In Partnership with 74

Senate approves bill to revamp ‘No Child Left Behind’

LA School Report | July 16, 2015

Your donation will help us produce journalism like this. Please give today.

New York Times logoBy Jennifer Steinhauer

WASHINGTON — For this first time in 14 years, the Senate on Thursday approved a revised version of No Child Left Behind, the signature Bush-era education law that ushered in an era of broadly reviled, high-stakes standardized testing.

But the passage of the bill on an 81-17 vote, coming just a week after the House narrowly passed its own version, sets up a showdown between the two chambers, and leaves the fate of a final measure in doubt.

Both bills return some key power to local governments but differ over the role of the federal government and funding allocations.

Congress has repeatedly failed in its efforts to rewrite the law over the last several years.

At the heart of the debate between Democrats and Republicans is the appropriate role for the federal government in education programs, which are largely a function of state and local governments.

[In Los Angeles, LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines issued the following statement:

“We would like to applaud the bipartisan effort of the U.S. Senate, which cleared a major hurdle today by ending debate and voting to pass the Every Child Achieves Act, (S.1177). We would especially like to thank Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray for their strong leadership in moving this bill through the Senate. The passage of this compromise bill is a major step in overhauling the long-overdue Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

“Though not perfect, this Senate bill reflects positive progress toward fixing the punitive accountability standards under the No Child Left Behind Act. It also moves our national education system toward a structure that provides more control for states and local school districts, while preserving reasonable federal accountability parameters with increased transparency.

“We do continue to have serious concerns with the House’s Student Success Act (H.R. 5), and hope the harmful provisions will be resolved during conference committee. We strongly urge that any final conferenced bill not include the harmful Title I ‘Portability’ provision that is included the House bill.

“Today’s action shows that our federal government can overcome the disagreement and gridlock that regularly affects Congress and, instead, work together to pass a bill with broad consensus. While this vote is a major step in the right direction, we urge Congress to provide the resources needed to assist L.A. Unified and school districts throughout the country to effectively implement a reauthorized education act, allowing us to continue our work of helping all students succeed.”]

To read the full New York Times story, cluck here.


Read Next