- Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Senate's education committee, is making the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, last rewritten as No Child Left Behind during the Bush administration, his top priority.
- In order to do so, Alexander has teamed up with the committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, to break the partisan divide that has held up a rewrite for seven years.
- In an interview with U.S. News and World Report, Alexander said that he and Murray both wish there were things in the bill that were cut for collaboration reasons, including more early childhood education on the Democratic side and more school choice on the part of Republicans.
No Child Left Behind’s reauthorization has stagnated in Congress since 2007. In response, the U.S. Department of Education developed a system of waivers that prevented schools in the majority of states from being labelled “failing” and facing impacts on accountability and funding. Partisan attempts to reauthorize the law have failed. “We should've reauthorized it. If students were this late on homework, they'd get an 'F,'" Alexander told U.S. News & World Report.
Alexander has also prioritized a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which governs the federal student loan program and provides funding for universities. The act was last reauthorized in 2008.