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NGA Policy Positions

& NGA-NCSL Plan to
Reauthorize ESEA

U.S. Senate
Every Child Achieves Act
S.1177

U.S. House
Student Success Act
H.R. 5

Standards

TITLE I
State academic standards are
a state-led decision and
process.

The federal government
should recognize and support
state authority over
education.
To this end, the federal
government should provide
technical assistance in the
oversight, development,
implementation, and ongoing
utilization of state academic
standards and refrain from
directing, mandating, or
interfering directly or
indirectly in this process.
Federal funding requirements
should not be linked to a
particular set of standards,
such as the Common Core
State Standards, but should be
available to all states, as long
as states can show they have
rigorous standards deemed
college and career ready.

NGA Office of Federal Relations
Last Updated: July 6, 2015




Reflecting current law, state education agency would
be required to:
o (1) ensure that the state has academic content
and achievement standards in mathematics,
reading, science and other subjects the state
deems necessary; and
o (2) provide assurance that the academic
content and achievement standards are
challenging
State academic standards would need to be aligned
with higher education entrance requirements (without
remediation) and state performance measures agreed
to under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical
Education Act.
Increases the number of levels of academic
achievement that must be used by the state from two
to three.
Reflecting current law, states would be permitted to
adopt alternate academic content and achievement
standards for students with the most severe cognitive
disabilities.
Every state education agency would be required to
provide assurance that English language proficiency
standards are aligned with academic content standards.
No state education agency would be required to submit
academic achievement or content standards to the U.S.
Secretary of Education for approval.
The Secretary would be prohibited from altering or
requiring states to adopt additional academic content
or achievement standards, using specific assessment
instruments, or prescribing specific state standards.



States would be required to adopt academic content
and academic achievement standards in reading or
language arts, science and math. The standards must:
o Apply to all public school students in the state;
and
o For academic achievement standards, include
the same knowledge, skills and levels of
achievement expected of all public school
students in the state.
o No requirement that the standards be college
and career ready.
State would be required to have science academic
standards and assessments in place.
States would be permitted to adopt alternate
achievement standards for students with the most
severe cognitive disabilities on a case by case basis.
Each state would be required to adopt English
language proficiency standards aligned to the state’s
reading or language arts content standards – does not
provide a deadline for implementation.
The U.S. Secretary of Education would be specifically
prohibited from interfering with a state’s standards.

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Assessments

Federal policy should support
the on-going and promising
work of states to come
together to streamline, align,
and improve assessments
aligned to rigorous state
standards.




NGA Office of Federal Relations
Last Updated: July 6, 2015

State education agencies would be required to
continue administering assessments in mathematics
and reading annually in grades 3-8 and at least once
during high school.
State education agencies would be required to
continue administering science assessments at least
once in grades 3-5, grades 6-8 and 9-12, respectively.
States would be permitted to request flexibility for local
school districts to pilot innovative assessments,
including competency- and portfolio-based
assessments.
State education agencies would be required to provide
assurance that they have implemented high-quality,
academic assessments for math, English language arts
and science and ensure that they are aligned with
academic content and achievement standards states
have adopted.
State education agencies would limit alternative
assessments for students with disabilities to one
percent of the overall student population, codifying a
long-standing federal regulation.
Requires that English proficiency be assessed by state
education agencies annually.
State education agencies would be required to ensure
that assessment results continue to be disaggregated
by major subgroups.
Competitive grants would be provided to state
education agencies to:
o improve the quality, validity or reliability of
state assessments;
o develop or improve assessments for students
with disabilities;
o measure student growth over time;
o evaluate student achievement through new
assessments, such as competency-based
models, computer adaptive test, or portfolios;
and
o audit state assessments.







States, in consultation with local education agencies,
would be required to demonstrate that they have
implemented assessments in math and reading or
language arts.
o Math, science and reading or language arts
assessments must be given each year from
grades 3-8 and at least once in grades 9-12.
States may use one summative assessment or
multiple assessments given throughout the
course of the school year.
The bill would require that assessments allow states to
measure individual student growth.
States will also be permitted to develop assessments
in other subjects at their discretion.
States would be required to continue to disaggregate
assessment results by subgroup.
States would be required to provide assessments, to
the extent practicable, in languages most suitable to
English learners.
The bill would allow students with cognitive disabilities
to receive alternate assessments.
States would be required to annually assess the
English language proficiency of all English language
learners ensuring 95% participation rate.
States would be permitted to develop computer
adaptive assessments.

