This “new” ESEA bill introduced (good Politics K-12 overview here) by a group of Republican Senators – Alexander (TN), Burr (NC) Isakson (GA) and Kirk (IL) – is basically a time machine back to the 1990s. There are some sensible ideas – I don’t think anyone really argues that the “highly qualified teacher” have worked. But overall it’s just a pre-No Child version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with some extras like program consolidation thrown in. In fact, some of the same folks who back then were attacking the Clinton Administration’s approach to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as lacking teeth now want to take us back to the days when states got to decide how much an inch was and pick their own rulers to measure. No Child Left Behind is far from perfect and long-overdue to be updated at this point but this would be a big step backwards. If the only bipartisan thing going in education is to toss minority and poor kids in the nation’s exurban and suburban communities under the bus because accountability is politically and substantively difficult then that’s not a bipartisanship worth having.