No Child Left Behind replacement laws have passed through the House of Representatives Friday. Voting along party lines, Republicans successfully pushed the bill through.
The bill now faces approval from the Senate. Filled by Democrats who oppose the bill, the Senate may not pass the new laws. President Obama has said that if the bill reaches his desk he will veto it. He called it a “significant step backward” for US education on Wednesday.
Named the Student Success Act, the new bill drastically overhauls the 12-year-old system put in place under President Bush, reports CNN.
That system, No Child Left Behind, was a major change to the US school system when it was passed in 2002. It was the first attempt to enforce federal standards on public schools receiving federal funds.
In the years since, No Child Left Behind has come under fire from both sides of the aisle. Some Republicans have said that it is big government imposing unnecessary rules on states and local school districts. Democrats have said that the bill hurts failing schools by punishing them, creating more problems.
The new bill, the Student Success Act, changes how schools and teachers are held accountable. Instead of the strict federal monitoring, states and schools will have more freedom to decide how to measure their own success. Failing schools will no longer face federal intervention, either.
It also changes how federal funding is used in public schools. Instead of federal money going into a program, the funds would be put into block grants sent to states. The funds overall, however, would be expected to be decreased.
The new bill’s author, Representative John Kline, Republican from Minnesota, says the bill is a “monumental step forward” for improving the struggling US school system. He argues that it will allow states and schools to find their own ways to progress forward, Huffington Post reports.
Democrats have wanted to draft a bill to replace No Child Left Behind, and it would look likely differ from the recent House bill. Some have said they would like to allow states to hold themselves accountable, but only with federal approval.
Since failing to renew No Child Left Behind in Congress in 2007, 39 states have opted out of various provisions of the outdated education bill.