Senate Headed Towards Passage of Landmark Education Reform Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today urging passage of the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act:

“The pundits told us it would never happen. Republicans and Democrats will never agree on a way to replace No Child Left Behind, they said.  

“But a new Senate that’s back to work is proving them wrong.  

“We’re poised to pass bipartisan legislation that would replace an education law that no longer works with significant education reforms that will.

“It’s a bipartisan bill that would take decision-making power away from distant federal bureaucrats and empower parents, teachers, states, and school boards instead.

“It’s a bipartisan bill that would end the practice of states being coerced into adopting measures like Common Core.  

“It’s a bipartisan bill that would substitute one-size-fits-all Washington mandates for greater state and local flexibility.  

“And because the needs of a student in Kentucky aren’t likely to be the same as the needs of a student in Montana or California, this is a bill that would clear the way for educational standards and programs to be designed with the needs of local students in mind.  

“In short, the Every Child Achieves Act is aimed at helping students succeed instead of helping Washington grow. I urge colleagues to join me in passing it soon.

“That would be a big achievement for our kids.  

“And it would be another reminder of what’s possible in a Senate that’s back to work for the American people.  

“After all, what did our constituents see in this debate?  

“They saw the Senators they send to Washington, regardless of party, having their voices heard.  

“They saw Senators working across the aisle.  

“They saw Senators of both parties offering amendment after amendment, and then voting to adopt many of them.  

“On this bill alone, the new Senate has already taken roll-call votes on 17 amendments; we expect to take up to 6 more today.   

“To put that in perspective:

“The new Senate will have taken more amendment roll-call votes on this single bill alone than the old Senate took all of last year, on all bills, combined.  

“That’s something we should all want to celebrate. Because it means the voices of the American people are being heard in the Senate again.  

“I want to thank the Senior Senators from Tennessee and Washington for all their hard work on this bill. Their continued dedication helped lead us to this point today.  

“I also want to acknowledge the efforts of the House of Representatives on this issue. The Republican-led House has passed legislation to address this issue the past few years, but the old Senate failed to act.

“This year, a Senate under new management is poised to finally do its job. We look forward to going to conference with the House on this issue.

“But first, we must pass the bill before us.  

“So let’s keep the productive momentum going. Let's pass this bill. Let's replace No Child Left Behind once and for all.  

“We’ve already seen how states like Kentucky have been able to achieve more success by obtaining just a limited amount of flexibility from the current law, via conditional waivers — just imagine what Kentucky and other states could achieve when fully empowered to do what's right for their students.”

Related Issues: Education, Every Student Succeeds Act