By Caitlin Emma | Politico AM Education | http://politi.co/21ME2QT
12/08/15 10:00 AM EST :: BIG DAY FOR NCLB: The Senate will start considering the Every Student Succeeds Act, the bill expected to soon replace No Child Left Behind, at 10 a.m. this morning ET. Lawmakers have been confident about the law’s passage: An earlier version of the bill passed by a margin of 81-17 in the chamber in July, and the House overwhelmingly passed the current version last week [http://politi.co/1Tm5uyQ] Sen. Lamar Alexander said last week he thinks all the bipartisanship is helping the bill go over well. "I think this has turned out to be a textbook example of how to deal with a difficult subject,” he said. "When we come to a bipartisan consensus like this, I think the country accepts it a lot better." After the Senate votes on final passage for the bill, which could happen today, ESSA will head to the president for a signature.
— On the White House blog on Monday, Director of Domestic Policy Cecelia Muñoz said “the Obama administration is calling on the Senate to move the legislation quickly to the President’s desk for him to sign.” More: http://1.usa.gov/1XXypKS.
— Education Secretary Arne Duncan will say in a speech today at the Learning Forward Annual Conference in National Harbor, Md., that “some people in Washington … want to make this bill about federal authority — or even about my own power as secretary. I want to be clear about why that fundamentally misses the point.” The new law isn’t perfect, Duncan will say. It’s not the bill he would’ve personally written. But it “builds on our administration’s vision for education, and the fact is, this new agreement actually embodies and codifies much of it.” That includes the law’s focus on college- and career-ready standards, focused support and attention for the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools, expanding access to preschool and investing in what works, he’ll say. Duncan’s speech starts at 1:45 p.m. ET.
— Critics are calling out Duncan, however, for saying that the bill builds on the Obama administration’s vision for education. Sandy Kress, one of the original architects of NCLB under former President George W. Bush, asked [http://bit.ly/1RASDue] on Twitter: “Arne, they leveled your program and office. Why are you celebrating it?”