Senate NCLB Discussion Draft Revealed


The United States Senate has released a discussion draft for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Seconday Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), Titles I through VII and X. As with the House version introduced last month, the Senate's draft includes language from the ATTAIN Act, emphasizing funding for education technology, professional development, and various systemic reform initiatives.

The reauthorization language, drafted by Senators Edward Kennedy (MA) and Michael Enzi (WY) and released Tuesday night, is similar to that of the ESEA discussion draft that came out of the House Committee on Education and Labor in early September. The House version had removed some of the provisions of the ATTAIN Act; the Senate version includes all of the major provisions. Neither version has yet been introduced formally as legislation.

At present, the draft--which, it should be emphasized, is not a final draft--is being reviewed by the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA), which had provided input on the original ATTAIN bill.

ATTAIN (Achievement Through Technology and Innovation) aims to revamp Title II, Part D of ESEA--which had been amended and reauthorized through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001--to enhance professional development for teachers, improve technical proficiency in students, and otherwise support technology in various ways to advance student achievement. It was introduced as legislation in both the Senate and House earlier this year to reauthorize the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) Act of 2001 and has since been rolled into the draft language of ESEA/NCLB reauthorization proposals in the Senate and House.

The bill, introduced originally in the House in May 2007 by U.S. Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA), Ruben Hinojosa (TX), Judy Biggert (IL), and Ron Kind (WI), was developed with input from three major ed tech groups, including the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), as well as the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and other stakeholders. It was introduced in the Senate in August by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM) and co-sponsored by Senators Richard Burr (NC) and Patty Murray (WA).

It includes allocations ($1 billion for 2008) for the following, as cited from ATTAIN itself:

  1. To improve student academic achievement on State academic standards through the use of professional development, research-based and innovative systemic school reforms, and other technology uses and applications.
  2. To improve teacher professional development to ensure every teacher and administrator is technologically literate, including possessing the knowledge and skills to use technology across the curriculum, to use technology and curriculum redesign as key components of changing teaching and learning and improving student achievement, to use technology for data analysis to enable individualized instruction, and to use technology to improve student technology literacy.
  3. To ensure that every student is technologically literate by graduation, regardless of the student’s race, ethnicity, gender, family income, geographic location, or disability.
  4. To improve student engagement, opportunity, attendance, graduation rates, and technology access through enhanced or redesigned curriculum or instruction.
    To more effectively use data to inform instruction, address individualized student needs, and support school decision making.
  5. To improve the efficiency and productivity of the classroom and school enterprise toward the ultimate purposes of improving student achievement.

ATTAIN and ESEA/NCLB Reauthorization
The language of ATTAIN appears in the Kennedy-Enzi Senate reauthorization draft in modified, but substantially similar, form. The House version had removed some provisions of ATTAIN. At this point, the Senate's draft is now being reviewed by the HELP Committee and will likely be modified by that committee.

The House is expected to introduce an NCLB/ESEA reauthorization bill by the end of the month. The Senate, meanwhile, will receive feedback on its draft and revise the language prior to introducing any formal legislation.

The timeframe for final reauthorization is, of course, unknown. But in a letter to its members today, SETDA wrote, "Ideally, we will see both the House and the Senate move quickly and get to the point where the two key committees will conference to come up with the final version. We know that several steps must still occur, but we are certainly in a good position for making educational technology an important part of the overall NCLB draft."

More information can be found on SETDA's site. A link to the site and to the draft itself can be found below.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at [email protected].

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at [email protected].