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Senate passes NCLB revision

by Dan Burns on July 17, 2015 · 1 comment

schoolIt’s called the Every Child Achieves Act, and is possibly not far from what President Obama will end up signing. Though one can’t be too sure; you may well share my concern based on recollections of what can happen when he gets totally obsessed with making a deal. Any deal. Like what seems to be happening now with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But that’s another matter.

The Senate bill retains annual testing, but removes federal sanctions attached to test results. Any rewards or sanctions attached to test scores will be left to states. The Senate rejected private school vouchers; nine Republican Senators joined with Democrats to defeat the voucher proposal. The bill also strengthens current prohibitions against the Secretary of Education dictating specific curriculum, standards, and tests to states, as well as barring the Secretary from tying test scores to teacher evaluations. The bill repudiates the punitive measures of of NCLB and RTTT.
(Diane Ravitch)

First, though, there will be negotiations with the House involving what it passed, namely, Rep. John Kline’s (R-MN) Student Success Act. I haven’t seen anything yet to the effect that Kline plans to try to seriously insist that the Senate essentially adopt his bill, rather than vice versa as most observers seem to expect. But we’ll see. It could get complicated. Right-wingers feel that neither bill is conservative enough, as public schools in conservative areas still won’t be able to propagandize right-wing extremism as their primary function. Civil rights groups believe, with considerable justification, that neither has enough safeguards to keep disadvantaged children from being shorted. The White House wants more “accountability.” The negotiations could fall apart, and life will go on. Here’s more detail on all of this, from Mother Jones.
The Column has a story about the Senate having blocked Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) Student Nondiscrimination Act.
Comments below fold.

From Mac Hall: I do not understand the rules of the bill … any reason why Franken’s Student Non-Discrimation provision was rejected 52-45 but Cory Booker’s amendment to require states to report information on the graduation rates of homeless children and children in foster care was accepted by a vote of 56-40? I thought that it would be a pure majority or it had to hit the 60 vote threshold … do they have different rules depending upon if it involves LBGT students than homeless?
Also, disappointed, but not surprised that the Senate rejected the Markey amendment involving climate change education.
In the end, this should be a lesson for Chairman Kline on how bi-partisan legislation should be produced … overall the vote was a strong majority (81-17) and of the NO votes were 14 Republicans plus Booker (NJ), Murphy (CT) and Warren (MA)

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