- The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted 85-12 in favor of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
- The bill, a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that will replace the Bush-era No Child Left Behind, is now expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, having cleared what was seen as its last hurdle in the House of Representatives last week.
- The Every Student Succeeds Act marks a major compromise between Democrats and Republicans, largely scaling back federal involvement in education and giving states more control over testing and accountability.
Despite the increased state control, some aspects of the much-maligned No Child Left Behind will remain in place — namely required annual standardized reading and math exams for grades 3-8. Under the new law, the U.S. Department of Education won't, for example, be able to encourage the adoption of uniform standards like Common Core. That move is seen as a response to the Obama administration's tying of those standards and measures like test-based teacher evaluations to funding programs like Race to the Top or waivers from NCLB's most stringent requirements. Those decisions now rest squarely in the hands of state ed chiefs, who are said to be largely welcoming increased control.
Another aspect that hasn't received as much attention is the bill's increased support for preschool programs, heartening advocates of early childhood learning who have touted its ability to save states money by preventing many children from later being moved to special education programs.
The Every Student Succeeds Act may be signed into law as early as this week.