POLITICS MAKES FOR strange bedfellows, but Senate Republicans doing the bidding of teachers’ unions is particularly unexpected. That, though, is what happened when an important provision on teacher evaluations was knocked out of a proposed rewrite of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Given that the legislation had already abandoned meaningful student achievement targets, the latest change renders the bill a non-starter.
The Senate’s education committee is set to begin work Wednesday on a proposed reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known in its latest incarnation as No Child Left Behind. Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who chairs the committee, released last week an 865-page bill that in its latest iteration is supported by Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) No Child Left Behind needs an overhaul, and this attempt has commendable aspects, including a requirement that states set college- and career-readiness standards, the retention of reform initiatives such as Race to the Top and Promise Neighborhoods, and a federal focus on worst-performing schools.