Bennet Statement on Relief from No Child Left Behind

Washington, DC – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today released the following statement on the outline of increased flexibility and regulatory relief for states from certain No Child Left Behind (NCLB) regulations and requirements.

“As a former Superintendent, I have been on the receiving end of No Child Left Behind, and I know that well-intentioned ideas from Washington often do not make sense once they reach the classroom. I have heard from parents and educators across Colorado who want relief from onerous elements of No Child Left Behind that cripple the efforts of our teachers to make the best decisions for students.

“Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Enzi are working hard to produce a bipartisan bill to improve our schools through reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and they have my full support and commitment in that effort. But states and districts across the country need relief and flexibility now.

“Right now, children living in poverty face a 9 in 100 chance of graduating from a four-year college – a clear sign that our public school system is failing too many students. These children and their parents aren’t concerned with where a fix comes from; they just want the problem solved. And we can’t afford to wait.

“By acting to cut red tape, the President is removing bureaucratic barriers to innovation and reform that are taking away from the quality of kids’ education. I am glad to see that rural schools will get some additional flexibility, and I will continue to work to ensure all their unique needs are met.”

In August, Bennet urged the Department of Education to provide additional flexibility for rural schools to meet their unique challenges and needs as part of the flexibility package. In September, Bennet joined Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) to encourage Education Secretary Arne Duncan to use the moderate Democratic education principles to inform his efforts to provide flexibility to states and school districts.

Bennet is part of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s negotiating team crafting reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.