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Kline offers education reform preview

WASHINGTON — Rep. John Kline, the Minnesota Republican who chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee tasked with reforming No Child Left Behind, gave some indication about what those reforms would like in a op-ed published Sunday night.

Kline envisions an education reauthorization to update and overhaul No Child Left Behind in the form of several smaller pieces of legislation, while Democrats in the Obama administration and the Senate have said one omnibus bill should be considered. Kline’s committee took the first steps toward reform in May, when it cut several federal K-12 education plans Republicans said were ineffective or too costly.

Given how different the two approaches are, some have expressed concern that Congress will be slow reauthorizing the program, and as such the Obama administration has begun taking steps to provide regulatory relief if reform is not approved quickly. The Department of Education announced today a plan to offer waivers to states and local school districts that are pursuing education reform on their own should federal reform not come before Congress’s August recess.

In his op-ed, Kline said much of his committee’s reform measures will consist of stripping outdated federal education mandates and regulations and streamlining the delivery of federal education funds.

He said his committee will look to give states and school districts more say in how they use federal funds by removing mandates on how, specifically, funds should be spent. The federal government should also encourage charter school choice, he said, and use methods such as performance-based pay to help states maintain quality teaching cores.

But perhaps the hallmark of these reform measures, which have yet to be introduced legislatively, will be in changing accountability standards that currently come from the U.S. Secretary of Education.

“The federal government must stop micromanaging classrooms,” Kline wrote. “Instead, states and local school districts must be provided the flexibility, resources and information necessary to innovate. Only then can we best prepare all children for success in school and in life.”

Read the entire op-ed here.

Devin Henry can be reached at

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 06/13/2011 - 04:48 pm.

    If the federal government has no legitimate role in education, then I suggest that those seeking local control also vote to eliminate federal education funds. So long as federal taxpayers are footing a portion of the bill, they’re entitled to a say in how the funds are spent. Aren’t we?

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