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Obama: ‘Replace No Child Left Behind This Year’

In his weekly radio address, President Barack Obama highlighted a Memphis school’s successful turnaround as a model for school reform. Citing efforts made by the school’s teachers, principals and parents, Obama advocated for more locally-driven education rather than a top-down approach with heavy federal government involvement. He urged that changes in legislation need to take place this year.

Obama stated that, “We need to promote reform that gets results while encouraging communities to figure out what’s best for their kids. That’s why it’s so important that Congress replace No Child Left Behind this year – so schools have that flexibility.” The President also pushed for his education initiative, Race to the Top, to grant competitive funding to states whose innovative reform efforts yield positive results.

Though Obama calls for a rewrite of the law by the 2011-2012 school year, Rep. John Kline (MN) stated last week that the timeline isn’t feasible.

While the Senate presses for more comprehensive legislation, the House will pursue a piecemeal approach by proposing several separate bills in the upcoming months. The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce will begin the process by holding a markup of an ESEA repeals bill this Wednesday. The proposed bill, Rep. Hunter’s Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act, would eliminate 43 education programs.

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