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Accountability

Governors believe in a
transparent, rigorous, and
strong state-led and statedetermined accountability
system in education that
annually tests students and
disaggregates individual
student performance.
The current federal
accountability system is
broken, and a new state-led
system is needed to support,
reward, and incentivize high
expectations.
States, working with the
federal government, should be
allowed to develop a workable
transition and timeline to
migrate from the current
accountability framework to a
new system.





State Plan

The federal government
should economize, downsize,
eliminate duplication,
consolidate programs, cut
federal red tape, minimize
reporting requirements, and
avoid the imposition of federal
unfunded mandates in
education.

NGA Office of Federal Relations
Last Updated: July 6, 2015

States would set their own annual achievement goals
for the overall population and each subgroup of
students.
The state’s plan must include a single, statewide
accountability system based on challenging academic
content and achievement standards to ensure students
are prepared for college or the workforce.
State education agencies would ensure that their
standards measure, at a minimum: academic
achievement that takes into account graduation rates,
one measure of college readiness OR one measure of
workforce readiness, achievement gaps and overall
performance of subgroups.
States may include any additional measures as part of
the state’s accountability system.
Graduation rates would be calculated using a four-year
adjusted cohort basis.
States would meaningfully differentiate schools based
on state-determined measures.
The U.S. Secretary of Education would be prohibited
from establishing or prescribing any specific
assessments, standards or teacher evaluation systems
for any state as condition of state plan approval.
State education agencies would determine the
statewide accountability system to be implemented by
their state and local education agencies.

State Plan
 In order to receive an ESEA grant, the state education
agency would submit the state plan without required
collaboration with other state or local official, agencies
or entities.
 The U.S. Secretary of Education would be required to
establish peer review teams with state representation
and approve the plan within 90 days of submittal.



The current “adequate yearly progress” system would
be eliminated and replaced with a new accountability
plan.
States would be required to adopt a single, statewide
accountability system that ensures all students
graduate from high school prepared for college or
career. The accountability system shall, at a minimum:
o Annually measure the academic achievement
of all public students in the state against the
state’s academic standards. States may use
measurements of student growth on
statewide assessments or other state
determined indicators of student
performance.
o Annually evaluate the academic performance
of each public school students in the state
including the performance of each subgroup
of students.
o Include a state-developed school
improvement system for low-performing Title
I schools.
States would be given two-year timeline to implement
accountability requirements after enactment.
Under this new accountability plan, the U.S. Secretary
of Education would be prohibited from interfering
with the development or adoption of a state’s
accountability system.

State Plan
 States would be required to submit a plan in
collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders
including local education agencies, teachers,
specialized school personnel and parents that
demonstrates the state’s compliance with the
bill’s standards, assessment, and accountability
provisions.
 The plan would need to demonstrate how it
coordinates with other programs including
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State Plan (cont.)

The federal government’s new
role should focus on sharing
research, information, and
data on state and local best
practices, and bringing states
and schools together to
promote innovations to better
serve students.
Across the country, states,
districts, and schools have
been forced to economize,
prioritize, consolidate, and
reinvent government.
The federal government can
benefit from these state and
local lessons and also move to
restore fiscal discipline to
promote the long-term
sustainability and success of
the nation’s education system.

NGA Office of Federal Relations
Last Updated: July 6, 2015



The state plan would cover a 7 year period with state
education agencies given flexibility to resubmit state
plans.
The plans would be reviewed to ensure that they
promote implementation of challenging academic
standards through “state- and local-led innovation.”
If the Secretary determines that the plan does not meet
the requirements of Title I, states would be permitted
to revise and resubmit the plan within 45 days. The
Secretary must provide technical assistance for resubmittal of the plan.
The Secretary would be prohibited from requiring as a
condition of state plan approval the following: specific
state standards, assessments, state accountability
systems, systems that measure student growth,
measures of other academic indicators, teacher/school
leader evaluation systems or indicators of
teacher/school leader effectiveness.
States would be permitted to continue operating under
plans approved under ESEA Flexibility Waivers.

