Newspaper article

With House Passage of Conference Report, Replacement of No Child Left Behind Is All but Assured

Newspaper article

With House Passage of Conference Report, Replacement of No Child Left Behind Is All but Assured

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Rep. John Kline may now be able to retire from Congress a happy man.

On Wednesday night, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly -- by a margin of 359 to 64 -- to approve the Every Student Succeeds Act, the final version of a comprehensive reform of No Child Left Behind, the controversial law that has served as the foundation for federal K-12 education policy since 2002.

The vote was technically an approval of a conference report, the agreement worked out between House and Senate lawmakers to reconcile differences between the two versions of the law that each had passed this summer. But the bill has essentially cleared its last major hurdle: it now heads to the Senate, where it is virtually guaranteed to advance. It would then arrive at the White House, where officials have said the president is eager to sign it into law.

Kline, the chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, has been a key player in the process. He authored the initial House version of the legislation, and also chaired the conference committee that resolved the two chambers' differences, which were not insubstantial.

In a statement, Kline hailed the House's vote, saying "We have a strong bipartisan solution that will replace a flawed law, improve K- 12 education, and make a difference in the lives of children across the country... No Child Left Behind was based on good intentions, but it was also based on the flawed premise that Washington knows best what students need to excel in school."

"This is not a perfect solution," Kline said. "There never is."

A long road

By late summer, the prospect of this Congress passing a new education law, even with so much work done, was dismal. Concerns centered around whether House conservatives would support a compromise bill more in line with the more moderate Senate bill, which received much more Democratic support than Kline's bill. …

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