House Education Committee Chairman John Kline introduced a bill Thursday that would gut the decade-old No Child Left Behind law, returning power to the states to craft their own curriculums without strings attached to qualify for federal school funds.
The move would eliminate some 70 programs, including the Common Core curriculum and national test performance requirements that were in place help boost outcomes for minorities and underprivileged students, The New York Times reported.
Kline, a Minnesota Republican, said his legislation is designed to reduce "the federal footprint" on education.
In a conference call with reporters, he said he objected to the federal government "virtually coercing states" to follow a federally-mandated curriculum with math and reading proficiency standards as a condition of qualifying for grants. States should have "an enormous amount of latitude" to decide test content and score-based school ratings, he added.
Nevertheless, Kline's bill would continue to require states to administer standardized tests in reading and math from the third through the eighth grades, and would add three science tests between third grade and high school. Schools also still would be forced to break down test results by race and class.
The measure faces opposition from California Rep. George Miller, the ranking Democrat on the committee. He said Kline's bill "turns the clock back decades on student achievement, equity and accountability in American education."
"Our children, teachers and schools deserve more than ideology when it comes to fixing our nation's education law," he added.
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