For the past year, two Republicans, John Kline in the House and Lamar Alexander in the Senate have worked to author The Every Student Succeeds Act, a bill meant to replace the failed No Child Left Behind.
The Department of Education will have its role significantly restricted to one focused on providing transparency, rather than active oversight and control. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who is stepping down this month, will leave his office far weaker than he was when taking over back in 2009, a rare development for any cabinet secretary, and especially one serving under a Democratic president.
It is certain that the powers that be in the Department of Education are not happy with this legislation, but there are also a few others who are not pleased either. Even the strongest backers of the bill say that it is not a perfect solution, it is however a “product of genuine compromise between the two parties”.
Not all conservatives are happy, though. The Heritage Foundation blasted the bill for maintaining federal requirements that students in grades 3-8 be tested in math and reading. Obama strongly suggested he will veto any bill that eliminated testing requirements, which civil rights groups say are critical for maintaining accountability. Since ESSA gives states more freedom to decide how important the tests are in evaluating schools and teachers, though, the new bill may reduce the degree to which teachers “teach to the test,” which has been a common criticism of NCLB.
Heritage is also dissatisfied because it does not do more to reduce programs or slash federal spending.
It has complained that the bill codifies an existing federal program intended to help states coordinate new preschool programs with preexisting ones such as Head Start. Heritage attacked this preschool funding as the creation of an entirely new $250 million program, although it actually did exist beforehand.
Source: The Libertarian Republic