(Editor: www.thereportcard.org The U.S. House of Representatives passed the replacement for No Child Left Behind called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). But Florida Parents Against Common Core and Congressman Ron DeSantis opposed the legislation because not everyone was convinced the ESSA was really a reform bill or a true solution to problems plaguing modern education.
FPACC criticized the ESSA for still leaving a testing mandate which would require 95 percent of students to participate in standardized testing nationwide. In addition, much of Common Core remains in place a sore point with many families).
By Allison Nielsen Sunshine State News
The rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act successfully passed through the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming 359-64 vote on Thursday, but despite its bipartisan support from national lawmakers, not everyone is happy with some of the rewrite’s repercussions.
The rewrite, called the Every Student Succeeds Act, was formally unveiled Monday but it didn’t take long for the House to pass the bill and send it off to the Senate for a vote.
The ESSA aims to limit federal authority over national education and give more power back to state governments. One way the law attempts to do so is by allowing each state to set their own educational goals — under No Child Left Behind, those goals were dictated by the federal government.
Another aspect of the law is a direct jab at the Common Core State Standards, which the federal government pushed on states through financial incentives in 2010. ESSA strictly prohibits the federal government from incentivizing states to adopt education standards.
Thursday’s passage of the ESSA is the first time both Republicans and Democrats have been able to agree on an update to No Child Left Behind, which expired in 2007. All of the opposing votes to the legislation came from Republicans, however.
They weren’t the only ones opposed to the passage of the new law, either — Florida Parents Against Common Core, which joined 200 other parent groups in an online protest against the standards earlier this week, was not happy the bill sailed through the House.
The parent-led group expressed its concerns with several portions of the legislation and its passage, including the fact that the bill was nearly 1,100 pages long — pages which were publicly released just a few days ago.
“Perhaps it is time for our elected officials to attest in writing, prior to voting for a bill, that they have actually read the bill,” wrote FPACC coordinator Luz Gonzalez. “It is deeply disconcerting to realize that our elected officials do not operate with a sense of thoughtful gravity and utmost respect regarding policies that affect over 55 million school children in the United States.”
Only four representatives from Florida voted against the legislation: Reps. Curt Clawson, Ron DeSantis, Jeff Miller and Ted Yoho.
Those who did vote for the bill said they did so to give states and parents more control over education.
“While it is true this country is in need of education reform, real reform is needed, not just more money and more federal programs and crippling regulations,” said Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., in a statement. “What education needs is choice, competition, discipline and an elimination of federal mandates and high-stakes testing. States should be allowed to tailor education systems to the needs of their students and should not have to check in with bureaucrats in Washington before they do what is best for their students.
But not everyone was convinced the ESSA was really a reform bill or a true solution to problems plaguing modern education.
FPACC criticized the ESSA for still leaving a testing mandate which would require 95 percent of students to participate in standardized testing nationwide — a number which could prove problematic for parents hoping to opt their children out of high-stakes assessment tests.
The group also wasn’t a fan of the remaining Common Core State Standards, the national education standards which have become the butt of a great deal of dissatisfaction nationwide.
“All of this…is a significant blow to local control no matter how our elected officials want to spin their agreeance to the bill,” said FPACC’s Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said states needed to fight back against too much federal involvement in their state education policies.
“Now, more than ever, individual states must assert their significant but underutilized authority to reject continued federal intrusion in what should be local education policy.”
The U.S. Senate will vote on the ESSA next week. If the bill passes, it will then be sent to President Barack Obama for approval.