New education act means changes coming to classrooms nationwide

Mark Meredith, Media General National Correspondent - WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) - In an effort to revamp and strip out the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act, on Thursday President Barack Obama signed off on a bipartisan bill to change how schools are measured for success.

The new law, named Every Student Succeeds Act, is the latest effort by the White House to reform testing standards, educational funding, and ensure dropout rates remain on the decline.

"This is a Christmas miracle," said Obama before Thursday's bill signing. The act has several components and will allow individual states to help develop the criteria to identify and assist failing or underachieving schools compared to a single national model. The law is also designed to reduce the impact of standardized testing by requiring a single national standard in order to determine what changes are necessary to improve scores.

"This is a big step in the right direction, a true bipartisan effort," added Obama.

In a rare sign of support, Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly supported the measure in both the House and the Senate.

"Those are precisely the kind of reforms parents, teachers, and state and local education leaders deserve, and I am grateful for all of the hard work of our House and Senate colleagues for helping to make these reforms a reality," said Rep. John Kline (R-Minnesota) after the bill was passed on Wednesday.

"The inclusion of these proposals in the Every Student Succeeds Act will provide greater opportunities for at-risk youth and keep them on a solid track to success," said Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) in a release on Wednesday.

While the measure passed overwhelmingly with Congress, critics of the new education measure believe it sends the wrong message.

"The Every Student Succeeds Act unfortunately continues to propagate the large and ever-growing role of the federal government in our education system—the same federal government that sold us failed top-down standards like Common Core," said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a statement on Wednesday.

Other lawmakers turned to Twitter on Thursday to instead celebrate the changes which impact classroom across the country:


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