The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, the largest single federal education program, is due to be reauthorized in 1999. ESEA is aimed at offering a variety of services to students and staff in public, private, and religious schools. For the first time, reauthorization will take place in a Congress with Republican majorities in both houses. The idea of the Republicans radically altering the program has been raised in many circles. This article addresses the purpose and history of ESEA as well as the prospects for any radical reshaping of the statute in the current reauthorization process.

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