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Principles for Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act


The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), first passed in 1965 and most recently reauthorized in 2001 under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), is the primary federal legislative funding source for U.S. K-12 public education. It is intended to address discrepancies in funding and academic outcomes between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Standards, assessments and school accountability provisions were first introduced in 1994. Each subsequent version has introduced new programs, and ESEA now provides about $25 billion annually to schools and districts across the country. ESEA is long overdue for reauthorization, and many of the changes made as part of NCLB, including provisions intended to strengthen teacher quality and hold schools accountable for results, must be revisited.

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