The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

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Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA)


The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) is the main federal law that authorizes federal spending to support K-12 schooling.  It reflects the national goal that every child (including those children living in poverty, learning English, minorities and students with disabilities) is entitled to receive a high quality education by emphasizing equal access to education and establishing high standards and accountability.  The most recent reauthorization was in 2002, when President Bush passed No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The new 2002 provisions for assessment and accountability in NCLB were designed to focus increased levels of attention on under-performing groups of students, including students with disabilities.  The NCLB law is considered historic because it holds schools accountable for how well they teach students with disabilities the curriculum, not just the skills on the Individualized Education Program (IEP).

ESEA has now come up for reauthorization again and there is much debate over proposed changes to the accountability system, testing and teacher evaluation.  NDSS has engaged with all levels of government to influence ESEA and other education laws to improve education opportunities for students with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.

Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Reauthorization in 2015

NDSS is actively monitoring the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) bills and advocating for and against certain amendments on key issues as the bills go to a Congressional Conference Committee in September 2015 to reconcile the House bill (Student Success Act, H.R. 5) and Senate bill (Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, S. 1177) versions of ESEA.  We hope that the final ESEA Reauthorization bill will contain high standards for students with disabilities, and will strengthen accountability for student achievement, especially subgroups of students. 

Click HERE for current information on ESEA.

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