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Education

U.S. House, Senate Set to Replace No Child Left Behind

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Gage Skidmore
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Republican Senator Orrin Hatch speaking in Washington D.C..

Both the U-S House and Senate have now passed versions of a bill to replace the federal education law known as No Child Left Behind.

Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch had a hand in crafting the Senate compromise which passed handily 81 to 17. He says despite good intentions, No Child Left Behind’s high stakes testing requirements hampered student learning and hurt schools.

“Instead of sending artificial and unattainable requirements, the new legislation allows states to set their own standards for success,” Hatch said, speaking on the Senate Floor.

The Senate bill, called the Every Child Achieves Act also allows states to establish their own accountability systems.

Republican Senator Mike Lee disagrees with Hatch. He says it doesn’t go far enough to shrink the federal government’s role in public education, specifically in early childhood education.

The House version, called the Student Success Act got no support for democrats. It passed 218 to 213. Like the Senate version, it provides more flexibility to states, but also permits federal dollars to “follow” students who transfer out of high-poverty schools. National Education President Lily Eskelsen Garcia says the House bill is flawed, but she supports the Senate version. 

“We were able to convince that critical mass of Republicans and Democrats, it is a true bipartisan bill, that the era of test and punish has to end, that that actually works against our most vulnerable children,” Eskelsen Garcia says.

The House and Senate will now meet in conference to hammer out a final bill that will be signed by the president. 

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