State Report Card
 A state education agency that accepts Title I
assistance would be required to prepare and
disseminate an annual state report card.
 The report card would need to include:
o aggregate student achievement on state
academic assessments;
o percentage of students tested in each
student subcategory;
o graduation rates;
o professional qualifications of teachers;
o school and district performance
information;
o school climate and quality;
o per-pupil expenditures;
o the evaluation results of teachers and
school leaders if the state has implemented


Individuals with Disabilities Act, Perkins, Head
Start, Adult Education, and McKinney-Vento
Homeless Assistance Act.
The plan would need to include a timeline to
implement the state academic standards,
assessments, and accountability system within
two years.
States would be required to participate in the
National Assessment of Educational Progress
(NAEP) only if the cost is fully paid for by the U.S.
Secretary of Education.
The plan would also require states to provide a
number of assurances including that states will
provide the least restrictive and burdensome
regulations for local education agencies receiving
Title I funds.
The bill would require state education agencies to
develop a parental involvement plan.
The U.S. Secretary of Education is required to
ensure the plans go through a peer review
process. The Secretary would maintain final
authority to approve or deny a state plan.
Local education agencies would also be required
to develop a plan and submit it to the state for
approval.

State Report Card
 States would be required to annually publish a
publically disseminated report card for all schools,
school districts and the state.
 The report card would include information on the
performance of students and schools, high school
graduation rates, results from teacher evaluations,
and other academic indicators.
Protection from Federal Influence:
 The Secretary of Education shall not influence,
incentivize, or coerce State adoption of the
Common Core State Standards developed under
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School Improvement

School turnaround strategies
must be state-led, transparent,
nimble, and evolve with best
practices and research.
The federal government
should grant states and
territories greater flexibility in
the use of federal funds.
Current federal policy
prescribes limited options for
states and schools to improve
student academic
performance. The knowledge
of today will not solve all the
problems of tomorrow.

NGA Office of Federal Relations
Last Updated: July 6, 2015



a teacher and school leaders evaluation
system;
o English language proficiency;
o number and percentage of students
enrolled in talented and gifted programs,
Advanced Placement, International
Baccalaureate, career and technical
education and National Assessment of
Educational Progress scores.
o information on the number and academic
achievement of military-connected
children; and
o any other information the state deems
necessary.
 State and local education agencies are prohibited
from including information that could reveal
personally identifiable information of students or
educators.
 Local education agencies would be required to
provide parents information on the qualifications of
their child’s teacher upon request.
State education agencies may reserve four percent of
their Title I funds for state-led school improvement
activities.
Local school districts would develop strategies for
improving low-performing schools in consultation with
school personnel, parents and the local community.
State education agencies would perform an annual
needs assessment of every public school in the state
based on indicators in the State’s accountability system
and other indicators as-determined by the state.
The state educational agency must provide notice to
local education agencies, teachers, parents and school
leaders on low-performing schools and make technical
assistance available.
The state education agency shall take state-determined
action if a local education agency fails to adequately

the Common Core State Standards Initiative, any
other academic standards common to a significant
number of States, or assessments tied to such
standards; or participation in any such
partnerships.


The bill would strike Sections 1116 and 1117 of NCLB,
which require states to adopt certain corrective
actions in schools identified for improvement under
the law. States would have authority to design school
intervention strategies, as required as part of their
accountability plans.
The bill would increase the state set-aside for school
improvement from 2% to 7%.
The bill would require states to set-aside 3% of Title I
money to provide competitive grants to school
districts that wish to offer tutoring or public school
choice to their students, including those in poor
performing schools.

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The federal government
should refrain from directing,
limiting, or requiring specific
academic and human resource
strategies in all schools,
districts, or states.


Funding

States and schools must be
given increased funding
flexibility to create efficiencies
and achieve results.
Any decreases in federal
funding should be
accompanied by an increase in
state authority to manage
programs, streamline federal
sources of funding, and find
savings.
More importantly, states and
schools should be allowed to
consolidate federal funding
streams to maximize
taxpayers’ investment and
fully utilize the limited funds
that are available to states and
schools.

