Harkin's Bill Would Overhaul No Child Left Behind

Marion Herbert's picture
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A senior Senate Democrat released a draft of a sprawling revision of the No Child Left Behind education law that would dismantle the provisions of the law that used standardized test scores in reading and math to label tens of thousands of public schools as failing.

The 865-page bill, filed by Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who heads the Senate education committee, became the first comprehensive piece of legislation overhauling the law to reach either Congressional chamber since President George W. Bush signed it in 2002.

Mr. Harkin made his draft bill public 18 days after President Obama announced that he would use executive authority to waive the most onerous provisions of the law, because he had all but given up hope that Congress could fix the law’s flaws any time soon.

Like Mr. Obama’s waiver proposal, the Harkin bill would return to states some powers taken over by Washington under the Bush-era law, including the leeway to devise their own systems for holding schools accountable for student progress.

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