Issue Brief 11-29
July 21, 2011

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, P.L. 89-10), which first passed in 1965, governs spending on the nation’s K-12 education programs. The last reauthorization of ESEA was enacted in 2002 with No Child Left Behind (NCLB, P.L. 107-110). While P.L. 107-110 expired in 2007, Congress has continued to fund K-12 programs through the annual appropriations process. However, both the administration and members of Congress have pushed for reauthorization of the law before the start of the 2011-2012 school year. The House Committee on Education and Workforce plans to reauthorize ESEA through a series of smaller bills. Thus far, it has passed three bills, which would eliminate 42 programs, restructure the charter school grant program, and provide states with flexibility to transfer funds among programs. To date, there has been little activity in the Senate on ESEA reauthorization.

This Issue Brief provides background on ESEA and details on the current reauthorization proposals.