Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Congress tackles replacing No Child Left Behind

Thanks to the federal education law No Child Left Behind, American children starting kindergarten today can expect to take 17 federally required tests by the time they graduate.

Congress started debate last week on bills that will decide whether the next generation of American students faces the same gauntlet of tests.

What happens in Washington, D.C., should also decide whether, because of those tests, all public school teachers and schools would remain at risk of being labeled as failures.

It will decide whether power over America’s classrooms will shift from Washington to the states. And whether public tax dollars will flow to private schools.

This is the first time since the No Child Left Behind Act was supposed to expire in 2007 that Congress has even held a debate on the controversial – some say despised — education law. It has remained the law of the land.

Replacing it is a popular idea.

Replacing it with what is the big question.

“It’s exciting,” said Denise Juneau, Montana’s state superintendent of public instruction. “I’m glad it’s getting a discussion. It’s long overdue.”