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Event Summary
On Wednesday, AEI and the Center for American Progress (CAP) held a briefing on Capitol Hill to explain what key — but often overlooked — changes could be made to markedly improve the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The recent U.S. Senate and House of Representatives bills to reauthorize ESEA have focused solely on issues of school accountability and teacher evaluations. But AEI’s Rick Hess and CAP’s Raegen Miller argue that closer attention to the many obscure fiscal requirements may have the biggest impact on day-to-day life in America’s schools.

Miller walked the audience through five important changes that might, in Rick Hess’s works, “create conditions for school improvement:”

•    Title I should simplify the manner in which states and districts demonstrate that federal Title I dollars supplement, and do not supplant, state and local investment in schools.
•    Districts that  receive Title I funds should be required to annually report all school-level expenditures — including all dollars devoted to teacher salaries — to the Department of Education to promote transparency about how those Title I dollars are being used.
•    To receive Title I funds, states must be required to disclose per pupil spending at the state-, district- and school-level alongside the test-based metrics that are commonly used on school report cards.
•    School districts should be given increased flexibility to negotiate contracts with external companies that provide supplemental education services such as tutoring.
•    Alternative (outside) providers should be allowed to perform duties traditionally performed by state education agencies — such as turning around a struggling school — if they are better equipped for the task and willing to commit to meeting higher performance targets. Funding would be contingent on the results.

Event moderator Alyson Klein of Education Week reminded staff that ESEA is likely to see little legislative action this year, which gives Capitol Hill staff the chance to explore what “in-the-weeds” changes might be made to improve ESEA.
— Jenna Schuette Talbot

Event Description
When it comes to reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the conversation has focused almost entirely on accountability and teacher evaluation systems. But what about other important issues like parent involvement and making education spending more efficient and productive? Or the obscure fiscal requirement that places large burdens on school districts, yet doesn’t quite meet its goal of promoting fairness?

Rick Hess of AEI and Raegen Miller of the Center for American Progress have jointly commissioned and published a series of papers exploring these topics — now, they are teaming up to explore what changes might allow ESEA to fulfill its aims without ensnaring educators and local officials in a frustrating legal labyrinth.

Join us for a lively discussion of these overlooked but critical issues, moderated by Alyson Klein of Education Week.


12:00 PM
Registration and Lunch

12:10 PM
Alyson Klein, Education Week

12:15 PM
Frederick M. Hess, AEI
Raegen Miller, Center for American Progress
Alyson Klein, Education Week

12:45 PM
Question and Answer Session

1:15 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information at AEI, please contact John VerWey at [email protected], 202.862.5839.
For more information at CAP, please contact Jeremy Ayers at [email protected], 202.478.6356.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Speaker Biographies

Raegen Miller is the associate director for education research at the Center for American Progress (CAP). His work focuses on strategic management of human capital in education. He has published articles in peer-reviewed research journals shedding light on the productivity costs of teacher absences. Before joining CAP, Miller was a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow affiliated with the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington. Miller also has taught courses on applied data analysis and the foundations of schooling and teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Frederick M. Hess is a resident scholar and director of education policy studies at AEI, where he studies a range of K-12 and higher education issues. He is the author of influential books on education including “The Same Thing Over and Over,” “Education Unbound,” Common Sense School Reform,” “Revolution at the Margins,” and “Spinning Wheels,” and he pens the Education Week blog Rick Hess Straight Up. His work has appeared in scholarly and popular outlets such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Education Review, Social Science Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, American Politics Quarterly, Chronicle of Higher Education, Phi Delta Kappan, Educational Leadership, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, The New York Times and National Review. He has edited widely cited volumes on education philanthropy, stretching the school dollar, the impact of education research and No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. He serves as executive editor of Education Next, as lead faculty member for the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, and on the review board for the Broad Prize in Urban Education. A former high school social studies teacher, he has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University and Harvard University.

Alyson Klein is a reporter for Education Week. She covers federal policy and Congress and reports on stimulus programs and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, focusing on the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa and Mississippi. She is also the co-author of the popular Education Week blog Politics K-12.

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