Unlike Fat Tuesday or St. Patrick's Day, April 19th may not strike you as an unofficial drinking holiday. But then you haven't been reading Jay Greene lately, who has created a nifty little drinking game to accompany Fordham's ESEA reauthorization proposal to be released tomorrow.

Here's a sneak peek; in our "Briefing Book" we lay out 10 of the key questions that we believe Congress needs to answer in order to get a new ESEA across the finish line, identify the major options for each one, and present the pros and cons. Our recommendations will wait till the morning, but see if you think we got the issues right.

The 10 big issues

  1. College and career readiness - Should states be required to adopt academic standards tied to college and career readiness (such as the Common Core)?
  2. Cut scores - What requirements, if any, should be placed upon states with respect to achievement standards (i.e., "cut scores")?
  3. Growth measures - Should states be required to develop assessments that enable measures of individual student growth?
  4. Science and History - Must states develop standards and assessments in additional subjects beyond English/language arts and math?
  5. School ratings - Should Adequate Yearly Progress be maintained, revised, or scrapped?
  6. Interventions - What requirements, if any, should be placed on states in terms of regarding and sanctioning schools and turning around the lowest performers?
  7. Teacher effectiveness - Should Congress regulate teacher credentials (as with the current "highly qualified teachers" mandate) and/or require the evaluation of teacher effectiveness?
  8. Comparability - Should school districts be required to demonstrate comparability of services between Title I and non-title I schools, and if so, may they point to a uniform salary schedule in order to do so?
  9. Flexibility - Should the new ESEA provide greater flexibility to states and school districts to deviate from the law's requirements?
  10. Competitive grants - Should reform-oriented competitive grant programs, including Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation (I-3), be authorized in the new ESEA?

We'll admit upfront that this isn't comprehensive. We dodged any discussion of the Title I formula, or how to handle assessments for children with disabilities or English language learners. And no, sadly, we do not weigh in on Impact Aid!

But do you agree that if folks on the hill and in the administration can come to terms around these ten items (a big if!), we'll have ourselves a new ESEA? Let me know what you think.

-Mike Petrilli
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