In recent weeks, Congress has been working hard to revamp the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Following its initial welcome and acclaim, the law fell out of favor with the American public as the federal government’s role became more apparent and individual states had less say over education decisions.
But news out of Washington suggests that things may be changing. As education expert Frederick Hess reports in The Hill:
“The bill takes pains to address concerns from both right and left that, in the Obama-Duncan years, the U.S. Department of Education has increasingly sought to operate like a national school board. The new bill contains unprecedented language restricting the secretary of Education's discretion and eliminating his or her ability to use the law to shape state policy. It ends the invasive and problematic Race to the Top and School Improvement Grant programs. It contains strong language prohibiting federal officials from seeking to influence state academic standards (think of this as the ‘no more federal support for the Common Core’ provision). It puts an end to the federal government telling states how to improve teacher quality or evaluate teachers.”
The new law also eliminates several other components which many have believed to be detrimental, including:
- The requirement that all students be “proficient” by a certain time.
- The requirement of highly qualified teachers.
- The requirement of teacher evaluations.
Although it’s still waiting to be approved by Congress, does the elimination of various regulations and the restoration of some local control promise an improved education system for America’s students?