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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Senate To Vote On Bill That Scraps No Child Left Behind & Ends Federal Common Core Mandate

This May Soon Happen
If S. 1177 Become Law!
Today in Washington, DC - Dec. 8, 2015:
The House reconvened at 10 AM today for morning debates and the recessed until Noon when it reconvened.

Bills which may be considered:
H.R. 3842 — "To improve homeland security, including domestic preparedness and response to terrorism, by reforming Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers to provide training to first responders, and for other purposes."
H.R. 158 — "To clarify the grounds for ineligibility for travel to the United States regarding terrorism risk, to expand the criteria by which a country may be removed from the Visa Waiver Program, to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit a report on strengthening the Electronic System for Travel Authorization to better secure the international borders of the United States and prevent terrorists and instruments of terrorism from entering the United States, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3842 — "To improve homeland security, including domestic preparedness and response to terrorism, by reforming Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers to provide training to first responders, and for other purposes."

Yesterday, the House passed by voice votes the following:
S. 614 — "To provide access to and use of information by Federal agencies in order to reduce improper payments, and for other purposes."
H.R. 1321 — "To prohibit the sale or distribution of cosmetics containing synthetic plastic microbeads."

The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today and resumed consideration of the conference report for , the Every Student Succeeds Act, the bill to replace the No Child Left Behind law.

At 11:30, the Senate voted 84-12 to invoke cloture on the conference report for S. 1177. A final vote on the bill is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 89-0 to confirm Travis McDonough to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Both parties have long agreed that No Child Left Behind is broken and needs to be fixed. The House of Representatives passed reformist replacements for this law over the past few Congresses, but the Senate didn’t consider legislation on the floor for years — until now. A new majority in Congress thought it was time to finally change that dynamic. So we demonstrated how a functioning committee process in a functioning Senate could help break through gridlock.”

He noted, “the Every Student Succeeds Act would put education back in the hands of those who know our kids best: parents, teachers, states, and school boards. It would help students succeed instead of helping Washington grow. That’s something all of us can get behind. Because all of us represent different states with different children who have different needs. . . ."

Describing how this legislation came about, NPR wrote, “Since [No Child Left Behind] 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. . . . The new law, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act, significantly shifts responsibility for improving schools back to the states.”

National Journal emphasized, “Broadly, the bill marks a roll­back of fed­er­al power.”

The New York Times said the legislation “represent[s] the end of an era in which the federal government aggressively policed public school performance, and returning control to states and local districts.”

The Wall Street Journal editors> found the bill worthy of support and discussed just how much it reduces federal government involvement in education policy. They wrote, “A bipartisan compromise has emerged from the Senate and House that isn’t perfect but 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. . . .

“Washington’s heavy hand has produced a political backlash that crosses ideological lines . . . . Gone are No Child Left Behind’s proficiency benchmarks and mandated federal interventions. The Education Department wouldn’t be able to prescribe accountability systems and standards. Yet importantly, the bill retains annual testing requirements for students from third to eighth grade . . . .”

The AP points out, “The federal government would see its influence in education policy substantially limited and would no longer be able to tell states and local districts how to judge the performance of schools and teachers.”

Among the effects of the bill The Washington Post noted were that “It would largely dismantle the federal accountability system created by No Child Left Behind . . . . It also would erase a second accountability system the Obama administration instituted in which [Education Secretary 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.

“And it would significantly reduce the legal authority of the education secretary, who would be legally barred from influencing state decisions about academic benchmarks, such as the Common Core State Standards, teacher evaluations and other education policies.”

Last week, the AP wrote the legislation “would return to the states the authority to decide how to use students' test performance in assessing teachers and schools, and it would end federal efforts to encourage academic standards such as Common Core.”

As chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), said on the floor earlier today, this bill “will end the waivers through which the U.S. Department of Education has become, in effect, a national school board for more than 80,000 Schools in 42 states. Governors have been forced to go to Washington and play ‘Mother, May I?’ in order for a state to put in a plan to evaluate teachers or help a low performing school, for example.

“It will end the federal Common Core mandate. It explicitly prohibits Washington from mandating or even incentivizing Common Core or any other specific academic standards.

“It moves decisions about whether schools and teachers and students are succeeding or failing out of Washington, D.C., and back to states and communities and classroom teachers where those decisions belong.”

He added, “Some Republicans would like even more local control of schools. I am one of them. . . . I have decided, like a president named Reagan once advised, that I will take 80 percent of what I want and fight for the other 20 percent on another day.

“Besides, if I were to vote no, I would be voting to leave in place the federal Common Core mandate and voting to leave in place the waivers that permit the U.S. Department of Education to act as a national school board for 80,000 schools in 42 states—and voting against the largest step toward local control of schools in 25 years. Let me repeat that: Voting no is voting to leave in place the Common Core mandate and the national school board and voting against the largest step toward local control of schools in 25 years.”

The Wall Street Journal editors agreed: “The bill isn’t the complete devolution of power that conservatives would prefer, but it would help state reformers who want to do better. . . Republicans will have more chances to reform Washington’s role in education if they keep their majority, and this [legislation] expires in four years. They shouldn’t let their ideal of American federalism thwart a rare opportunity for real reform.”

Tags: U.S. Senate, S. 1177, education refrom, returning control of education, to the states,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:29 PM - Post Link

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