Washington Fails At #NCLB Rewrite Attempt

Ten years after it was first enacted and more than two years after the Obama administration has been pushing for a reauthorization, the federal NCLB law was supposed to get revamped by the Senate education committee this morning, and then head to the Senate floor and -- theoretically -- over to the House. But it didn't happen that way.  Conservatives and state education chiefs didn't like the draft committee chairman Tom Harkin presented last week (too tough!), and the Obama administration and a bunch of other groups didn't like the do-over that Harkin unveiled on Monday (too weak!).  As of last night, there were a whopping 144 amendments listed by Senators who wanted to fix the Harkin draft.  But the process blew up before it could get very far, with Senator Rand Paul invoking a procedural limit on the markup.  It was chaotic but might not have been a bad thing.  There's clearly very little agreement on what needs to be done, and the Harkin base would have removed not only the "bad" parts of NCLB but also many of the good ones (ie, holding all schools accountable for helping subgroups make progress and ensuring that classrooms are filled with certified teachers).

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  • I have been following some of the debate going on around NCLB and I have been impressed by the fact that some liberal Democrats and states rights republicans agreed on limiting the federal role in determining education policies of the states. Both do not like certain mandates for very different reasons, members of both groups dislike Mr. Duncan too. Possibly Arne has achieved what President Obama can't - getting Republicans and Democrats working together. Many of us on this blog wondered why President Obama picked Duncan, what little vision we had - it is all clear now.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Haw! :)

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Dear Rod, do you see other reasons in this debate or just the one reason of Arne getting Republicans and Democrats working together?

  • Yes, liberal Democrats are just now becoming concerned that NCLB reforms targeting teacher performance may be part of a larger strategy to weaken teacher unions in general. Amazing that it took this long for them to figure out that possibility.

    The reality is with the destruction of the Wisconsin Education Association by eliminating dues check off the Democratic Party is potentially losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in PAC money from that state alone. Both the NEA and AFT have been lobbying hard to contain some of Duncan's reforms aimed at teachers.

    Then we have Republicans who question regulation and are not in agreement with the US Dept of Ed making rules for their state level education Boards. These two factors are making the situation very complex. There are also some very bad amendments out there which Republicans are largely supporting that would exempt students with IEPs from recieving both special education services and title I services. These amendments are not likely to pass, but they are adding to the overall confused situation from what I can tell.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod thanks!

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