Trish Brennan-Gac
Learning Point Associates

During a three-month period from March through May 2010, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) conducted a series of eight hearings and roundtable discussions to explore specific topics related to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Almost every hearing featured a variety of education stakeholders including students, teachers, principals, district leaders, researchers, and leaders from business and nonprofit organizations.

Each speaker’s remarks focused on his or her organization’s work and the lessons learned through its efforts to improve our nation’s schools. Many speakers offered specific recommendations for the ESEA reauthorization. Although each hearing concentrated on a particular theme, it is no surprise that many individual testimonies covered multiple issues such as a focus on teachers and leaders and the use of data to improve instruction. This natural convergence of common themes stresses integration of programs and approaches and shows flexibility in the use of funds.

One area in which policymakers are clearly struggling is the topic of meeting the needs of students and schools in rural communities. In the Great Lakes West region, there are large rural communities where many initiatives and approaches are working successfully. We encourage you to share with us any successful strategies you and your education leaders are employing in your states.

A link to the HELP Committee’s Web page where you can watch a recording of the hearing or download a particular speaker’s testimony and a Key Remarks page is provided for each hearing, recordings of the hearings and summary documents are on the Great Lakes West website.

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