The legislation, which passed the Senate by a vote of 85 to 12, would restore authority for school performance and accountability to local districts and states after a lengthy period of aggressive federal involvement. While it keeps the existing annual testing requirements in reading and math and requires that states act to improve the lowest performing schools, it allows more local control to set goals, determine school ratings and decide remedial measures.
'It will unleash a flood of excitement and innovation and student achievement that we haven’t seen in a long time,' said Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who leads the Education Committee. 'But it will come community by community, state by state, rather than through Washington, D.C.'"
Mr. Obama is expected to sign the bill — the product of a conference committee of the House and Senate that passed easily in the House last week with bipartisan backing — on Thursday.
'This is the biggest rewrite of our education laws in 25 years,' said the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan. 'I’m very proud of this bill.'
No Child Left Behind, George W. Bush’s signature education initiative, had passed with strong bipartisan support in 2001. It introduced high-stakes standardized testing to gauge students in reading and math from the third to eighth grades, with the ultimate goal of making every student proficient in those subjects by 2014.
But as time went on, more schools faced sanctions, including closings, as they failed to meet what turned out to be an unworkable expectation. Republicans and Democrats alike backed away from the law as it became apparent that its penalties for struggling schools were overly punitive."
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Post by: Katie Steefel