Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 42° Partly Cloudy

Eye On Boise

Ybarra lauds new federal education bill as ‘fresh start;’ Crapo, Risch both vote no

After the Senate overwhelmingly passed the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act yesterday, dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act, and the president signed it into law today, state Superintendent of Schools Sherri Ybarra has issued a statement commending it, while Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch were both among the minority voting no in the Senate’s 85-12 vote.

“I commend members of the U.S. House and Senate for their work, deliberation, and passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act,” Ybarra said. “This is a strong first step away from punitive measures and towards increased flexibility for local school districts.” 

She added, “Now that the president has signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, it is an exciting time for education in Idaho to move in a more positive direction.  This is a fresh start for Idaho, and reflects the open and collaborative approach that I have taken in working with local school districts and stakeholders –we will continue to work together in implementing the new law over the coming months.

Idaho Education News reported that Crapo and Risch said the measure didn’t go far enough to ensure state sovereignty over education. Crapo said the measure “did not do enough to change the federal government’s heavy-handed involvement and decision-making regarding our local schools. Significantly fewer mandates from the federal Department of Education must be included in any reform legislation before I can support it.”

Risch said, “This bill is substantially better than those before it, and I applaud all that it does to dismantle Common Core, but it does not go far enough in giving states the authority needed to address their own education policy needs.”

Idaho EdNews reporter Kevin Richert has a full report here on the bill’s passage. It replaces the federal No Child Left Behind law, with its unpopular “adequate yearly progress” standard that triggered penalties for schools that failed to measure up. Under ESSA, states will be responsible for developing their own school accountability metrics. While the White House says the new law will “reduce the often onerous burden of unnecessary and ineffective testing,” a key federal testing requirement will remain on the books, in that states will still have to administer standardized tests in third through eighth grade, and once in high school.

When the bill earlier passed the House, Idaho’s two GOP members split their votes, with Rep. Mike Simpson voting yes and Rep. Raul Labrador voting no, without explanation. Simpson said the bill “represents positive reforms to the education system (and) returns important decisions back to states and localities.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

Follow Betsy online: