Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., a former Denver schools chief, arrived in Congress hoping to bring his on-the-ground expertise working in a large school district to ESEA reauthorization. This week, he'll have the chance when Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, introduces his ESEA reauthorization plan.
Sen. Bennet helped push for language in the bill that would:
• Close the comparability loophole. (Bennet has his own bill on this, and the language in a draft being widely circulated around Capitol Hill is fairly similar.)
• Codify Race to the Top, the Investing in Innovation Fund, and Promise Neighborhoods.
• Authorize the Teacher Incentive Fund, which doles out grants to performance pay programs.
• Create career ladders for teachers.
• Eliminate set-asides for tutoring and school choice.
Bennet plans to introduce amendments that would:
• Put in place the GREAT Act, a teacher training bill. This would gives states the option to hold their teacher training programs accountable for producing educators who demonstrate the ability to boost student achievement before they graduate. In exchange for their participation in the program, academies would be exempt from regulations that are "burdensome," "input based," and "unrelated to student achievement." More here.
• Create ARPA-ED, a research program modeled on DARPA. More background here.
• Establish a competitive grant program for principal training programs, to help train leaders who can oversee turnarounds. More background here. Elements of that proposal are sprinkled throughout the bill.
• Establish the Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment to take a look at school district red tape. More background here.
• Make changes to the Troops-to-Teachers program.