In 2001, Congress passed a major overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which was known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). As the changes and reforms included in the Act have been implemented over the past several years, we’ve had an opportunity to see which ones have worked and which ones haven’t. It is important that we reevaluate those parts of the Act that have caused undue hardship on students and educators.
In 2015, Congress passed the conference report to reauthorize the ESEA and the President signed the bill into law. The Every Student Succeeds Act passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 359-64 and the Senate by a vote of 85-12. Passing a final version of ESEA reauthorization is a victory for education in our country. This bill represents positive reforms to the education system, returns important decisions back to states and localities, and empowers the most integral people in the education system - educators, parents, and of course students. It makes improvements based on what we learned from NCLB and will no longer allow the president to unilaterally impose his agenda through conditional waivers. Specifically, the Every Student Succeeds Act reduces the federal role in education by removing ineffective policies such as the adequately yearly progress federal criteria, and returns accountability responsibilities back to the states. The bill also reauthorizes Impact Aid, a program on which rural counties and schools in Idaho depend.
As future decisions impacting education come before me in the House of Representatives, I will continue working with teachers, administrators, and state and local leaders – as well as the U.S. Department of Education and my colleagues in Congress – to make sure important policy decisions positively impact students in Idaho.