Senate Action on ESEA Renews Insiders' Optimism For Reauthorization

Austin Dannhaus

On April 16, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) unanimously passed the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, a bill that would reauthorize Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Following the announcement, we conducted a short survey of education policy Insiders to understand how this development affects the prospects for ESEA renewal. Generally, Insiders are optimistic that the HELP committee's actions, under the leadership„Ιof chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and the ranking member, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), could lead to an updated law before Obama leaves office. Insiders caution, however, that there is much to overcome in the House.

„Here is how Insiders responded:

  • When asked about the timing for renewal, a significantly higher percentage of Insiders'60%'now believe ESEA will be reauthorized before the end of 2016, compared to 48% at the end of March. Insiders continue to believe that 2015 is the year for action; 40% of respondents said that December of this year is the most likely timeline. 32% of Insider still believe ESEA will not the reauthorized before the end of Obama's presidency.
  • When asked about the timing for a floor vote on the Senate bill, 40% of Insiders believe it will happen before Memorial Day and 52% believe it will happen before Labor Day. Just 4% believe it will never make it to the floor for a vote.
  • Insiders also weighed in on whether the Senate's action will encourage a similar move in the House. Two-thirds believe it will have no effect, with many citing stifling partisanship as the primary hurdle. The majority of commenters express deep skepticism about the House's ability to move a bill forward.

For a detailed look at the survey results, including quotes from Insiders, can you view the infographic below.