Insider analysis of ESEA: Congress may succeed in reauthorization

**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**

A guest post by Derek Black

The Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings hosted a panel of experts last week to discuss the potential for reauthorization.  They were generally optimistic.  Watch the panel here. They would also seem to be prescient.  On the same day of the panel, the House indicated it was bringing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act back to the floor.  The bill had previously died when warring factions within the Republican Party sought to load the bill down with their own ideology for reform and were told that if they voted for a stripped down bill it would count against their on conservative scorecard rating.  A new proposed procedural solution would allow them to save face.

A summary of the Brown panel follows the jump.

The two most significant laws governing education in this nation, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Higher Education Act (HEA), are both well past due for a congressional update. ESEA was last reauthorized in 2002, with the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, and the latest iteration of HEA was authorized in 2008. Despite widespread consensus that these laws need to be rewritten, every attempt at reauthorization in recent years has been met with failure.  Recent progress suggests that the current Congress may be poised to succeed where others have failed. But can Americans really expect new education laws this year?

On Wednesday, June 10, the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings took an insiders’ look at the efforts to reauthorize ESEA and HEA. Expert panelists who occupied key positions as legislative staffers during previous reauthorization attempted to provide an honest examination of the process, what led to success or failure in the past, and what’s most likely to lead to success this time around.


Derek Black is a Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law. His areas of expertise include education law and policy, constitutional law, civil rights, evidence, and torts.

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