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Kline Talks Flexibility Bill, Says It Won't Be Bipartisan

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, gave a preview of his panel's funding flexibility bill today on former Education Secretary Bill Bennett's radio show, Morning in America. And he said that the bill won't be introduced with bipartisan support.

The bill will come out later today, so we'll have more details then. But Kline said, basically, that the measure would allow districts to move money from one part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to another. For instance, he told Bennett that districts could move money out of Title I (which goes to disadvantaged kids) and put it into Title II (which is for teacher training).

Kline gave the example of a superintendent who would want to "upgrade computers across the whole school, and it will help all the kids," and might want to move some money out of a fund just for English-language learners to do that.

Kline said the legislation won't be bipartisan because "there are people who just claim ownership to certain pieces [of the law] and won't let go."

You can check out the full interview here. For more background on an earlier version of the legislation, check here.

The bill hasn't been officially dropped yet, so we haven't seen the reaction. But my guess is that some superintendents will probably cheer at this news. I'd be surprised if it went over well with some folks in the civil rights community—including, for instance, advocates for English-language learners.

UPDATE: Count Secretary of Education Arne Duncan among the bill's first detractors. "This bill doesn't fix the real problems with NCLB and runs the risk of short changing students with the greatest needs," said his spokesman, Justin Hamilton. "We need a true bipartisan reform bill for the President to sign by the start of the school year. Time is running out, and kids can't wait."

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