Education Reform: ‘A Rollback Of Federal Power’

After ‘Long And Arduous’ Path, The ‘Largest Devolution Of Federal Control To The States In A Quarter-Century’


‘This Is A Law That Everybody Knows Needs Fixing’

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): “The real winners today are 100,000 public schools which are attended by 50 million children, where three and a half million teachers work and are eager for us to bring some certainty to federal education policy.” (Sen. Alexander, Congressional Record, S.8237-8, 12/1/2015)

  • ALEXANDER: “This is a law that everybody knows needs fixing. ... Governors, teachers, superintendents, Republicans and Democrats, wanted us to do this, and we’ve done it so far. There’s not only consensus on the need to fix it, but we have now shown today that in the House and Senate of the United States, there is consensus on how to fix it. And that means we’ll keep the important measures of student achievement, but we will restore to states, communities and classroom teachers the responsibility with what to do about the results of the tests.” (Sen. Alexander, Congressional Record, S.8237-8, 12/1/2015)

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): “I am very proud of the bipartisan work we have done on the Senate floor—debating amendments, taking votes, and making this good bill even better. ... [I]t is a good, strong step in the right direction.” (Sen. Murray, Congressional Record, S.5138, 7/16/2015)

  • MURRAY: “Mr. President, we are all in agreement that Congress absolutely needs to work together to finally fix the broken No Child Left Behind law for our students, our teachers, our parents, and the communities in my home State of Washington and across the country. ... As the Presiding Officer heard from our chairman, Senator Alexander, since February of this year, he and I have worked together on a bipartisan education bill that would remove the harmful one-size-fits-all mandates of No Child Left Behind…” (Sen. Murray, Congressional Record, S.8031, 11/18/2015)


‘Broadly, The Bill Marks A Rollback Of Federal Power’

“A bipartisan compromise has emerged from the Senate and House that ... would represent the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century. It’s far better than the status quo that would continue if nothing passes.” (Editorial, “No Child Left Behind’s Successor,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/2015)

“Since NCLB was signed by President George W. Bush in early 2002, the federal government has played a major role in telling states how to run — and reform — their schools. But this new bill signals a sea change in the federal approach.” (“House Set To Vote On Education Overhaul," NPR, 12/2/2015)

“In several areas, the new law brings welcome, long-overdue changes to federal education oversight.” (Editorial, “Finally, Congress Is Set To Adopt Replacement For No Child Left Behind,” [Minneapolis] Star Tribune, 12/6/2015)

  • “It also would erase a second accountability system the Obama administration instituted in which [Secretary of Education Arne] Duncan granted waivers to 43 states and the District of Columbia excusing them from the demands of No Child Left Behind in exchange for adopting the administration’s preferred policies. Those waivers would be void by August under the bill.” (“House Leaves ‘No Child’ Education Law Behind,” The Washington Post, 12/2/2015)


‘Massive Rewrite Of The Education Law… Is Years Overdue And Finally Heading To The Finish Line’

“Don’t look now, but Congress is actually about to get a lot done.” (Steven T. Dennis, “You Can’t Call It A Do Nothing Congress Anymore,” Fortune, 12/2/2015)

“The path to Wednesday’s vote was long and arduous. Even as recently as last summer, educators thought that partisan and often acrimonious bickering would stymie any movement.” (“House Restores Local Education Control in Revising No Child Left Behind,” The New York Times, 12/2/2015)

“Long outdated and widely criticized as unrealistic, the 2002 No Child Left Behind education law is on track for a major revision after the House voted to dramatically limit the federal government's role in education policy but keep the annual testing requirements for the nation's public schoolchildren.” (“No Child Left Behind Revision Easily Passes House, Heads To Senate,” AP, 12/3/2015)

“Finally, Congress is set to adopt [a] replacement for No Child Left Behind” (Editorial, “Finally, Congress Is Set To Adopt Replacement For No Child Left Behind,” [Minneapolis] Star Tribune, 12/6/2015)

“It's almost a decade overdue, but the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote later today on a bill to replace the No Child Left Behind law.” (“House Set To Vote On Education Overhaul," NPR, 12/2/2015)

“The No Child Left Behind Act, passed ... in 2002, has been due for renewal since 2007. But previous attempts to reauthorize the law have gotten caught in a broader debate over the federal role in public education.” (“No Child Left Behind Revision Easily Passes House, Heads To Senate,” AP, 12/3/2015)



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