Houses Passes Final Bill to Overhaul K-12 Education, Bill Heads to Senate

Includes Bennet-Authored Provisions Secured during Committee, Floor Debate, Conference

Washington, DC - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet applauded House passage of a compromise bill to fix No Child Left Behind. Bennet is a member of the Senate's education committee and the conference committee that negotiated the final bill. The final language includes a number of provisions he secured during the initial drafting, the committee process, the Senate's debate, and the conference committee's final negotiations. The Senate is expected to vote next week to send the bill to the president's desk to be signed into law.

"Today's vote in the House brings us one step closer to ending No Child Left Behind's top-down, one-size-fits-all approach and re-empowering those closest to our kids to make decisions about their education," Bennet said. "This bill represents meaningful progress to help our students, our teachers, and schools across Colorado. Passing this bill has been a long time coming, and it's encouraging we've been able to do it with overwhelming bipartisan support."

As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Bennet played a significant role in writing the Senate-passed bill. The final bill includes a number of provisions he secured based on input from Colorado, including:

State-Driven Accountability Systems: Reducing the prescriptive, top-down approach of No Child Left Behind; re-empowering states to design accountability systems that maintain statewide annual testing requirements and break down data to identify achievement gaps; ensuring English learners are included in state accountability systems; and requiring states to at least identify the bottom five percent of low-performing schools and make necessary changes to improve achievement at these schools

Improving Equity and Addressing Inequalities: Including provisions to promote equity, address inequities and help ensure high-need schools can attract and retain great teachers and leaders by improving their support systems; including a new reporting requirement to increase transparency on the resources schools receive and to identify inequities in funding; providing flexibility to spend federal funding on early childhood education; and provisions encouraging teacher leadership, residency programs, and improvements to district human capital systems

Encouraging Innovation to Meet Challenges in Schools: Securing incentives for educators on the ground to apply their own creative thinking to address our most persistent education challenges; including funding for innovative practices to improve student achievement; revamping the Charter School Program; and allowing pay-for-success initiatives

Supporting Rural Schools: Securing a package of provisions to better support schools in rural communities; providing technical assistance to rural school districts when applying for competitive federal grants; and clarifying that rural school districts or education service agencies, like a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), can join together and submit a single consolidated application for funding under ESEA

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