Stark Partisan Split Persists on ESEA Renewal
Precollegiate education legislation used to unite Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill—perhaps most prominently when Congress approved the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 by overwhelming bipartisan margins.
But it became clear that those days are over, at least for awhile, last month when the U.S. House of Representatives passed its GOP-authored reauthorization of the long-stalled Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the current iteration of the NCLB law. Not a single Democrat voted in favor of the measure, which was approved July 19 on a 221-207 vote.
The bill’s partisan roots are likely to complicate its path forward in the Democratically controlled U.S. Senate, where the education committee approved its own, very different, version of an ESEA rewrite back in June. What’s more, the Obama administration has threatened to veto the House GOP legislation, arguing that it would shortchange the poor and minority students the federal law was crafted to protect. That combination of factors makes it highly unlikely that the ESEA, which was supposed to be renewed in 2007, will be reauthorized before the...
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