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Harkin Statement on President’s Announcement of NCLB Waivers

WASHINGTON – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today released the following statement responding to President Obama’s announcement that ten states have been granted waivers from some requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.  Last fall, the HELP Committee approved a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that will set high expectations for all children to graduate from high school ready for college and careers and fix the “one size fits all approach” created by NCLB, the law’s most recent iteration.

“Pieces of the No Child Left Behind law have become an impediment to improving our schools and preparing our students for success, and it needs to be updated.  That is why I worked with my HELP Committee colleagues to pass a bipartisan bill that would eliminate the ineffective 'one size fits all' approach created by NCLB and re-focus federal education policy on supporting teaching and learning.

“Despite our Committee’s bipartisan success, House Republicans seem committed to pushing forward partisan legislation that will move our schools backwards rather than help them and their students meet the challenges of the 21st Century.  In the face of the House Republicans’ refusal to work across the aisle, President Obama has shown great leadership in taking this step to relieve some states from some of the most burdensome requirements of NCLB while ensuring that those states commit to a modernized accountability system that maintains a focus on student success."