NGA Office of Federal Relations
Last Updated: July 6, 2015


address a low-performing school or school in their
jurisdiction.
Local education agencies and schools must indicate in
their report cards to parents if a school is failing.
State education agencies must ensure that all public
schools that receive federal funds for school
improvement activities implement evidence-based
state- or local-designed implementation strategies and
prioritize support in the identified schools most in need
of intervention based on the state’s accountability
system.
The state education agency would be able to establish
alternative state-determined strategies to improve lowperforming schools.
The act would maintain the ESEA maintenance of effort
provision at 90 percent of the fiscal effort from the
previous year, but includes two new flexibilities:
o A one year grace period for states and districts
to restore K-12 education funding if the federal
government determines that their financial
support fell below the federally-mandated
level.
o If states or districts institute policies to make
state or district school systems more efficient,
they will not be penalized.
The bill does not alter the Comparability of Services
provision.
The supplement, not supplant provision will include
additional flexibility to prohibit the federal government
from requiring states and localities to:
o justify individual costs or services are
supplemental; and
o provide services through a particular
instruction method.


The bill would eliminate the federal Maintenance of
Effort requirements.
The bill does not alter the Comparability of Services
provision in current law.

Source: Page 393

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Waivers
Rate


Graduation Rate

Ensure the common state-led
NGA high school graduation
rate is authentic and
consistent with state best
practices.

NGA Office of Federal Relations
Last Updated: July 6, 2015




State education agencies would be able to request a
waiver for any statutory or regulatory requirement
receiving authority from ESEA at any time after passage
of the Act.
Local education agencies would be permitted to
request a waiver from ESEA statutory and regulatory
requirements only after approval for the waiver
request is granted by the state education agency.
The U.S. Secretary of Education would be required to
approve the waiver request within 60 days after the
state submits it.
State education agencies would be given an
opportunity to revise and re-submit the waiver request
within 60 days after the Secretary notifies that state
that their waiver has not been approved.
State education agencies would be granted the right to
request a hearing if their waiver request is denied after
re-submission of the request.
The Secretary would be prohibited from disapproving a
waiver request for conditions outside of the scope of
the waiver request.
The high school graduation rate must include both of
the following
Adjusted Cohort – the entering cohort plus students
transferring in minus students removed from cohort
Entering Cohort – Number of first time students
enrolled in 9th grade 1 month after the start of the
school year
Cohort Removal – to remove a student from a cohort, a
school must provide documentation that they have
transferred out, emigrated to another country, or is
deceased.

The U.S. Secretary of Education would not, as a
condition of approving a waiver, be able to require
inclusion of provisions related to standards (names
Common Core), assessment, accountability systems or
teacher/principal evaluations.
The bill would require states to provide the public with
an opportunity to comment on state and district
waiver requests.

Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate – the percentage of
students in the original cohort adjusted for transfers in
and out who entered high school together that
graduated before or at the conclusion of the exit year
of high school –or a summer school session
immediately following the exit year.
Extra-Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate – Same as
above definition except that students who graduated
after an extra year of high school - or a summer
session immediately following the extra year are
counted in the rate.

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Teachers and School Leaders

TITLE II
Support and incentivize state
led strategies and innovations
to prepare, recruit, retain,
reward, and evaluate high
quality teachers and school
leaders.
The federal government can
accelerate state work to
improve teaching through pay
for contribution,
improvements in professional
development, and numerous
other sound human capital
practices to build a high
quality education workforce.






NGA Office of Federal Relations
Last Updated: July 6, 2015

The “Highly Qualified Teacher” provision created by No
Child Left Behind is repealed.
The federal government may not require statewide or
local teacher evaluations as a condition for receiving
federal funds.
State and territorial education agencies would be
permitted to use Title II funds for the development and
implementation of statewide teacher and principal
evaluation systems, although these evaluations are not
required for a state to qualify for Title II funding.
State education agencies would also be permitted to
use funding to identify high-performing teachers, train
teachers to work in high-need academic subject areas
and to increase teacher professional development.
The act would establish a teacher incentive fund for
states to implement performance-based compensation
systems for teachers and principals.
The formula for distribution of Title II funds to states
would change from 65% poverty and 35% population to
80% poverty and 20% population.
If this formula were to become law, the transition to
the new formula would take place over seven years
with a 14.29% reduction each year for states losing
money under this new provision.
State education agencies would be permitted to use
funding to create teacher and principal preparation
academies.
State and local education agencies would be permitted
to use funding to increase the number and quality of
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
instructors, including the creations of a STEM Master
Teacher Corps.


