Chairman News


Knoxville News Sentinel: Leadership, experience enabled Alexander to achieve bipartisanship

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander deservedly is receiving a lot of credit for guiding through Congress the education reform measure that replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 during the first year of President George W. Bush. Alexander, the Tennessee Republican, former Secretary of Education and former two-term governor, was one of the primary architects of the bill that gives states more leeway to decide how schools, teachers and students will be held accountable to education standards. The b… Continue Reading


Washington Post: Distinguished Pol of the Week

It is the nature of the right these days that a major legislative victory goes almost unnoticed while failure to obtain unrealistic aims (e.g., repeal Obamacare while President Obama is still in office) is analyzed and discussed endlessly. (And inevitably denounced as another betrayal.) This past week, the GOP achieved something extraordinary - it reversed centralization of power in Washington, D.C. The San Antonio Express reported: No Child Left Behind, the sweeping federal education law with… Continue Reading


The Daily Times: Credit Alexander for passage of Every Student Succeeds

It took a while - 13 years - but the nation's education law finally has a fix. The Every Student Succeeds Act is signed and sealed. It's up to the nation's educators to deliver. This would not have happened without the determination of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander to unlock bureaucratic shackles on teachers, allowing them to focus on their students, not their bookkeeping. It basically is a rewrite of the 2002 No Child Left Behind education law that sometimes made schools seem more like testing … Continue Reading


The Tennessean: Law ends Common Core mandate, strengthens local control

Last year, campaigning for reelection, I said to Tennessee voters, "Give us a Republican majority in the United States Senate and we'll repeal the federal Common Core mandate and reverse the trend toward a national school board." This past week, the United States Congress did just that and President Obama signed it. The Wall Street Journal called our legislation fixing the 2001 No Child Left Behind law "the largest devolution of federal control to states in a quarter of a century." (For why the… Continue Reading


Wall Street Journal (Editorial): No Child Left Behind’s Successor

Conservative reformers have had major successes, notably on welfare in 1996. But when a reform doesn't turn out as hoped, they need to adapt. A case in point is No Child Left Behind, which the GOP Congress is now preparing to leave behind. This week the House plans to debate the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which lapsed in 2007 and needs revision. A bipartisan compromise has emerged from the Senate and House that isn't perfect but would represent the largest devolution of fede… Continue Reading


Washington Examiner: Fix to No Child Left Behind passes conference committee

Long-awaited changes to the nation's K-12 policy got one huge step closer to completion Thursday. Legislation that would alter No Child Left Behind passed through a conference committee of House and Senate members, with only one of the 40 committee members opposed: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. Having already been through a months-long legislative process, the smooth, two-day conference committee was surely a relief for members and staff on the House and Senate education committees. The bill would giv… Continue Reading


The Tennessean: Lamar Alexander says new K-12 law to reduce federal role

WASHINGTON - States would set and enforce their own K-12 academic standards under a massive, bipartisan rewrite of education policy that cleared a crucial vote Thursday. The legislation would produce the most significant changes to elementary and secondary education since President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law in 2001, giving the federal government significant power over school reforms. Thursday's 39-1 conference committee vote approving an outline of the rewrite… Continue Reading


The Hill: Senate chairmen probe failed ObamaCare insurer startups

Two Senate committees are deepening their investigations into a controversial ObamaCare program that has given $2.3 billion to startup insurers, half of which have since failed. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) wrote to the head of the agency overseeing ObamaCare on Monday, demanding to know how federal officials are dealing with the string of co-op failures - and how they will recoup the money. "The CO-OPs are not living up to their expectations," the senators wrot… Continue Reading


Knoxville News Sentinel: NLRB joint employer ruling stirs union concerns; Sen. Lamar Alexander opposed

Sen. Lamar Alexander is taking on the National Labor Relations Board again, this time over a ruling that he argues is the biggest attack on business he has seen in years. At issue is a 3-2 decision by the board in August that expanded the definition of what it means to be a "joint employer." Before the ruling, companies could be held responsible only for employees under their control. But the labor board redefined the standard that had been in place since the 1980s to say that two or more comp… Continue Reading


TIME: Obama Should ‘Stop and Think’ On Over-Testing Problem

October 26, 2015 - Over the weekend President Barack Obama announced that all 100,000 public schools across the nation should limit testing to 2% of a student's time in the classroom. It's a recommendation, not a requirement, and it comes in response to a nationwide backlash from teachers, students, and parents who are sick of over-testing. The president is right about students taking too many tests. But I hope he will stop and think before trying to cure over-testing by telling teachers exact… Continue Reading


