NSTA Legislative Update: Senate Passes Legislation to Overhaul No Child Left Behind

Fourteen years after it was first signed into law and seven years after it expired, the U.S. Senate passed legislation on Thursday, July 16 to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act–commonly known as No Child Left Behind–by a vote of 81 to 17.

The Every Child Achieves Act, the bipartisan agreement by Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), contains a significant program for STEM education and retains the requirement that states continue testing in math and science. Overall the bill reduces the role of the federal government and gives states the flexibility not found under No Child Left Behind.

On July 8, the House of Representatives passed the largely partisan Student Success Act (H.R. 5)‚Äč their bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Next up is work on the final House-Senate conference agreement, as education leaders work to find a compromise between many of the differing issues/ policies (greater accountability, students opting out of testing, Title I portability) in the two bills and produce a final bill acceptable to their respective caucuses and to the White House. Chairman Alexander is quoted as saying he would like to get a bill to the president this fall.

STEM advocates are gearing up now to ensure that the final bill will retain the Senate’s strong STEM focus. Watch for upcoming issues of NSTA Express and special NSTA Legislative Alerts to find out how you can help ensure STEM education remains a priority in the final federal education law.

  • Read the Education Week blog on passage of Every Child Achieves Act.
  • Read the Senate press release on passage of the bill.
  • Read the AP article on the bill.

Jodi Peterson is Assistant Executive Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Chair of the STEM Education Coalition. e-mail Jodi at jpeterson@nsta.org; follow her on Twitter at @stemedadvocate.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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5 Responses to NSTA Legislative Update: Senate Passes Legislation to Overhaul No Child Left Behind

  1. Jennifer says:

    Why? Every single piece of legislation they come up with fails. Children are not products and no matter what cookie cutter program they come up with it will fail. The real problem is the educational lobby forcing these horrible, cumbersome, expensive, One-size-fits-all programs into our schools. Why not just face the fact that children are all different and have different needs. STEM is fine, but not all kids are into academics. I teach upper level and get focused kids, but I have also taught the opposite end of the spectrum and they find basics and hands on activities fun but peter out at more advanced topics. I don’t have a problem with that and don’t think college level details are necessary for these students.
    I just wish we would stop legislating education as it obviously isn’t working.

  2. trish says:

    I completely agree, stop legislating education!

  3. Mitch says:

    I agree with the fact that we are implementing education in an incorrect manner, but there must be legislation on a basic set of goals. Beyond those basics, we need to taylor the process to meet the needs of the children. “one size fits all” is not the way to go. Someone comes up with all of these wonderful ways to teach, but not all of them will produce the same reaction from all children. On the other hand, the government must make sure there are jobs available for those that are not going to be physisist. There are only so many positions at Mc Donalds.

  4. Rod Smith says:

    Invariably legislation has little effect on good schools but DOES push poor schools to improve… Otherwise the rich get richer and the poor…

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