In his weekly radio address, President Barack Obama highlighted a Memphis schoolâ€™s successful turnaround as a model for school reform. Citing efforts made by the schoolâ€™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, â€œWe need to promote reform that gets results while encouraging communities to figure out whatâ€™s best for their kids. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s so important that Congress replace No Child Left Behind this year â€“ so schools have that flexibility.â€ 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 isnâ€™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. Hunterâ€™s Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act, would eliminate 43 education programs.