On Wednesday, February 18, 2015, the House Education & the Workforce Committee approved the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) to reauthorize and amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA; formerly known as No Child Left Behind). The full House of Representatives is preparing to consider the bill on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
While NCIL is pleased that the bill includes several provisions important to the disability community – such as annual assessments in grades 3-8 and once in high school, disaggregation of data by student categories, the 95% student participation rate for all students as well as for student subgroups in annual assessments, and the use of universal design for learning principles in assessment design – the bill does not go far enough and we must voice our significant concern that H.R. 5 does not fully support students with disabilities. In fact, it creates incentives for schools and districts to remove students with disabilities from being taught the general curriculum and being eligible to earn a regular high school diploma.
NCIL urges the House to work on bipartisan legislation that continues to provide meaningful access to rigorous standards for all students and fully includes students with disabilities in every local school. Any bill to reauthorize ESEA must include the following:
- Limit the use of Alternate Assessments based on Alternate Achievement Standards to 1% of all students assessed;
- Ensure that parents are involved in the decision that
- Ensure that students with disabilities, including students who take an alternate assessment participate in and have the opportunity to progress in the general curriculum and are kept on track to earn a regular high school diploma;
- Prohibit the elimination of maintenance of effort provisions.
Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, ask for the office of your Representative, and urge them to make sure any bill to reauthorize the ESEA must adhere to the four principles outlined above.