NAICU Washington Update

ESEA Reauthorization Underway

February 10, 2010

The President's budget kicked off the process for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with the outline of proposed consolidation of programs to focus on "competitiveness, flexibility, and accountability," according to the department's press release on the budget. 

The administration's plan consolidates 38 ESEA programs into 11 funding streams, and "will propose to replace the accountability system established in NCLB with a new system build around the goal of helping all students graduate high school college- and career-ready." 

NAICU and other higher education associations will be watching the ESEA reauthorization process in Congress closer than ever before.  A particular concern is the role institutions of higher education will play in teacher preparation.  Already, the budget proposes to consolidate all federally-funded teacher education programs into three streams that have institutions as partners, not as lead grantees. 

The Obama administration is very interested in expanding the role of alternative routes to teaching in filling highly qualified teaching positions in low-performing schools.  They believe the success they've seen, especially in urban areas -- with special programs in Boston, New York, and Chicago -- are the models to follow for reforming low-performing schools across the country.  This is seen by some as an affront to traditional teacher preparation programs at institutions of higher education, both public and private.  The concept also opens the doors for increased participation in federal teaching programs for proprietary institutions.

NAICU and other higher education associations are working closely with the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE), whose members are deans of education, to ensure public and private colleges and universities maintain a strong role in federally-funded teacher preparation programs, without overly burdensome accountability provisions.