No Child Left Behind Overhaul Taking Longer Than Expected
posted by: Alix | May 23, 2011, 02:59 PM   

Last year, President Obama and his administration set a goal for Congress to overhaul the long-debated No Child Left Behind law by this summer. The 9-year-old law has seen its share of debate since the Department of Education issued their blueprint for change last spring. While the House has begun the process with a series of targeted bills, a bipartisan, comprehensive reform of the nation's most important federal education legislation still seems far from wrapping up, according to congressional insiders.

Representative John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, said there wasn’t a chance for President Obama's August deadline. "I've been very, persistently clear that we cannot get this done by summer," Congressman Kline indicated in an interview with The Associated Press. "It is just not going to happen."

Veteran Republicans in the House have been divided by new lawmakers, who swept into power based on campaign promises to curb federal spending and oppose any federal role in education, and other fiscal conservatives who seek a balance between efficiency but are open to a federal role.  On the other hand, some congressional Democrats favor incentives like performance pay for teachers while others are advocating for the union-backed establishment.

One thing both sides agree on is that the law is broken as it stands today. The Bush-era legislation has accountability provisions in which even schools that are making improvements can be labeled as failures and has had a discouraging effect on the adoption of higher standards. The grading system is counterproductive according to Congressional leadership.

Some assert that there are some issues with bipartisan agreement, including the need to better prepare high school students for college and careers, create measures that improve teacher development and effectives, and prune back federal intrusions into the classroom. While Republicans and Democrats agree with these measures, their differences emerge from there.

House and Senate leadership are taking different approaches to re-authorization. Last week, Congressman Duncan Hunter introduced legislation to defund over half of the Department of Education’s programs, with more targeted legislation to follow. While on the Senate side, a comprehensive bill is being debated with provisions including systems for teacher and principal evaluations; metrics for success that include student growth and school gains; and some federal accountability and intervention in the bottom 5 percent of schools, as well as those with significant achievement gaps.

Potentially, a Senate bill could be aligned with the House proposals in a conference committee, but analysts say that would be difficult to pull off. With a new aversion to large bills, some are predicting a series of smaller bill over the course of the summer and next fall.

While the summer’s education legislation remains unclear, re-authorization and reform remain a top priority of the Obama administration. Make sure to read AAE’s Federal Updates for the latest.

Do you think Congressional leaders will reach a compromise this summer?
Comment below.


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written by StephanieR, May 24, 2011

No Child Left Behind has many problems with it. Sure the idea sounds great but there are many reasons for: "The 9-year-old law has seen its share of debate since the Department of Education issued their blueprint for change last spring." There has actually been debates on it since the law was instilled but until our government realizes that they can't control everything and that teachers are the best at educating children, I am afraid it won't change online casino

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