ECAA update: Hatch data proposal passes, Murphy-Booker plan addresses oversight (Education Dive)

By Roger Riddell

Dive Brief:

  • An Every Child Achieves Act amendment to increase student privacy protections, proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), passed Monday afternoon in an 89-0 vote.
  • The amendment is just one proposed by Hatch that, according to a release from the senator's office, are based on successful education reform efforts in Utah.
  • Meanwhile, Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced an amendment Tuesday morning that would require states to "assess school performance based on real and measurable results" with additional focus on historically disadvantaged groups of students, requiring states or districts to intervene when those students "consistently fail to meet state academic benchmarks."

Dive Insight:

To recap, the Every Child Achieves Act is the Senate's bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the nation's most comprehensive ed law originally passed during the Johnson administration and last reauthorized under George W. Bush as No Child Left Behind. The House passed its own rewrite, the Student Success Act, last week along partisan lines. The Senate bill and debate over it have been a comparatively bipartisan effort.

Hatch has long been a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, as well as a former chair, and just two months ago co-sponsored a stand-alone student privacy bill. Another amendment put forward by Hatch this week would see a national expansion of his state's "Pay for Success" program, which provides funding for schools districts, non-profits, and small businesses to propose evidence-based educational programs.

As for the Murphy-Booker amendment, while a statement from Democrats for Education Reform Policy Director Charles Barone conceded that the amendment "is far from perfect," it is also an attempt to address concern over the exclusive use of test scores in measuring school success by giving states agency to develop accountability systems based on measures of their choice.

Debate on the Every Child Achieves Act could wrap up as soon as Wednesday evening.

Recommended Reading

The Office of Sen. Orrin Hatch: Senate Votes to Build on Utah’s Success in Education Reform 
Democrats for Education Reform: Murphy-Booker ESEA Accountability Amendment: A Big Step Toward Educational Opportunity for All