The “Highly Qualified Teacher” provision created by
No Child Left Behind is repealed.
Provides formula funds to states for providing grants
to LEAs to develop teacher evaluation systems.
o State Activities – states must reserve 95% of grant
funds for distribution to LEAs. States must use the
remaining funds to implement a state-wide
teacher evaluation system OR to provide technical
assistance to LEAs to implement a local evaluation
system if the state chooses to not implement a
state-wide system. The state may also use funds
to disseminate best practices and provide
professional development.
o Local Activities – LEAs must submit an application
to the state to receive their share of the grant
funding. If located in a state that has not
implemented a teacher evaluation system, the
LEA must use the funding to develop a teacher
evaluation system.
o Deadline – Teacher evaluation systems prescribed
under the act must be adopted within 3 years.
Provides formula funds to states for providing
competitive grants to LEAs, or other entities in
partnership with LEAs, for teacher quality programs.
This program consolidates other teacher quality
programs in current law.
The bill provides an optional state set-aside of up to
3% so states can award grants to eligible entities for
the establishment or expansion of teacher or school
leader preparation academies.

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Flex Grant

Early Childhood Education

OTHER TITLES – Special Programs

NGA Office of Federal Relations
Last Updated: July 6, 2015





A new competitive grant program, Early Learning
Alignment and Improvement Grants, would provide
funding for states to improve coordination, quality and
access for early childhood.
Governors would be the main grantee who designate a
lead agency to coordinate the funding.
States would apply for a three-year grant and provide
matching funds to support sustainable improvements
and better coordination of their early learning and care
systems.
States would match the grant funds (30 percent in the
first year, and not less than 30 percent in the second
and third years, and the funds could come from federal
and non-federal sources, cash or in-kind).
State education agencies are permitted to spend Title I
funding on early childhood education programs.
State education agencies may utilize Title II funding
(funding to prepare, train, and recruit high-quality
educators) for training early childhood educators.
In Title I, academic standards would be aligned with
relevant state early learning guidelines.
The comprehensive literacy state development grant
program (in Title II) includes subgrants to support highquality early literacy programs, and there is language in
the English language learner programs and family
engagement programs focusing on early learners.

Although Title IV is a flexible title for states and localities,
no similar program exists in the Senate bill.

No similar provision.

Does not statutorily authorize Race to the Top, but
offers an alternative program.
Local Academic Flexible Grant – Provides $2.7 billion
in formula grants to states to pursue state-designated
education priorities and to make competitive
subgrants to local and nongovernmental entities.
o State Activities – States must reserve 85% of funds
for competitive subgrants to local and
nongovernmental entities. States could use the

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o

Funding Flexibility

o

States and schools must be
given increased funding
flexibility to create efficiencies
and achieve results.
The federal government
should economize, downsize,
eliminate duplication,
consolidate programs, cut
federal red tape, minimize
reporting requirements, and
avoid the imposition of federal
unfunded mandates in
education.

NGA Office of Federal Relations
Last Updated: July 6, 2015

States and LEAs may transfer all of their funds allotted
as part of a formula grant for State or LEA level
activities to any state or LEA level activities authorized
in the Act except that no funds may be transferred out
of Title I (College and Career Readiness) and Title III
(English Language Learners / Immigrant Students).




remaining funds for virtually any activity
promoting academic achievement authorized
under state law, including development and
administration of state assessments.
Local Activities – 75% of funding is reserved for
LEAs, in partnership with other LEAs or other
entities, to apply for grants. Funding must be used
to support students through programs including,
but not limited to, before, after or summer school
activities, tutoring and expanded learning time
and academic subject specific programs. Funds
could not be used for class size reduction,
construction or compensation.
Nongovernmental Activities – 10% of funding is
reserved for grants to nongovernmental activities
that establish programs supporting academic
achievement of elementary or secondary school
students. A 50% non-federal match is required.

The bill would consolidate or eliminate 70 existing
elementary and secondary education programs.
States would be permitted to consolidate any funds
they receive for state administration under the bill.
In addition to administration, states would be able to
consolidate funds for dissemination of best practices,
technical assistance, personnel training, and other
state-level activities designed to implement the Act.
The state would not be required to keep separate
records for each program’s administrative funds that
were consolidated.
States could also consolidate the funding they receive
to develop standards and assessments.

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