In a 359 to 64 vote on Wednesday, the U.S. House passed “a bipartisan K-12 education bill” that would replace No Child Left Behind and “significantly shift authority over the nation’s 100,000 public schools from the federal government to states and local school districts.” The Washington Post wrote that while the Senate still needs to approve the measure, “the House vote was seen as the higher hurdle because of resistance from some conservative Republicans, who said the bill did not reduce the federal role enough.” All of the “no” votes came from GOP lawmakers. The Post quotes Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying, “We are encouraged that the bill passed by the House today would codify the vision that we have long advocated for giving a fair shot at a great education to every child in America – regardless of zip code. The bill that the House passed today reflects more of that vision than nearly any observer expected.”
The final text of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which would reauthorize ESEA, was released Monday. The Washington Post reports that the bill, described as a “true compromise,” would “largely shift authority from the federal government to states and districts,” as states will be able to set their own academic goals, design their own systems for judging schools and what should be done for schools that struggle. The bill “attempts to thread the needle between conservatives” who want smaller federal control in education and civil rights groups “who worry that some states…will obfuscate or ignore the poor performance of schools serving low-income and minority students.” The legislation won endorsements on Monday from the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National PTA and the National Governors Association, along with the nation’s two largest teachers unions. The House is “widely expected” to vote on the bill “as early as Thursday.”
The Chicago Sun Times reports the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) will vote whether to strike on December 9. Several weeks ago, 97% of union members said they would authorize a strike if necessary. CTU President Karen Lewis said, “We must show the city, the mayor’s handpicked Board of Education and even our students and parents that Chicago’s public school educators will stand up for what is just and fair, and together we will fight to protect our professions and our classrooms.” The CTU’s last contract expired June 30 and Chicago Public Schools is still struggling to resolve a $480 million budget deficit.