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Cole Votes to Replace No Child Left Behind

December 3, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Every Student Succeeds Act or ESEA Conference Report. The bill addresses and repeals the shortfalls of No Child Left Behind, which was signed into law in 2002 and greatly increased the federal government’s role in K-12 education across the country.  

The legislation passed this week seeks to scale back the federal government’s role in K-12 education by limiting the authority of the Secretary of Education, eliminating the federal accountability system and other unsuccessful programs, reducing unnecessary testing and prohibiting a federal mandate requiring states to follow Common Core. Instead, the bill allows states and local education leaders to develop criteria and maintain responsibility for measuring the success of students and schools, addressing failures and filling learning gaps. The legislation makes information available to parents about school performance and charter and magnet school programs, so they can have a more active role in selecting the best education for their children. It also protects private and home schools from needless federal intervention. 

“I am very proud of this bipartisan, bicameral legislation that fixes glaring nationwide problems in our education system that have prevented many students from making the grade,” said Cole. “Without question, education is one of the most important building blocks for success, and access to quality learning directly impacts development and potential. 

“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.

“Certainly, this bill is a major achievement eight years coming and eight years overdue. And I am particularly pleased that it was shepherded by the strong, relentless leadership of my close friend, Education and Workforce Chairman John Kline,” concluded Cole.  

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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