Goldman Sachs special education bonds are in the ESEA reauthorization.

UNITED STATES - May 14: Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT., talks to reporters about the Justice Department secretly seizing AP reporters? phone records outside of the weekly Senate luncheon's on May 14, 2013. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

-By Bev Johns

Who knew that the U.S. Senate reauthorization of ESEA (No Child Left Behind) contains an amendment adopted by the Senate from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that adopts the Goldman Sachs concept of paying investors for any child that avoids special education?

An op-ed co-authored by Sen. Hatch in a Utah newspaper states:

Sen. Hatch, has been working in Congress to allow other states to replicate this success. In fact, the Hatch amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act will allow states to implement Pay-for-Success initiatives.

The federal government helps fund many education programs, but Washington seldom knows what’s best for states or local communities. By allowing federal funds to help finance Pay-for-Success initiatives, this amendment will provide states with the flexibility they need to adopt effective, impactful strategies to improve education and save taxpayer money.

The amendment passed as part of the Senate’s education bill this summer and awaits action in the House of Representatives.

Actually the U.S. Senate and House have passed different versions of ESEA and we are faced with a possible Conference Committee between the Senate and House to compromise the two bills.

This possible compromise may not happen as the two bills are very different, and the upcoming departures of House Speaker John Boehner (one of the original authors of No Child Left Behind) and of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan may lessen the pressure to pass a new ESEA.

But we need to let every national organization that we belong to know that we oppose the concept of paying Goldman Sachs and other investors for every child that avoids special education (what Sen. Hatch calls Pay-for-Success).

By the way, Sen. Hatch’s op-ed specifically mentions Goldman Sachs.