Simpson, Labrador split on education overhaul

(UPDATED, 10:12 a.m., with statement from Simpson.)

A far-reaching effort to replace the federal No Child Left Behind education law sailed through the House Wednesday night, with bipartisan backing.

Mike Simpson
Rep. Mike Simpson

Idaho’s two Republican representatives split their vote.

Rep. Mike Simpson voted for the bill, dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act, which passed the House on a 359-64 vote. Rep. Raul Labrador was among the 64 Republicans in opposition.

The final version of the bill came out of a House-Senate conference committee.

Simpson said the bill would put states in control of setting school accountability standards, while funding impact aid that supports rural school districts.

“This bill represents positive reforms to the education system and returns important decisions back to states and localities,” he said Thursday. “Like any compromise legislation in divided government, it isn’t perfect. But the alternative is the broken status quo process that allows the federal government to dictate education policy through waivers.”

Labrador voted for the House’s version of the bill — and concedes ESSA is an improvement over the 2002 No Child Left Behind law. However, he doesn’t believe the final version goes “far enough to restore parent, local and state control,” Labrador spokesman Dan Popkey said late Wednesday.

Raul Labrador
Rep. Raul Labrador

ESSA now goes to the Senate, where a vote is expected next week.

More reading: Coverage of Wednesday’s vote from the Associated Press, and an in-depth look at ESSA from Education Week.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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