Led by Republicans, the U.S. House revised key components of the No Child Left Behind Act to remove federal interference at the state and local levels of public education.
Among the modifications: The House bill would give states and local school districts more control over the evaluation of schools, teachers and students; it would ban the federal government from imposing academic standards; and it will allow portability, which authorizes federal dollars to be distributed to low-income children who choose which public school to attend.
Under current law, federal money for education is kept within the targeted school district and students are largely obligated to attend schools within the district of which they live.
House Speaker John Boehner praised the bill.
“[It] delivers much-needed education reform by replacing top-down mandates with conservative reforms that empower the parents, teachers and administrators at the heart of our education system,” he said.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan was critical of the revision.
“The bill fails to help struggling schools and the children they teach,” he said in a statement. “House Republicans have chosen to take a bad bill and make it even worse,” Duncan continued. “Instead of supporting the schools and educators that need it most, this bill shifts resources away from them.”
As the House bill passed by a tissue-thin difference, 218-213, with no Democratic support, the Senate cast aside a GOP-sponsored attempt to turn federal aid to low-income students into block grants to states and allow parents to determine which school, public or private, they find is best for their child.
Fearing the wrath of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), legislators caved.
The education unions are not interested in saving schools or students. The NEA, AFT and its members are intent on safeguarding the princely, often bloated, public pensions which they are guaranteed at the end of their careers at the cost to the taxpayers they purport to serve.
Although good news in the House was tempered by a loss in the Senate, allowing the marauding arms of the NEA and AFT, unelected bureaucrats, to consolidate their grip on the micromanagement of the education of the youth will facilitate goals not to be aspired to, but suffered.[Associated Press]