On Monday, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sen. Tom Harkin, added an amendment to his rewriting of NCLB. Members of the committee had just 48 hours to wade through it before the committee proceeded last night to a markup of the bill. Sen. Rand Paul objected to the rush and made it clear that he wants to hear more from teachers and school administrators, writes Tina Korbe at Hot Air.
The House of Representatives has conducted hearing after hearing about how best to revise No Child Left Behind. Harkin’s proposal was met by support and criticism alike.
Paul believes that in the Senate, however, no such process has occurred. Harkin asked the Senate to agree by unanimous consent to allow him to reconvene his committee. Paul wanted the chance for committee members to debate, amend and rewrite the proposed legislation. And he pointed out that 48 hours was just not enough time for them to go through the 800+ page proposal.
“I find it a tragedy that we’re operating here in the Senate by introducing an 868-page bill with 48 hours to read it,” Paul said.
“I’ve been here since January and there’ve been no hearings on No Child Left Behind. I’ve had no hearings that involve teachers, no hearings that involve superintendents, no hearings that involve principals. I think this is an affront to the process. As I go around my state and I talk to teachers, I’ve yet to meet one teacher who is in favor of No Child Left Behind. They abhor it. … This process is rotten from top to bottom.”
Paul was accused of attempting the obstruct the legislature. Namely, but Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, who alluded to Paul being a senator that doesn’t care to help children in poverty receive a college education, as reported at the Huffington Post.
Paul managed to postpone the markup until today, buying more time to read the bill. He also prompted Sen. Harkin and HELP Ranking Member Sen. Mike Enzi to call a hearing on the subject of NCLB for Nov. 8 to at least obtain a little outside input on the reauthorization of NCLB before the full Senate votes for it, writes Korbe.
Korbe thinks that this sheds light on a salient point –that while members of both parties agree that No Child Left Behind needs to be “fixed,” they don’t necessarily agree about what the federal role in education should be.
Paul said, “I’m one of the old-fashioned conservatives who does believe that schools are and should be under local and state control.”
Given the federal government’s gradual encroachments in this area, Paul is right to be on guard, writes Korbe.