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ESEA Reauthorization Back on Track?

After months of negotiations, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will take up a bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The markup is scheduled for Oct. 18 at 2:30 p.m.

Details of the legislation remained scarce, but Education Week said it comes after nearly a year of jockeying between Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the committee chairman, and Wyoming Sen. Michael Enzi, the top Republican. The comprehensive bill “reflects two years of bipartisan hearings, discussions, and negotiations and almost a decade of learning from teachers and parents about the strengths and weaknesses of the No Child Left Behind Act,” Sen. Harkin said in a statement.

The House, under Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), the education chairman, has broken up the reauthorization bill into bite-sized pieces, some of which have already passed out of committee. The committee is expected to deal with the big issues of accountability and teacher quality this fall. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has announced plans to grant waivers to states from the most onerous provisions of the No Child Left Behind law if they adopt certain reforms, including basing teacher evaluations at least in part on student assessments.

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