- The Republican-led House education committee has sent a new, revised version of No Child Left Behind to the full chamber, with expectations that the bill will be voted on in late February.
- The proposal, which is similar to a 2013 bill passed by representatives last year, still requires students to take yearly exams. However, it lessens federal control over what happens to schools once the results come back.
- Democrats, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, are opposed to the bill, saying that weakening federal influence will hurt accountability when it comes to what happens to minority students.
Under the bill, states get to decide how to deal with failing schools and federal grants are replaced with more localized funding opportunities. Because the bill will allow public funding to follow students to whatever school they choose, Duncan has called it backwards, saying,"Rather than helping improve the schools that need it most, the Republican bill would actually cut investments in these schools while increasing funds for some of the wealthiest areas in the country."
Speaking of Duncan, the bill prohibits the education secretary from requiring states to change their standards (re: Common Core) or forcing them to make changes through things like NCLB waivers.
Most notable, however, is the funding tied to the bill. According to Washington Post columnist Valerie Strauss, "the funding levels are below the fiscal 2012 pre-sequestration total and would harm efforts to improve student achievement." She has published on her blog letters from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Committee for Education Funding (a coalition of 115 ed groups) detailing how they oppose the authorization levels because they will freeze funding through the 2021-22 school year.