Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap-Up: September 19

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (September 12-16) in Washington.

The House charter school bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support of 365 to 54 on Tuesday.

The House Education Committee held a hearing to “examine the Federal role in public school accountability” on September 14. State and local education officials who testified supported a Federal role in setting strong standards and demanding accountability, while at the same time expressing a strong desire to see more flexibility in Federal education laws.

The House Education Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday titled “Education Reforms: Ensuring the Education System is accountable to Parents and Communities.” Witnesses have not been announced.

The House Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations Subcommittee has yet to reschedule its mark-up that was postponed a few weeks ago.

House GOP staff continue to work on their final ESEA reauthorization bill dealing with most of the remaining programs and issues in ESEA that have not been covered in the 3 bills that have previously passed the Education Committee.

Republican Senators Alexander, Isakson, Burr, and Kirk, and McCain introduced a series of ESEA reauthorization bills.  These bills, to a very significant degree, are similar to the Administration’s blue print to reauthorize ESEA, particularly in the areas of: focusing reforms on the bottom 5% of schools, maintaining State standards and assessments, continuing the State school improvement grant program, consolidating programs, and reforming Teacher education programs that encourage, but do not require, specific actions like including student academic performance in determining teacher pay and tenure reform.
The bills include:
S. 1566. A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 regarding public charter schools
By Mr. KIRK (for himself, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Burr, Mr. Isakson, Mr. McCain, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Rubio, and Mr. Wicker):

S. 1567. A bill to amend title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
By Mr. ALEXANDER (for himself, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Kirk, Mr. Roberts, and Mr. Wicker)

S. 1568. A bill to amend section 9401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 with regard to waivers of statutory and regulatory requirements
By Mr. ALEXANDER (for himself, Mr. Burr, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Grassley, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Wicker, and Mr. Cornyn)

S. 1569. A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to provide State educational agencies and local educational agencies with flexible Federal education funding that will allow such State and local educational agencies to fund locally determined programs and initiatives that meet the varied and unique needs of individual States and localities; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
By Mr. BURR (for himself, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Rubio, and Mr. Wicker)

S. 1570. A bill to provide for high-quality academic tutoring for low-income students, and for other purposes

S. 1571. A bill to amend title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965,
By Mr. ISAKSON (for himself, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Kirk, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Roberts, and Mr. Wicker)

The Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations will markup their Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations bill on Tuesday, September 20 at 2:30 pm.

Harkin and Enzi staff continue to negotiate/discuss ESEA, although there is no timeline for introducing legislation.

The pending mark up for WIA reauthorization has not been scheduled.

The Administration is likely to release its NCLB waiver guidance next week, and waivers may begin to be approved in early to mid-winter.

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction Co-Chairs Rep. Jeb Hensarling and Sen.Patty Murray announced that the next hearing, a discussion of tax reform, will take place next Thursday, September 22, with Tom Barthold of the Joint Committee on Taxation slated to testify.