Kline, chair of the U.S. House education committee, opposes No Child Left Behind waiver

/ 9 February 2012 / jennifer

Corey Mitchell, Star Tribune, February 9, 2012 –

President Barack Obama’s decision to free Minnesota and nine other states from the strict and sweeping requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, isn’t good news for U.S. Rep. John Kline, chair of the U.S. House education committee.

“As you know, I have significant concerns about the administration’s waivers plan. Simply put, this plan does not constitute the long-term reform families, schools, and students need,” Kline said in November.

“It’s a temporary band-aid on a problem that must be resolved through legislation – not executive fiat. Right now, states facing budget strains are dedicating limited resources to meet new requirements dictated by the Secretary of Education that could easily be changed by Congress of the next administration.”

The announcement may also steal the spotlight from Kline, who formally introduced draft bills today designed to reform the decade-old law during a morning meeting with members and guests of the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think thank.

Kline’s bills, the Student Success Act and Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act, would significantly reduce the federal footprint in education reform. The legislation would cut or consolidate dozens of education programs, give districts greater flexibility in how they use federal funds and drop some federal requirements for teacher qualifications.

The waivers, to be announced this afternoon, will give leeway to states that promise to improve how they prepare and evaluate students.

In September, Kline said: “I simply cannot support a process that grants the Secretary of Education sweeping authority to handpick winners and losers. This sets a dangerous precedent, and every single American should be extremely wary. Make no mistake – this is a political move that could have a damaging impact on congressional efforts to enact lasting reforms to current elementary and secondary education law.”

Kline was still speaking before the American Enterprise Institute this morning and not immediately available for comment.