEA reauthorization and will engage with both bodies as their bills move forward to conference.

Please contact me at dkoolbeck@aacte.org with any questions.

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Deborah Koolbeck

Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE

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