On July 19, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 5, the “Student Success Act,” which passed by a largely partisan vote of 221–207. The legislation seeks to drastically reduce the “federal footprint” for education policy, striking down many key provisions of No Child Left Behind and also eliminating several signature education programs introduced by the Obama administration. The vote followed two days of debate.
Sponsored by Representative John Kline (R-Minnesota) the new law would give states and school districts more control as to how they hold schools accountable for the progress of students.
Amendments adopted during debate on Thursday included one that eliminates the requirement that states evaluate teachers based on student outcomes; under the amendment these evaluations would now be optional. The legislation also prevents the Department of Education from adopting the Common Core State Standards, eliminates Maintenance of Effort spending requirements for states in order to receive federal funding, adjusts Title I funding allocation requirements; effectively allowing states and LEAs to allocate funding to any schools with students below the poverty level regardless of the number or concentration of children in poverty.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013. That bill is expected to reach the Senate floor for an early fall vote.