The Tricky Nature of Politics
HR5 has passed the House and been reviewed by the Senate twice, and yet no action has been taken to further Senate actions. If it passed by a majority, then logically, it should have been at least looked at by the senate. But since it hasn’t, that makes it interesting for us.
HR 5, or the Student Success Act, is an extension of the No Child Left Behind Act, put into place under a republican president. The new version of this act gives increased flexibility to the state, relies on transparency as a form of accountability, and allows funding to be distributed inequitably. What does this mean? One author argues that, by granting flexibility to the states, states can continue to fund schools that do better than those that don’t (or like Virginia, fund less African-American students). With transparency, the states do not need to change anything, just report the goings on. And inequitable funding is not advisable when the majority of the funding will support already excelling schools.
The reason this bill passed in the House is the fact that state’s rights are an incredibly partisan issue. The split is pretty partisan as well – 221-207 in favor of the bill. The number of Republicans are 232 and Democrats are 207, so clearly there is some dissent in the republican support, but not enough. HR 5 might not be the first version of the bill either. John Kline, the Representative that ‘introduced’ the bill, is also the chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. It is quite possible that he is taking credit, as a republican leader and chair of the committee, to introduce this legislation and take credit. We talked about, in class, how representatives are interested in avoiding blame and taking credit.
The Senate, a democratic body currently, has reviewed it twice, but made no move to put this bill on the calendar, even though it left the House in July. Why would they? This goes against everything democrats believe in, and in the current state of the government, partisanship on what democrats believe is a bad plan will not occur. It’ll be interesting to see if the bill ever makes it through the Senate.