Most Oklahoma House members support education bill
WASHINGTON _ Four of the five U.S. House members from Oklahoma voted for the education bill meant to replace the much-criticized No Child Left Behind Act.
The Every Student Succeeds Act passed the House on Wednesday night by a vote of 359-64.
Reps. Tom Cole, R-Moore; Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne; Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville; and Steve Russell, R-Choctaw voted for it. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, voted against.
The bill is expected to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president this month.
Cole said, "While well-intentioned at the time of its passage, No Child Left Behind has clearly led to a decline in learning and academic readiness.
"I am encouraged by the action taken to correct flaws that have led to gaps in student achievement. By limiting the federal government’s excessive role in education, returning greater control to states, keeping local educational leaders involved in the system and helping parents choose the best place for their children to learn, I believe we can ensure every student in America is set up to succeed."
Bridenstine voted for the original House bill because he thought it moved federal education policy in the right direction. But he said the final version written by House and Senate negotiators "missed the opportunity to return control of our children’s education to where it belongs: states, local school districts, and ultimately, parents.”
He said the bill maintains federal testing and still requires states to intervene in schools underperforming by federal metrics.
The White House praised the bill, saying it:
_ Ensures accountability "by guaranteeing that when students fall behind, states redirect resources into what works to help them and their schools improve, with a particular focus on the very lowest-performing schools, high schools with high dropout rates, and schools with achievement gaps."
_ Reduces "the often onerous burden of testing on students and teachers, making sure that tests don’t crowd out teaching and learning, without sacrificing clear, annual information parents and educators need to make sure our children are learning."
_ Provides more children access to "high-quality preschool."
The National Governors Association issued a statement saying "Governors congratulate the House for passing ESSA with broad bipartisan support. This marks an historic moment in ensuring children’s future success in the nation’s schools. We now call on the Senate to follow suit and swiftly pass this piece of landmark legislation.”