Education

Summary

An education tab is present under each representative's profile. This tab shows the representative's views and votes on the role of government in education, and numerous categories within education. Within the education tab, the representative's position on the following items is attempted to be established:

  • No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
  • Vouchers for private schools
  • The Head Start Program
  • Charter schools
  • Home schooling
  • Universal testing standards
  • The Race to the Top Program

 

Legislation

The main pertinent legislation is the No Child Left Behind Act.

 

No Child Left Behind Act Official Summary Bill Text

 

No Child Left Behind

Days after assuming office, President Bush proposed the idea of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). An executive summary put forth by the Bush administration stated that the program would increase accountability, add more choices for parents, add greater flexibility for states and schools, and putting reading first. The legislation was shepherded through the Congress by Democrat Ted Kennedy and passed the House and Senate in May and June of 2001. The final form of the legislation was delayed by the September 11 attacks and passed through in December of 2001. (Official Summary, Text)

The No Child Left Behind Act requires all government-run schools receiving federal funding to administer a state-wide standardized test (all students take the same test under the same conditions) annually to all students. The students' scores are used to determine whether the school has taught the students well. Schools which receive Title I funding through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 must make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in test scores (e.g. each year, its fifth graders must do better on standardized tests than the previous year's fifth graders).

If the school's results are repeatedly poor, then a series of steps are taken to improve the school. Schools that miss AYP for a second consecutive year are publicly labeled as being "in need of improvement" and are required to develop a two-year improvement plan for the subject that the school is not teaching well. Students are given the option to transfer to a better school within the school district, if any exists. Missing AYP in the third year forces the school to offer free tutoring and other supplemental education services to struggling students. If a school misses its AYP target for a fourth consecutive year, the school is labeled as requiring "corrective action," which might involve actions like the wholesale replacement of staff, introduction of a new curriculum, or extending the amount of time students spend in class. The fifth year of failure results in planning to restructure the entire school; the plan is implemented if the school fails to hit its AYP targets for the sixth year in a row. Common options include closing the school, turning the school into a charter school, hiring a private company to run the school, or asking the state office of education to directly run the school.

The act requires states to provide "highly qualified" teachers to all students. Each state sets its own standards for what counts as "highly qualified". Similarly, the act requires states to set "one high, challenging standard" for its students. Each state decides for itself what counts as "one high, challenging standard", but the curriculum standards must be applied to all students, rather than having different standards for students in different cities or other parts of the state. (This text taken from wikipedia)

 

The Head Start Program

The Head Start Program and Early Head Start Program provides government assistance to needy children and to the children of immigrant and migrant workers. Assistance is based on income level and can range from part day care to full day care to in-home visits. The program's most notable aspect is providing pre-school for low-income families free of charge. The legislation to reauthorize the program was passed in 2007 and received wide support from both Republicans and Democrats. 

Supporters of the program state that low-income and spanish speaking children are at a disadvantage when entering school and that this disadvantage hinders them and their classmates in the future. Opponents of the program oppose the taxation of American families to educate the children of other nations when those same American families may not be able to provide pre-school for their own children.

 

Race to the Top

In 2009, President Obama announced his Race to the Top program. The $4 billion dollar program establishes a point system to judge each state as they compete for federal education funds. This point system includes:

  • Great Teachers and Leaders (138 total points)rn
    • Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance (58 points)
    • Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals (25 points)
    • Providing high-quality pathways for aspiring teachers and principals (21 points)
    • Providing effective support to teachers and principals (20 points)
    • Improving the effectiveness of teacher and principal preparation programs (14 points)
  • State Success Factors (125 total points)rn
    • Articulating State's education reform agenda and LEAs' participation in it (65 points)
    • Building strong statewide capacity to implement, scale up, and sustain proposed plans (30 points)
    • Demonstrating significant progress in raising achievement and closing gaps (30 points)
  • Standards and Assessments (70 total points)rn
    • Developing and adopting common standards (from the Common Core State Standards Initiative) (40 points)
    • Supporting the transition to enhanced standards and high-quality assessments (20 points)
    • Developing and implementing common, high-quality assessments (10 points)
  • General Selection Criteria (55 total points)rn
    • Ensuring successful conditions for high-performing charters and other innovative schools (40 points)
    • Making education funding a priority (10 points)
    • Demonstrating other significant reform conditions (5 points)
  • Turning Around the Lowest-Achieving Schools (50 total points)rn
    • Turning around the lowest-achieving schools (40 points)
    • Intervening in the lowest-achieving schools and LEAs (10 points)
  • Data Systems to Support Instruction (47 total points)rn
    • Fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system (24 points)
    • Using data to improve instruction (18 points)
    • Accessing and using State data (5 points)

 

Significant Votes

The votes below are significant in establishing a representative's position on education. If a representative was in office when these votes took place, they will appear under their profile. 

House Votes on Education
YearRoll CallLegislation
1998411DC Scholarship Program
1998243Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998
2001145No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
2007613College Cost Reduction and Access Act
2010332America COMPETES Reauthorization Act
  

Senate Votes on Education
YearRoll CallLegislation
1997260Amendment - Vouchers in DC
1998169Education Savings and School Excellence Act of 1998
1998169Education Savings Act and School Excellence Act of 1998
199935Rules Waiver
200033Affordable Education Act of 2000
200199Standards vs Tutors
2001192No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
2001179Amendment - Voucher Program
2001103Teachers vs Tutors
2007272College Cost Reduction and Access Act

 

Additional Legislation

Each year, there are numerous bills introduced that are not voted on in the House or Senate. These bills may be sponsored by numerous people and a representative's co-sponsorship of that legislation gives insight into that person's viewpoints.

Senate Bills on Education
SessionBill NumberCo-SponsorsBill Title
112S 92021st Century Charter School Act
112S 2801No Child Left Behind Flexibility and Improvements Act
111S 1000Home School Opportunities Make Education Sound Act of 2009
111S 24412Education Begins at Home Act
111S 32619Kids First Act
111S 373917Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2010
111S 25014Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2009
111S 36058America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010
111S 373917Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2010
110S 76169America COMPETES Act
109S 136712Teach for America Grant
108S 15625Home School Non-Discrimination Act of 2003
106S 13611A bill to provide for teacher excellence and classroom help.
106S 148723Excellence in Economic Education Act of 1999
106S 50510Gifted and Talented Students Education Act of 1999
105S 19966REAL Life Educational Opportunity Act of 1998
105S 13804 Charter School Expansion Act of 1998
 

House Bills on Education
SessionBill NumberCo-SponsorsBill Title
112H R 4159Restorative Justice in Schools Act of 2011
112H R 55520Universal Prekindergarten Act
112H R 6678Put School Counselors Where They're Needed Act
111H R 5116101America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010
111H R 487067Healthy School Meals Act of 2010
111H R 171755Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act or the A PLUS Act
111H R 183316Children's Hope Act of 2009
111H R 227418Priorities in Education Spending Act
110H R 1971104Teach for America Act
110H R 292868Graduation Promise Act of 2007
110H R 388850More Children, More Choices Act of 2007
110H R 153966Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act or the A PLUS Act
110H R 317737Local Education Authority Returns Now Act
110H R 640020State Temporary Economic Priority (STEP) Act