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House Begins Process to Reconsider ESEA Reauthorization

The week after Independence Day could be a blockbuster moment for congressional efforts to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

In addition to the U.S. Senate having already scheduled floor debate for a proposed reauthorization bill on July 7, the House Rules Committee, which decides how bills are debated on the chamber floor, scheduled a meeting for the same day to consider for a second time its version of the federal K-12 rewrite. That would set up a vote for as early as July 8.

For months, House Republicans have been hoping to resurrect the debate on the bill, which was yanked from the floor in February after it unexpectedly began losing support from GOP members.

The announcement, posted Wednesday on the committee's web site, doesn't give much detail about how the measure will be reconsidered and which new amendments would be ruled in order, but there's likely to be at least a handful. 

Notably, the bill began losing support from Republicans after the Club for Growth and Heritage Action—two powerful conservative lobby organizations—announced their opposition to it. 

Among other things, those groups wanted to see provisions in the bill that would let states opt-out of federally-driven accountability entirely and would allow federal funds for low-income students to follow students to the school of their choice, including private schools.

Some House Republicans wanted to address those priorities by offering amendments like the proposed A-Plus Act, which ‪lets states opt out of accountability altogether, and others that deal with Title I portability.

At the time, the rules committee did not allow members to offer such proposals when the bill was first debated back in February.

We'll see next Tuesday if that changes.

We'll also have our eyes peeled for a new amendment that further emphasizes just how anti-Common Core State Standards the bill is.

The bill already includes language that strictly prohibits the U.S. Secretary of Education from coercing, incentivizing, or playing any role in telling states what standards they should use, including the Common Core. But we wouldn't be surprised if some members wanted to highlight, bold, and italicize that language in some way.

After all, a story criticizing the bill posted to an anti-Common Core blog that went viral also had a hand in GOP members yanking their support for it. 

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