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Manchin, Capito vote to rewrite decades-old education law

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Manchin, Capito vote to rewrite decades-old education law
By Sam Speciale, The Charleston Daily Mail

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito voted Thursday to overhaul a decades-old education law that promises to roll back federal oversight of schools and shift more control to states and local-level educators.

Manchin and Capito applauded the bipartisan effort to pass the Every Child Achieves Act, which serves as a rewrite of the outdated and now-maligned George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, which required states to develop rigorous academic standards and student assessments that have become controversial in recent years.

The bill passed the senate 81-17.

In statements on Thursday, Manchin and Capito said the bill will create a more well-rounded public education system that will help West Virginians and children across the country not only succeed in school but compete in a growing global economy.

“The future of our country’s economic success largely depends on the quality of education our children are receiving today,” Manchin said, later adding that bill will improve West Virginia’s future.

Capito praised the bill for its elimination of “Washington’s one size fits all approach to education.”

“It keeps important measures of student achievement while giving our students, parents, teachers and state and local officials the responsibility for improving teaching and ensuring accountability in our schools,” she said.

Both Manchin and Capito sponsored several amendments they say will directly benefit students and families in West Virginia.

Manchin attached amendments that will funnel additional support to low-income students and schools in communities with high rates of substance abuse. He also sponsored amendments that protect students from sexual predators and require governors to be involved in the development of state education plans.

Capito sponsored amendments sending additional resources to low-income students. She also sponsored an amendment that will improve access to the Internet and other digital learning resources.

The House of Representatives last week narrowly passed a No Child Left Behind rewrite of its own. It received no support from House Democrats and passed with threats of a veto from President Barack Obama for its inclusion of a provision that would allow federal dollars to follow low-income students should they choose to attend a public charter or private school.

The two chambers, along with the White House, will now negotiate a bill Obama will agree to sign into law.