US Senate Takes Up ‘No Child Left Behind’ Overhaul

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Senate began debating a bill on Tuesday that would replace portions of the No Child Left Behind Act and give states more power to evaluate their school systems.
     The Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, would take many of the responsibilities No Child Left Behind gave to the federal government and pass them to individual states.
     While the bill would not eliminate the federally mandated tests created by No Child Left Behind, it would let states determine how to weigh the tests when evaluating school and teacher achievement.
     Every Child Achieves would also allot federal funds to schools that individual states determine to be sub-par while also encouraging them to create charter and magnet school programs where they see fit.
     “It is a strange idea to suggest that those of us who fly [home] get that much smarter or that much wiser on the plane flight here,” Alexander said in a floor speech Tuesday, referring to Washington’s ability to oversee states’ education programs.
     The bill would also continue No Child Left Behind’s data-collection measures, which help evaluate the achievement of minority, low income, disabled or non-English speaking students.
     Alexander called No Child Left Behind “the law everyone wants to fix,” and emphasized that his bill went through the bipartisan Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee without objection.
     “If fixing No Child Left Behind were a standardized test, Congress would have earned a failing grade for each of the last seven years,” Alexander told colleagues on the Senate floor.
     No Child Left Behind, passed in 2001 under the Bush administration, has been widely criticized for placing too many testing requirements on students. Both Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, called the act “unworkable” in their floor speeches.
     “A good education can provide a ticket to the middle class,” Murray said on the floor.
     The Hill reported Monday the Obama administration was concerned about the bill’s accountability measures and would not support House and Senate attempts to replace No Child Left Behind, though administration officials did not say the president would use his veto power if such a bill landed on his desk.

%d bloggers like this: