WASHINGTON — The U.S. House passed Rep. John Kline’s No Child Left Behind fix on Friday, passing off the issue to the Senate, where the bill is unlikely to find support among Democrats.
Kline’s bill looks to reduce the federal government’s role in setting education standards and allow states to determine how to measure student performance and allocate federal education spending. Democrats argued the bill would undermine the government’s ability to hold schools accountable. (Here’s a New York Times recap of Thursday’s floor debate.)
“We must support policies that encourage more local decision-making and allow these knowledgeable school leaders and administrators to do what they do best: educate America’s children,” Kline said Thursday.
NCLB is long overdue for a congressional rewrite, but lawmakers can’t agree on how. Without reform in place, the Obama administration began issuing waivers last year freeing states from NCLB’s stringent student-progress standards as long as they set their own. Minnesota won a waiver last February.
Republicans introduced three NCLB reform bills last session, but only one — a charter school expansion provision — received bipartisan support. That component was also the only one to make it to the floor, making Friday’s vote the first taken by the House to comprehensively overhaul NCLB.
But Democrats generally oppose the bill, and the Obama administration has threatened to veto it if it were to get that far, which, given Democrats’ control of the Senate, it won’t. Instead, they propose a bill modeled after the Obama administration’s waiver plan (Beth Hawkins goes in-depth on the plan here), which is as unpalatable to Republicans as Kline’s bill is to Democrats.
The Senate education committee passed their bill — on a party-line vote — in June. Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, who chairs the committee, told Bloomberg News it should come to the floor sometime this fall.
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