I’m unfamiliar with the provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act – the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – but I hope this time everyone remembers who was for it, who was against it, and who called it a “historic step to usher in a new era in public education.”
The conference committee report passed the House by a wide bipartisan margin of 359-64. That’s encouraging to many, except the conference committee report of the No Child Left Behind Act passed the House by a wide bipartisan margin of 381-41 almost exactly 14 years ago.
It will likely pass the Senate by a wide bipartisan margin (as did NCLB) and be signed into law with the President and leaders of both parties congratulating each other on a job well done.
The honeymoon period will last for a time, and then we’ll hear the first murmurings when the regulations are written. Then will come the sporadic anecdotes of unintended consequences. Supporters of the law will lay the blame for these problems on faulty implementation.
Those instances will grow and become more widespread. Blame will be laid at the feet of a) a hidebound education establishment; b) corporate education reformers; or c) whatever political party happens to be in power at the time.
Test scores and a host of new experimental measurements of achievement will indicate that not every student is succeeding. This will lead to demands for action by various interest groups negatively affected by the law. Legislative action will be delayed as long as possible, but ultimately there will be a break in the political climate to allow a bipartisan group of lawmakers to hash out a compromise fix, along with a good load of cash to fund it.
After much haggling and inserted language to benefit special interest groups, the new reauthorization of ESEA will pass both the House and Senate by wide margins, and be signed into law by President Clinton.