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Senate Committee Resumes Markup to Overhaul No Child Left Behind

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October 20, 2011 01:00 pm

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On October 20 at 8:00 am, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee resumed its markup to consider legislation to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as No Child Left Behind. Watch the markup live. Individuals live-tweeting the markup including @PoliticsK12 and @edfunding.

At the beginning of the hearing, which began on October 19, HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) (on right in image) made his opening statement. “The bill doesn’t include all of my personal priorities,” Harkin said. “But I refuse to allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. Sen. Enzi and I have produced a bill that takes important steps to advance student success, and I look forward to working with our colleagues in the same spirit of good-faith compromise at today’s markup.” Read Harkin’s complete statement.

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) (on left in image), the top-ranking Republican on the HELP Committee, delivered his opening statement following Harkin. “Neither of us can say this is a perfect document,” Enzi said. “But, with nearly every successful piece of bipartisan legislation, we need to find those areas with which we agree and go forward trying to find solutions where resolution is not as obvious. Finding bipartisan solutions is essential to passing legislation.” Read Enzi’s complete statement.

In advance of the markup, Alliance President Bob Wise said the draft legislation is “especially important” for the nation’s high schools, which he said had been “overlooked” by federal education policy for far too long. Specifically, Wise noted the legislation would concentrate improvement efforts on high schools with graduation rates below 60 percent, establish a common, accurate calculation of graduation rates, and support comprehensive efforts by states to strengthen the literacy skills of all students, including young people in high school.

At the same time, however, Wise said policymakers should amend the legislation so it would hold all schools–not just the bottom 5 percent–accountable for student success. “Nearly 200,000 students of color drop out of high schools with estimated graduation rates above 60 percent,” Wise said. “Federal law should help to ensure that these students have the opportunity to attend high-quality schools as well.”

Read Wise’s complete statement or download the HELP Committee’s section-by-section analysis of the draft legislation. Additionally, several people are live-tweeting the markup on Twitter, including @PoliticsK12, @EducationSector, @edfunding, and @IrisBondGill.

11:40 AM THURSDAY UPDATE: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has issued a formal objection to the markup because the rules of the Senate forbid a Senate committee (other than the Appropriations and Budget Committees) from meeting after the first two hours that the Senate starts its session unless it gets consent from the full Senate. The Senate met today at 9:30 am and Paul made his objection at 11:30 am. As a result, Chairman Harkin has had to adjourn the markup until later today or 8:00 am Thursday morning. Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog has more details on Paul’s objection.

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