Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

S. 1177 - Every Student Succeeds Act (or the Bill Formerly Known as No Child Left Behind): YES

December 2, 2015
Vote Notes on Legislation

S. 1177 - Every Student Succeeds Act (or the Bill Formerly Known as No Child Left Behind): YES.  George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” has been a disaster.  Its stated goal was to bring every child to grade-level proficiency by 2014.  Instead, for the first time in 25 years student achievement is declining with just 33 percent of 8th graders proficient in math and 34 percent in reading.  So what to do?  States desperate to escape the bureaucratic nightmare of this act have been required to adhere to the Obama Administration’s one-size-fits-all Common Core curriculum in order to receive waivers. 

This bill SHOULD repeal the whole program and return the money to local schools to administer as they (and the parents) see fit.  It doesn’t.  It sets up several new federal education programs (albeit desirable ones – STEM and Civics), continues failed pre-school programs and locks them in for another four years.

That said, it’s a clear improvement over the Bush NCLB disaster that would otherwise continue in place if this bill is not adopted.  This bill removes the Administration’s ability to extort policy for NCLB relief and forbids federal imposition of Common Core.  It consolidates 49 categorical programs into one more flexible fund.  It reduces overall spending about $16 billion a year (about $130 of savings for an average family).  It requires a more honest accounting of student performance, which is likely to give parents ammunition in demanding local school improvements.  It provides solid protections for home schoolers against federal interference.

In short, a big disappointment from what could and should be – but a huge improvement over current law.