US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

HELP Committee Approves Bipartisan Bill to Fix No Child Left Behind

Thursday, October 20, 2011

WASHINGTON – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, announced that the bipartisan Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act passed out of committee by a bipartisan vote of 15 to 7.  The legislation, which overhauls the No Child Left Behind Act, will now be sent to the full Senate for consideration.

“Tonight is a victory – both for our nation’s children and for bipartisanship.  After more than two years of hearings, debate, and negotiations, the HELP Committee has come together in a bipartisan way to approve comprehensive legislation to improve education for our nation’s children.  This bill will ensure that students graduate from school ready for college and careers and focus federal resources where they will be most effective. It will replace punitive sanctions and labels with supports for teaching and learning, increase flexibility for innovation on the local level, and distribute resources equitably to ensure a top-notch education for every American student,” said Senator Harkin.

“Like any major piece of legislation, this bill is not perfect, but it is an important step forward for America’s children.  I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and education experts to build on this strong foundation and improve this bill when it is considered by the Full Senate.”

 

The Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act will:

 

Fix the one-size-fits-all approach created by the No Child Left Behind Act.

  • Eliminate policies like the “adequate yearly progress” requirements and mandated federal sanctions for all schools that create pressure to “teach to the test.”
  • Support state-designed accountability systems consistent with principles supported by the Council of Chief State School Officers.
  • Make schools accountable to the communities they serve by ensuring that all parents, families, and community members have access to disaggregated information about how effectively their schools are educating all students.

 

Help ensure that every student graduates from high school ready for college and a career.

  • Support states as they develop and implement college and career ready academic standards with high-quality assessments that will help make our young people the most skilled citizens in the world.
  • Fix America’s dropout factories, the 12 percent of high schools that produce 50 percent of our dropouts.
  • Foster collaboration between early childhood programs and school systems to ensure that children start school ready to succeed.

 

Support great teachers and principals, and ensure that all children receive the best instruction.

  • Help ensure there are great teachers and principals in every school through improved support and evaluation systems.
  • Recruit and prepare teachers for high-need subjects like math and science.
  • Help more schools provide a well-rounded education with time for the arts and physical activity.
  • Support student success by promoting safe and healthy schools.
  • Prepare more teachers to teach the diverse learners in America’s schools including students with disabilities and English learners.

 

Focus the federal government’s role on the things it does best, while giving states and communities the flexibility they need to address the unique needs of their students and schools.

  • Direct federal resources to turn around chronically struggling schools and those with significant achievement gaps and allow states to take student progress into consideration while rating schools.
  • Promote smooth transition and alignment from early learning to K-12 to higher education, and across federal education programs.
  • Consolidate and streamline programs in the current law and eliminate those that are duplicative or unnecessary.

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