On Thursday, President Obama is expected to sign the Every Student Succeeds Act, the No Child Left Behind Act overhaul that will give states greater decision-making power over education. The bill just passed the Senate, 85-12, a week after passing the House of Representatives, 359-64.
The Every Student Succeeds Act will require testing of reading and math for all students in grades 3 through 8, plus once in high school. However, unlike the controversial No Child Left Behind Act, the power to improve schools will be left to state and local officials. The bill also requires states to identify and intervene in the bottom 5 percent of performers.
"This forward-looking replacement for a broken law would open new opportunities for our kids and put education back in the hands of those who understand their needs best: parents, teachers, states, and school boards," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to CNN.
Both Democrats and Republicans heavily criticized the No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2001, for giving Washington too much control in education policies. The flaws of No Child Left Behind include excessive testing, a one-size-fits-all approach and unfair sanctions to schools that don't meet realistic standards.
"It wasn't long after the law was passed that we realized it was full of flaws," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said to CNN.
The Every Student Succeeds Act, which will replace No Child Left Behind, will feature mandatory "college-and-career ready" standards, but the states will control their own standards and assessments.
At a time when it seems like elected officials in Washington can't work together, this bipartisan compromise is incredibly refreshing.