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ICYMI: With Bipartisan Support, Law on Expansion of Charter Schools Passes the House




The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday approved the Education and the Workforce Committee’s first piece of education reform legislation. The Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218) passed with strong bipartisan support in a vote of 365 to 54.

Upon passage, House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said, “Approving the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act is an important first step in our efforts to improve current elementary and secondary education law, and it signals our shared commitment to the reform process. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take up this legislation quickly to provide more students access to the unique education opportunities offered by high-quality charter schools.”

Today’s New York Times highlights House passage of H.R. 2218, and also offers a summary of House Republicans’ progress in advancing a series of targeted legislation to reform current elementary and secondary education law this year:

Congress has tried unsuccessfully several times in recent years to update No Child Left Behind, and the Obama administration has urged Congress repeatedly to act this year, threatening that it will give states waivers from the law’s most onerous requirements if it is not rewritten. But no bill representing a full rewrite has been introduced yet in either the Senate or the House. Many experts believe that with Congress deeply divided along partisan lines, reaching consensus on a thorough overhaul is out of the question.

Mr. Kline has instead promised to move several bills by year’s end, each updating provisions of the law about which he thinks that bipartisan agreement may be possible. The charter bill was the first he has managed to bring to a House vote.

This year, Mr. Kline moved two other bills out of his committee. One strips several dozen federal educational programs from No Child Left Behind, and another would allow school districts new flexibility in how they spend the federal dollars the law provides. Those await House debate.

In addition, Mr. Kline has described a bill outlining new federal requirements on teacher effectiveness, and another that would rewrite the law’s current school accountability provisions, and said he might introduce them this fall too.

The article also notes:

In the Senate, the Democratic leadership is working to rewrite the law with a single comprehensive bill, but has yet to release legislative language.

To read the full article, click here.