Former U.S. education Secretary Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced Wednesday a plan to introduce new legislation to reauthorize the federal No Child Left Behind Act along with Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).
Their bills would "fix" NCLB by strengthening state accountability systems, improving teacher and principal professional development programs, combining federal education programs and increasing the number of charter schools, they said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.
Their proposals break the Elementary and Secondary Education Act into four separate bills:
The Elementary and Secondary Education Amendments Act of 2011 eliminates the national Adequate Yearly Progress system but maintains public reporting requirements. It pushes accountability systems and teacher licensure requirements to states and asks states to identify their lowest-performing 5 percent of schools.
The Teacher and Principal Improvement Act of 2011 reinforces teacher and principal evaluation systems at the state and district levels. It authorizes the Teacher Incentive Fund to motivate states and districts to compete to determine the best way of rewarding educators for high performance.
The Empowering Local Education Decision Making Act of 2011 combines 59 programs into two flexible streams of funding and places states and districts in charge of selecting programs and initiatives.
The Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act 2011 expands and supports charter schools.
The No Child Left Behind Act is a much-maligned decade-old federal education law that called for regular standardized tests, disaggregation of testing data by racial subgroup, and increasing sanctions for states that fail to meet proficiency standards leading up to a requirement of about 100 percent proficiency by 2014.