McConnell Urges Support for Bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate Floor today regarding bipartisan education reform:

“Republicans and Democrats have long agreed that the No Child Left Behind law is broken and needs to be fixed.

“But the Senate didn’t do anything about it for seven long years, missing its deadlines repeatedly.

“The new majority in Congress thought it was time to change that dynamic. We thought it was time for bipartisan action instead.

“That’s why we’re taking up the Every Child Achieves Act today.

“It’s bipartisan legislation drafted by a Republican former education secretary, Senator Alexander, and a Democratic former preschool teacher, Senator Murray. It passed through committee with the support of every single Democrat and every single Republican.

Just think about it: from third rail to unanimous bipartisan support — now that’s an impressive achievement.

“It shows how a functioning committee process in a functioning Senate can, with hard work from Senators like Alexander and Murray, break through gridlock. It’s another encouraging sign for Americans who like what they’re seeing from a new Congress that’s back to work and back on their side.

“The American people know that education is an issue that touches almost every person in our country. They know how critical it is to our children’s future. And many are upset with an education system in desperate need of reform.

“Although No Child Left Behind was well intentioned and laid the groundwork for important reforms to our education system, it’s now clear that some of its requirements have become unachievable. For instance, basically every school is now considered failing under the law.  And because the law has become so broken, the Administration has found ways to effectively dictate education policy from the executive branch. 

“That’s not the right approach for our kids. The White House shouldn’t be trying to run your local school board.

“So the Every Child Achieves Act would put an end to that kind of control from thousands of miles away. It would do so by eliminating onerous federal mandates and reining in the power of the executive branch, so that states can’t be coerced into adopting measures like Common Core.

“Instead of more federal control, the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act aims to empower teachers, parents, and students to improve education where they live. It would restore responsibility and accountability to states and local school districts. It would give them increased flexibility to design and implement their own education standards and programs.

“This bipartisan bill would also allow states to develop their own accountability models, to include other measures beyond testing to determine student achievement and school quality, and to determine the best ways to turn around underperforming schools. 

“Nothing out of Washington could ever solve all our education challenges overnight, but the Every Child Achieves Act takes positive steps forward.

“It recognizes that the White House shouldn’t, in effect, be trying to run your local school board from hundreds or even thousands of miles away.

“It recognizes that states and parents are going to know far more about the needs of their schools and their students than some detached bureaucrat in Washington.

“There are ideas both parties should support. And, in fact, they’re ideas both parties just did support, unanimously, in committee. If Senators have changes they’d like to see in the bill, now is the time for colleagues to work with bill managers to get their amendments moving. We already have several lined up.

“This is a good debate for our country. So let’s continue working cooperatively across the aisle to empower states and parents, instead of federal bureaucrats, to enact the education policies that actually work for their students.”

Related Issues: Education, Back to Work, Restoring the Senate, Every Student Succeeds Act