School Mental Health Project


Predictions about the ESEA reauthorization

Recently we sent out some thoughts about Congress starting again to consider reauthorization of the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act � currently named the No Child Left Behind Act). -

Some of what we heard directly or indirectly from colleagues suggests ongoing confusion about what the course of events will be. One respondent noted simply: "My crystal ball is broken!" Here's a couple thoughts from folks who are making predictions:

"I just returned from Washington and in fact the word is that The House will not authorize the ESEA as one bill but rather sections of the Act. Reconciliation with the Senate will therefore be a huge battle since the Senate will adopt a single ESEA reauthorization plan."

At the recent AERA conference, a former U.S. Department of Education leader presented his perspective on outside factors that might influence federal policy:

But his predictions are: "Unless Congress is convinced that (a) schools are improving (b) schools can become a lot better through good, long-term leadership and a vigorous culture of continuous improvement with support and without magic bullets (c) that visionary goals are harmful when used as rigid accountability targets--especially those based on weak assessments and (d) that technology could be a major source of new effectiveness and efficiency when used smartly -- they will reduce resources, heighten current accountability requirements, provide a way of supporting vouchers, and declare victory."

And here's a response that just wishes that federal policy would go away: "The federal government will not and cannot �fix' public education. As a matter of fact they are in the way! I've been in the business for well over 40 years and can honestly say that all will improve much faster if the feds were just hands off in education. I could detail it for you but I have to get back to filling out forms etc. caused by the federal government's interference!"

Can you shed any light on what's likely to happen in revamping federal education policy before the next election? Send to


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School Mental Health Project-UCLA
Center for Mental Health in Schools
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