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Aurora Institute

iNACOL Policy Update – Missouri Moves Forward on Course Access; ESEA Advances in the Senate

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): Maria Worthen, Susan Gentz

Issue(s): Federal Policy, Harness Opportunities in ESSA, State Policy, Create Pilots and Innovation Zones

April 13 – April 17, 2015

Last week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee took the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) to markup. Markup is the process by which congressional committees debate, amend, and rewrite proposed legislation. If passed, this bill would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). There was much discussion and the committee considered over 70 amendments. On Thursday, April 16, ECAA passed out of committee on a unanimous vote. It is true that our elected officials may not always agree on policy, but it was apparent last week that all of the Senators on the HELP Committee are putting forth their best effort to enact a law that benefits all students.

State legislatures are moving along steadily, with approximately a month and a half of session left for the majority of states. One positive step this past week came out of the Missouri House. The House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education passed a bill to create a Course Access program in the state. However, an amendment to the bill changes the funding model from following the student to appropriation, which is potentially problematic for equity of access and sustainability. The bill must now be considered by the full House before being passed on to the Senate.

A summary is below; a more detailed version with additional legislative information is available in the members-only iNACOL Member Forums. We track policy priorities and issues related to the field’s needs as outlined annually in the iNACOL State Policy Frameworks. This report provides background information and recommendations for issues on the critical policy shifts needed to transform K-12 education.


  • iNACOL is currently tracking 97 bills in 31 states.


  • Louisiana convened for the 2015 session on March 13.
  • Maryland adjourned for the 2015 session on March 13.


  • A bill in Arkansas that would allow a school district to petition for waivers for the same levels of flexibility granted to a charter school was enacted into law on April 8.
  • The Senate Education Committee considered a California bill that would appropriate $1,000,000 to train K-12 teachers to more effectively utilize technology and digital resources within their instructional day. This measure was amended and passed the Committee on April 15.
  • A bill in Indiana that was amended to establish the “Innovation Network School” passed the Senate on April 14.
  • In Oregon, a bill that would provide $700,000 for the continuation and possible expansion of proficiency-based teaching and learning demonstration sites passed the Education Committee and was referred to the Ways and Means Committee on April 14.
  • A measure in Rhode Island that would require the state to adopt a competency- or proficiency-based learning policy and model district policies was held for further study on April 8.
  • The Missouri Course Access Program bill passed out of the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee with amendments on April 13.
  • A bill in Iowa that would establish a broadband grant program passed subcommittee on April 8.



The iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium will be held November 8-11, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. Registration opened Tuesday, March 31.

Already a member? Access the more detailed legislative highlights through the Membership Forum.

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