Coming Soon: No Child Left Behind Reauthorization

According to reports, lawmakers have reached an agreement to reauthorize the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law for four years.  In December 2014, The Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke put forward four crucial benchmarks for any NCLB overhaul:

  • enable states to completely opt out of the programs that fall under No Child Left Behind;
  • eliminate programs and reduce spending;
  • eliminate all the burdensome federal mandates; and,
  • provide states the option of full Title 1 portability.

Those reports, confirmed by “a GOP aide who participated in the negotiations,” suggest the pre-conferenced agreement falls short on each and every requirement.  Additionally, Education Week reports the House’s testing opt-out language – a priority for many conservative lawmakers – was abandoned:

“The bill largely maintains the Senate language, which would allow states to create their own opt-out laws (as Oregon has). But it maintains the federal requirement for 95 percent participation in tests.”

Although the agreement apparently consolidates some programs, it is likely the grants will require detailed reporting and assurances that states will comply with federal mandates.  What’s more, the indexing of current funding levels to inflation reveals the lack of genuine program eliminations.  Additionally,  Senate Democrats were able to secure their new pre-kindergarten program, which will be jointly administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and Education Department.  Initial funding is reported to be about $250 million per year.

Heritage Action will continue to monitor developments as the bill heads to a conference committee next week (and potentially to the House and Senate floor after Thanksgiving), but the early indications are the agreement fails to restore federalism in education and will not empower parents and students.

Please Share Your Thoughts

5 thoughts on “Coming Soon: No Child Left Behind Reauthorization

  1. ◦Sen. Rand Paul (R, KY) was the lone dissenter – not present but voting “no” by proxy – opposing any federal government role in public schools.
    ◦Here’s the framework for the agreement, the Every Student Succeeds Act. Check out what being in the conference was like here.
    ◦Up next: The agreement will be brought to the House for a vote by Dec. 2. If it passes, President Obama is expected to sign it into law. This would mark a significant transfer of power and authority over public schools from the federal government to state and local governments. PLEASE EXPLAIN HERITAGE POSITION
    ◦Recap: Both chambers passed their respective bills in July. Learn more about the bills S. 1177 Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 and H.R. 5 Student Success Act.

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