One day after House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement about a revised No Child Left Behind law, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray spoke about the law and its effect on Washington schools.

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Congressional negotiators reached an agreement earlier this week to revise the No Child Left Behind education law, which has long been criticized for its “one-size-fits-all” policies and emphasis on high-stakes testing.

The framework to revise the 2002 law would maintain the same number of required tests, but gives states a larger role in determining how to use the tests to access schools’ performances. Under No Child Left Behind, 88 percent of Washington schools were labeled as “failing” for the 2013-14 school year.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking Democrat of the Senate’s education committee, co-authored the Senate bill to fix the education law.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray

She spoke briefly Friday at Seattle’s Dearborn Park International Elementary School about the potential fixes and how the changes could affect Washington’s schools.

What is different about the revised No Child Left Behind law?

“The current No Child Left Behind law is badly flawed because it is a one-size-fits-all education policy that set standards for our schools that were very difficult to meet. If they were not met then you either got a waiver or you didn’t get a waiver, and it was a one-size-fits-all response. We have changed that dramatically in our new law, which we hope to send to the president in a few weeks. This means that we will have our states and our local communities still having to have national goals that they meet, but they will determine how they meet them.”

How would this affect testing in Washington?

“This would eliminate high-stakes testing that has caused so much concern for so many of our schools. (Parents at the schools) will no longer have to have a letter coming home to them saying their school is failing. They (States) look at how their students are doing and determine for themselves…how they make progress for every one of their students. I think it is a great step forward.”

Would the revised law include preschool and early education?

“I’m very excited to get into law a provision that would expand access to early education, as part of the K-12 education bill.”