National Journal: Alexander’s Goal - A Bipartisan Model That Will Work More Than Once

As mem­bers of the Health, Edu­ca­tion, Labor, and Pen­sions Com­mit­tee chat­ted with staff and one an­oth­er, a steady chor­us of "ayes" rang out as the com­mit­tee voted on an edu­ca­tion-re­form bill that had been months in the mak­ing. Com­plet­ing a reau­thor­iz­a­tion of the No Child Left Be­hind Act for the first time in sev­en years had been a goal of Chair­man Lamar Al­ex­an­… Continue Reading


Bloomberg BNA: Federal EHR Incentive Program a Hindrance to Data Exchange, GAO Says

Sept. 28 (BNA) -- Health information exchange groups widely blame the federal EHR incentive program for making it too difficult for doctors and hospitals to digitally share patient information according to a GAO report made available to Bloomberg BNA Sept. 28. The report, requested by Senate Republicans, was an analysis of interviews with officials from 18 health information exchange organizations. Those officials told Government Accountability Office that the meaningful use program has diverte… Continue Reading


New York Times: Time To Fix The Fafsa

Is Congress finally ready to pass legislation that would make it easier for harried parents and students to apply for federal financial aid? Legislators and the Department of Education have been trying for years to radically simplify the standard form, known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or Fafsa. But every time they cut a few questions, they add a few more. Today the Fafsa has 105 questions and 88 pages of instructions, making it as torturous and perplexing as a federal inco… Continue Reading


The Washington Post: The most important bill for 2016

The House on Wednesday arguably passed a bill that will have the most impact on the GOP presidential nomination of any this year. That is saying a lot considering the House (and Senate) passed Corker-Menendez (to give Congress an up-or-down vote on any final Iran deal), trade promotion authority, the first significant entitlement reform bill (the permanent "doc fix"), anti-human trafficking legislation and the Keystone XL pipeline. The important legislation turns out to be an education bill. The… Continue Reading


Washington Examiner: Lamar Alexander: Senate needs to 'show some humility' on education

Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., rose to the Senate floor Wednesday to tell his colleagues that state and local governments know best when it comes to educating students. Alexander was speaking in support of a K-12 education bill that would replace No Child Left Behind. "We need to show some humility and recognize, as Carol Burris, the principal of the year in New York, said, that moms and pops and school board members cherish the children in their own communities, … Continue Reading


The Washington Post: As Senate begins debating education bill, happy words and better libraries

Senators began work in earnest Wednesday on a bipartisan bill to replace No Child Left Behind by congratulating themselves on finally taking up legislation that is eight years overdue, and then unanimously passing an amendment to support school libraries. That comity is likely to yield to more vigorous debate in the days ahead, but for the moment, the Senate was filled with kind words and cooperation. [Everyone wants a new education law, but debate will feature disagreements] "This bill actua… Continue Reading


College Too Expensive? That’s a Myth

Pell grants, state aid, modest loans and scholarships put a four-year public institution within the reach of most. Paying for college never is easy, but it's easier than most people think. Yet some politicians and pundits say students can't afford a college education. That's wrong. Most of them can. Public two-year colleges, for example, are free or nearly free for low-income students. Nationally, community college tuition and fees average $3,300 per year, according to the College Board. The a… Continue Reading


Let’s fix No Child Left Behind, end Common Core mandate

Next week the United States Senate will begin debate on a bipartisan agreement to fix No Child Left Behind. I negotiated this bill, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, with the Senate education committee's Ranking Member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. We found a consensus about the urgent need to fix this law as well as a remarkable consensus about how to fix it. That consensus was this: Continue the law's important measurements of academic progress of students but restore to states, school dis… Continue Reading


Yahoo News: Senate, House look to update Bush-era education law

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress is making another run at rewriting the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law, even as the White House urges changes that the administration says would ensure that schools be held accountable when their students are seriously lagging their peers in other better-performing elementary and middle schools. The Senate opened debate Tuesday on an update to the 2002 law, with the bill's main sponsor, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., calling it "the most effective path tow… Continue Reading


USA Today: Senate poised to take up education bill

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate, for the first time in 14 years, will debate an all-new federal education policy this week. The bipartisan proposal would do away with the No Child Left Behind law and reduce - but not end - the federal government's role in public elementary and secondary education. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., hope to preserve their compromise that won unanimous approval in April in the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee, where … Continue Reading

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