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Kline introduces bill to overhaul No Child Left Behind Act

Posted by: Corey Mitchell under 2nd District, Minnesota congressional Updated: June 6, 2013 - 5:17 PM

Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline has introduced his party's latest plan to overhaul the federal No Child Left Behind Act -- and much like a series of bills that Kline introduced last year, the legislation seeks to reduce the federal government's footprint in K-12 education.

Kline's Student Success Act would cut or consolidate dozens of education programs, give districts greater flexibility in how they use funds and ease the path to open more charter schools.

First passed in 2001, No Child Left Behind was designed to grant the U.S. Department of Education more authority to hold school districts and states accountable for the academic performance of struggling students.

The law expired in 2007, but has yet to be rewritten, despite frustration from Democrats and Republicans and criticism that the law has done little to improve the education of minority and low-income students.

"We're trying to get at replacing the broken law, the failed system," said Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. "The federal government has gotten too involved into states and [local] school district's business."

Kline's legislation would eviscerate the Obama administration's state waiver program, a tool used by the White House to encourage states to implement the president's preferred education programs. In exchange for their cooperation, they're granted reprieves from some of the law's requirements.

Kline's bill would also repeal grant programs, such as Race to the Top and Promise Neighborhoods, created by the Obama administration.

"We're trying to get at replacing the broken law, the failed system," said Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. "The federal government has gotten too involved into states and [local] school district's business."

The lead Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, U.S. Rep. George Miller of California, criticized Kline's plan, calling it a highly partisan retread of last year's bill.

"I am disappointed that Chairman Kline decided to move forward with last year's rendition of legislation that turns the clock back decades on student achievement, equity and accountability in American public education," Miller said.

Kline expects his committee to take up the legislation June 19 with hopes that it will pass the Republican-led House before Congress' month-long August recess.

The Democratic-led Senate Education Committee introduced their latest proposal Tuesday and it's vastly different than Kline's legislation.

The principal difference is that, unlike their Republican colleagues, Democratic lawmakers have pushed to retain many of the law's originals goals, keeping federal pressure on schools to improve education for minority and low-income students.

"I have a lot of problems with [the] legislation," Kline said. "I'm interested in getting the debate going and actually changing this law."

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