Obama threatens veto of House GOP ‘No Child Left Behind’ update

President Obama is threatening to veto a House bill to update the No Child Left Behind education law.

The bill, called the Student Success Act, would “represent a significant step backwards in the effort to help our Nation's children and their families prepare for their futures,” the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.


The administration worries that the bill, authored by Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.) and Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), is too lax on state education standards, neglects students in historically underserved areas and fails to address poorly performing schools.

The bill also does not reauthorize many Obama administration education programs, including Race to the Top, which rewards states that have implemented education reforms with grant money.

The Student Success Act was introduced last month and sponsors say it would return power for education policy to state and local authorities. The legislation would give more support to charter and magnet schools and eliminate more than 70 federal elementary and secondary education programs.

A vote on the legislation is expected as early as this week.

Lawmakers have been repeatedly unable to amend No Child Left Behind, the most recent reauthorization of the law that gives federal money to local schools, the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

No Child Left Behind was considered a key component of former President George W. Bush’s first term but has since been derided for imposing overly strict federal standards on local schools.

Congress has failed to reauthorize No Child Left Behind for the last six years.

Beginning in 2011, the Education Department has begun offering states waivers from the law’s requirements if they develop their own education standards. Currently, 39 states and the District of Columbia have received flexibility waivers.

"It is important that ESEA reauthorization ensures that all students have access to a high-quality education," the White House said in its statement.

“The Administration remains committed to working with the Congress to strengthen our Nation's schools through a bipartisan reauthorization of ESEA."