Schools Bill Debate Ends With Bipartisan Vote

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Senate voted Wednesday to end debate on the Every Child Achieves Act, paving the way for the bill’s final passage this week.
     Republicans entered all 12 votes against the motion to end debate, but the 86 votes for the motion show support on both sides of the aisle.
     “Across the country, students and teachers and communities are really counting on us to fix No Child Left Behind,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said on the floor before the vote.
     Most votes against the motion came from senators representing states in the Midwest or on the Gulf Coast, including presidential hopefuls Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
     “We thought it was past time to place more education decisionmaking power where it truly belongs: with parents, with teachers, with school boards,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said during leader remarks ahead of the vote on cloture.
     The bill would not end the federally mandated tests put in place by the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, but would grant states more discretion in how they weight the tests when evaluating schools.
     Every Child Achieves also contains incentivizes for states to create magnet and charter schools and to continue the data-collection methods set forth in No Child Left Behind that monitor the success of minority students.
     The Senate will spend the rest of the day voting on a number of amendments, and a final vote on the bill should come Thursday.
     Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Murray, noted before the vote that the Senate has already considered 27 amendments to the Every Child Achieves act since debate opened July 7 and 52 since the bill entered committee.
     Alexander described the debate on the bill as open and fair in his speech, boasting that every senator who wished to offer an amendment was able to do so.
     “This is the way the Senate is supposed to work,” he said.
     Signaling the bipartisan support of the bill that continued through the cloture vote, the bill’s co-sponsors had expressed pride before debate began early last week in the fact that the bill passed through the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee without objection.
     McConnell echoed this point during leader remarks Wednesday morning, applauding “another bipartisan achievement for our country and a long overdue win for our kids.”

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