Will Congress ever fix America’s education system?
U.S. News and World Report recently sat down with Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to talk about the re-authorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and higher education.
In the interview, Alexander talks of slicing the FAFSA application down to just two questions in an effort to encourage more students to apply, and he wants to expand school choice so that more students have the ability to exercise variety in their education.
But perhaps one of the more interesting antecedents of the interview was Alexander’s grade on how Congress has performed on NCLB.
“We’ve been stuck for seven years. We should’ve reauthorized it. If students were this late on homework, they’d get an “F.””
If we could go lower on a grading scale, I’m sure many would give Congress something much worse. NCLB expired nearly ten years ago and many states are still operating under waivers because Congress can’t seem to agree on how to move forward.
Luckily, Alexander, who’s a Republican, has taken a bipartisan approach to getting the law reauthorized. He said that Senator Patty Murray, the Democratic ranking member of the committee, has worked well with him to push the bipartisan effort through.
Nothing earth shattering regarding the future of education, or Congress’ attitude towards it, was revealed. There is still a lot of work left and there is no guarantee that the reauthorized will pass through this time around. Meanwhile as time passes, more and more students are suffering the repercussions of Congress and its slow pace.