Murkowski: Today We Get One Step Closer to Getting Beyond No Child Left Behind

United States Senate Passes Every Child Achieves Act that Replaces NCLB, Returns Decisions to States and Local Communities

Senator Lisa Murkowski today voted for the Every Child Achieves Act, which passed the United States Senate by a vote of 81-17.  The bill reverses many of the harmful impacts of the No Child Left Behind Act’s one-size-fits all mandates like “Adequate Yearly Progress.”  The legislation – which Murkowski helped to write as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee – restores major decisions and oversight of our schools back to the state and local level and allows greater flexibility for those closest to the students.  (To read Senator Murkowski’s thoughts on the Committee negotiation results, read her recent op-ed.)

“Alaskans believe that many times the federal government serves us best when it just gets out of the way, and today we have taken a major step to getting beyond No Child Left Behind,” said Murkowski.  “The Every Child Achieves Act gets the federal government out of the way and makes sure the Secretary of Education cannot dictate Alaska’s educational standards, curriculum, instruction, assessments, or school accountability measures 3,000 miles away from Alaska’s classrooms.  The fact this bill passed out of committee 22-0 and was adopted by the full Senate by 81-17 is a testimony to the hard work and negotiations that were invested in it.  I thank all my Senate colleagues for their hard work, and am more than pleased to have had a hand in legislation that will have such a positive impact for Alaska’s educators, teachers, parents, and communities.”

(Senator Murkowski explained the bill on the Senate floor earlier this week – Click for entire speech.)

Benefits and Alaskan advantages of the Every Child Achieves Act:

  • The U.S. Department of Education Secretary will no longer be able to micromanage our schools or the decisions made by teachers, principals, superintendents, school boards, or parents. 
  • Cooperation and engagement between our schools and Alaska’s Native leaders and parents will be much stronger to improve the way our schools meet the cultural, language, and educational needs of Alaska Native students.
  • The Every Child Achieves Act will provide greater support for the creation, improvement, and expansion of Native language immersion schools where students learn reading, writing, math, science, and other subjects through their ancestral languages.  And the bill provides for a study to identify the best practices of these schools and to make recommendations for their continued support.
  • The bill eliminates technical red tape that made it nearly impossible for Alaska’s rural school districts to claim Impact Aid dollars to which they are entitled.
  • It helps working parents and keeps kids safe after school by making sure the 21st Century Community Learning Center program that sustains many afterschool programs was maintained and improved.