WASHINGTON, D.C. – For a bill that doesn’t stand a chance of becoming law anytime soon, the House Republicans’ revamp of the federal “No Child Left Behind” law is certainly generating a lot of controversy.
On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Students Success Act,” by a vote of 221 to 207. All Democrats and 12 Republicans voted against the bill.
Analysts say the Student Success Act has virtually no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate. And even if it does, President Obama has promised a veto of the bill, reports the Huffington Post.
So why all the hubbub over the soon-to-be-dead bill?
The Student Success Act is notable because it signals that the Republican Party may be done with its “big government” approach to fixing the nation’s public education system.
Back in 2001, many Republican lawmakers – including President George W. Bush – supported the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, which gave D.C. bureaucrats a lot of oversight and influence over the nation’s public schools.
NCLB required states that accepted federal K-12 money to make “adequate yearly progress” in student learning. If states failed to reach the federal goals, they were subjected to Washington D.C.-prescribed reforms.
The Student Success Act charts a significantly different course for the GOP.
According to Frederick Hess, a conservative education expert with the American Enterprise Institute, this Republican-rewrite of NCLB “dumps” the adequate yearly progress measurement, “repeals” bureaucratic oversight of what constitutes a highly qualified teacher, “eliminates or consolidates over 70” federal K-12 programs, and “allows” states to use certain federal funds to provide families with vouchers that can be spent at the private school of their choice.
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