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Illinois Educators Back Overhaul to No Child Left Behind

Some Illinois educators are praising a possible end to the No Child Left Behind Act. Credit: Kakisky/morguefile
Some Illinois educators are praising a possible end to the No Child Left Behind Act. Credit: Kakisky/morguefile
December 9, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The 14-year-old No Child Left Behind Act could be a step closer to ending. After a round of talks Tuesday, U.S. senators agreed to take a final vote today on the new Every Student Succeeds Act.

Some Illinois educators are praising the U.S. House passage of its version of the bill last week, with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Cinda Klickna, president of the Illinois Education Association, said she likes the overhaul because it returns a lot of control to the state for the local education system.

"I think that's really important – not just for us, but for the parents to know that the experts who are in the classrooms are able to be at the table, talking about what is it that students really need," said Klickna.

The new act has less emphasis on standardized testing and gives states more freedom in deciding how much students test scores will count when evaluating teachers. But opponents have said they fear the new law relies too heavily on Common Core standards.

In the House last week, 64 members voted against the changes; however, all 18 representatives from Illinois backed the plan. Klickna said concerns over Common Core might be overstated, because it will ultimately be up to states to decide which standards will be used.

"This law takes away the federal mandate and the punitive measures, and puts a lot of work back on the states to have good conversations," she said.

The ESSA would also give Illinois and other states the power to set educational goals for specific schools, and allow districts to come up with their own solutions to turning around struggling schools.

According to the New York Times, President Barack Obama has hinted he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.


Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL