Dear Commons Community,
The first salvos have been launched in the upcoming war between the White House and the U.S. Congress on the rewrite of No Child Left Behind. The White House over the weekend pushed back against House Republicans who want to limit the federal government’s role in education.
President Obama said a GOP House education bill would be a “huge step backward” and “virtually eliminate accountability” in making sure federal education money helps impoverished communities…After an economic crisis that hit school budgets and educators hard, we cannot just cut our way to better schools and more opportunity,…”
Last week, Republicans on the House Education Committee pushed through a bill that would leave it to states to decide how to improve failing schools and would replace several federal programs with a single, flexible local grant program. The legislation was considered an update to the bipartisan No Child Left Behind law signed in 2002 by President George W. Bush.
The White House counters that the legislation would enable states to divert federal education dollars to unrelated projects like prisons and sports stadiums. As reported in The Huffington Post:
“In a conference call with journalists, a senior White House adviser stopped short of saying President Barack Obama would veto the bill. Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said the administration is hopeful the Senate will draft an acceptable bill that has bipartisan support.
As with any legislation, the devil will be in the details but President Obama will have difficulty securing support from traditional Democratic Party loyalists such as the NEA and the AFT. Duriing Obama’s tenure, teachers and school administrators have been besieged by one U.S Department of Education mandate after another and would welcome a change away from federal policy that emphasizes assessment, testing, and teacher evaluation.