Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Senators Split on NCLB Revisions ; Senators: Bill Supported by 3 Kansas Reps

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Senators Split on NCLB Revisions ; Senators: Bill Supported by 3 Kansas Reps

Article excerpt

Kansas' two U.S. senators were split Thursday on whether legislation to revise the No Child Left Behind education law went far enough in curtailing the federal government's control over education standards.

On Thursday, the Senate approved by a vote of 81-17 legislation to return some power over education to state and local governments. Sen. Pat Roberts voted in favor of the Every Child Achieves Act, but Sen. Jerry Moran voted against it. Both senators are Republicans.

On July 8, the House passed its own version of the No Child Left Behind revision, setting the stage for a clash as the two chambers try to hammer out an agreement in a conference committee.

Virtually everyone in Congress agrees that revisions are needed to the 2001 education law, which is deeply disliked by many educators and administrators who feel it places too much importance on standardized testing. However, differences exist between Democrats and Republicans, senators and representatives over how the law should be changed.

The House legislation is far more expansive, eliminating funding set aside for school improvements and replacing federal education programs with block grants, allowing states to further mold their own education policies.

While the Senate bill does eliminate some programs, it also adds some early childhood programs and maintains school improvement funding. The Senate bill also keeps caps in place that keep states and local governments from further cutting education, while the House bill would remove such caps.

The 17 senators who voted against the Every Child Achieves Act includes some of the chamber's most liberal members -- such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey -- along with conservatives such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Moran.

"The Every Child Achieves Act does not go far enough in reducing the counterproductive federal mandates currently dictating K-12 education," Moran said in a statement. "Washington bureaucrats will still have a substantial say in curriculum development, school testing and assessment decisions -- functions best handled by states and local school districts. …

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