Education Laws Overdue For Renewal Languish In Congress

Career College Central summary:

  • As the 113th Congress returns for its second year, nearly every major education law remains overdue for reauthorization, leaving issues from early childhood to workforce development caught in a vortex of partisan rancor.
  • Education advocates are fearful that Congress—which triggered the government shutdown late last year and has a historically low approval rating—won't be able to get any of the pending bills across the finish line by December, when this Congress comes to a close. And observers across the political spectrum are highly skeptical that much work will get done by the time President Barack Obama leaves office, three years from now, on laws badly in need of updating.
  • The slow pace of legislative progress has put the Obama administration largely in the driver's seat on education policy, through such initiatives as a complex series of waivers easing parts of the No Child Left Behind Act.
  • Those moves have given the U.S. Department of Education more say than ever on what happens in schools across the country. But the administrative solutions are far from permanent, making the future uncertain for educators, from teachers to state schools chiefs.
  • Chief among the lingering legislation is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, whose current version is the No Child Left Behind law. The renewal has been pending since 2007. Lawmakers also must rewrite measures governing federal policy and programs for education research, special education, career and technical education, and adult learners, as well as the politically ticklish Higher Education Act. And the main law authorizing child-care programs hasn't had a face-lift since 1996.

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