Senate ESEA Update and Call to Action

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This afternoon, the Senate voted 45-51 to incorporate an amendment by Sen. Scott that would allow Title I funds to be made portable to private and public schools. AASA strongly opposed this amendment and this victory is a testament to the many conversations with Senate staff that school superintendents have had over the past year on this topic.

There is a call-to-action regarding Senate Amendment #2093. This amendment by Senator Franken would add the Student Non-Discrimination Act into the ESEA reauthorization bill. SNDA contains a private right of action and lacks a requirement that a student who may be harassed or discriminated against go through an intermediary agency like OCR prior to launching a suit. Leaving OCR out of the process is bad for both harassed students and schools. OCR specializes in investigating discrimination and harassment claims and by ensuring that no wrongdoing is happening by the school to one student or groups of students. By litigating immediately, OCR would never know if there was a pervasive culture or climate problem in the school that is causing other students to be harassed or discriminated against. Moreover, this amendment does not protect against frivolous litigation, and schools would be responsible for any attorney’s fees incurred by students. We strongly support adding sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes and requiring schools to treat discrimination and harassment claims for these categories of students the same as they would for any other protected student population, but we cannot support this amendment as written. 

Please take a few minutes to reach out to your Senators about this amendment. The vote will occur sometime after 4 pm ET. 

We are still waiting for word on when amendments related to expanded data collection, accountability and data disaggregation requirements will be on teh floor. These are key amendments for AASA and we will keep you posted as we learn the final details of these amendments and when they will be up for a vote tomorrow. You can download a spreadsheet of all the amendments filed so far and AASA's positions. 

 

 


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