Bennet Statement on Bipartisan Committee Passage of Bill to Fix NCLB

Bennet Provisions Would Support Teachers and Principals, Drive Innovation and Help Ensure Kids Receive a 21st Century Education

Washington – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today applauded the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s bipartisan approval of a bill to fix No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The measure passed by a vote of 15 to 7.

“We have a vital national interest in the education of our kids; the future of this democracy and our ability to compete in the 21st century depend on it,” said Bennet. “We’re not going to fix public education from Washington, but we can help drive reform at the local level that will give every child a chance at a quality education. 

“In a Washington, where getting something done is rare, bipartisan passage out of committee is a tremendous step,” Bennet continued. “I hope this bill can continue to serve as a building block for a final passage that will roll back No Child Left Behind.” 

Bennet, a former school superintendent, was able to include several provisions in the bill to support teachers and principals, drive innovation and ensure more equitable resources regardless of a child’s school’s neighborhood.

The bipartisan bill approved tonight builds on areas of improvement in NCLB, while fixing longstanding problems that have stood in the way of progress. It continues to collect and disaggregate data and ensures there is still a focus on closing achievement gaps. The bill also moves toward establishing college- and career-ready standards in states, while targeting the federal role on the lowest-performing schools.

Bennet was able to secure a number of provisions in the original bill that established a competitive grant program for high-performing teacher preparation programs, improve opportunities for innovation in rural school districts, provide more flexibility at the local level, and ensure equality in education funding.

As part of the HELP Committee markup, Bennet was able to secure key changes to the bill, including language based on his Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies (GREAT) Teachers and Principals Act. He was also able to include language to establish a national task force charged with examining federal, state and local regulations as well as testing and assessment systems governing public schools.