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President Trump loses another round in court on immigrant “dreamers.” Also on today’s rundown: Environmentalists tell New York Gov. Cuomo to match words with action; California lawmakers wear jeans, taking a stand against sexual violence; and Airbnb is called out for “secret tax deals.”

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U.S. Senate Votes Today to Replace No Child Left Behind Act

The U.S. Senate votes today to replace the No Child Left Behind Act. Credit: jmiltenburg/morguefile
The U.S. Senate votes today to replace the No Child Left Behind Act. Credit: jmiltenburg/morguefile
December 9, 2015

LAS VEGAS – A bill to replace the No Child Left Behind Act is expected to pass the U.S. Senate in a landslide vote today – and President Barack Obama has indicated he's ready to sign it.

The bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act is supported by both Nevada senators - Democrat Harry Reid and Republican Dean Heller.

Ruben Murillo, president of the Nevada State Education Association, says for the past 14 years, No Child Left Behind has meant too many standardized tests and not enough flexibility.

"Unrealistic expectations, unfunded mandates, the federal government imposing their will on the states," says Murrillo. "Those three basic things were barriers to school districts being successful."

Over the past three years, Nevada received a half-dozen waivers from No Child Left Behind's strict rules. The new bill lets states decide how much weight to give test scores when evaluating teachers. In addition, districts will no longer be forced to close schools or fire principals primarily on the basis of test scores.

Mary Kusler, director of government relations for the National Education Association, applauds the bill because, as she explains it, states will now be required to evaluate schools on the quality of their programs - giving extra points if schools go beyond the bare minimum.

"Every state will now, for the very first time, have to include at least one measure of student or school support," Kusler says. "Access to higher-level coursework, school counselors, school librarians; access to arts and music."

When the Nevada Legislature reconvenes in 2016, lawmakers are expected to take up the issue of how best to take advantage of the new education policy.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV