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No Child Left Behind Overhaul Activity in Congress
posted by: Cindy Omlin | June 13, 2013, 10:24 PM   
Democrats recently proposed a bill in which states would be responsible for setting goals for student achievement. Based on the NCLB waiver system, the 37 states, plus the District of Columbia, who currently have waivers, would be able to stick with those plans. States that don't already have waivers would have to come up with a set of goals that take into account both overall student achievement and growth.

Yesterday, the Senate Democrats' proposal passed through the Senate education committee, with a narrow 10-12 vote. Analysts maintain that this 1,000+ page bill manages to loosen the tighter restraints of NCLB while maintaining states' obligation to report and meet targets for schools. Senator Harkin said he intends to bring the bill to the Senate floor sometime this year, allowing amendments to be made in the process.

Contrarily, Republican proposals seek less government involvement in accountability, school turnarounds, and funding for education. The House and Senate GOP bills would require states to test students each year in grades 3-8, and once in high school in reading and math, as under NCLB. However, school improvement and goals for student achievement would be state led.

"We tried hard to get a compromise," said Senator Alexander (R-TN). "We just have dramatically different views of the role of the federal government in education."

While all the proposals have their critics, education advocates agree that any action is positive for advancement when NCLB is already years expired. "We would much rather see a bipartisan attempt so that we can get to the finish line," said Chris Minnich, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington.

Without an agreement on an NCLB overhaul, the current law will stand, along with the much contended waiver system. While debating NCLB, one Republican senator dropped the heavy binder of waivers on a table, calling it "regulation purgatory." Clearly, after years of debate, lawmakers are growing frustrated with reforming the outdated law.

Despite the movement, education advocates stress that the road to a full scale overhaul will be a long one. "We've got a huge difference between the two sides on this," said Senator Mark Kirk (R-SC). "I don't think we're headed anywhere other than a couple of days we spend in a big room highlighting the differences."

What do you think about the NCLB rewrites?
Comment below.


Originally posted by Ruthie at AAE.

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