How Sen. Lamar Alexander plans to fix No Child Left Behind

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

Sen. Lamar Alexander's taken another step toward reworking No Child Left Behind, and he's got a partner across the isle.

Alexander announced today he's drafted a bi-partisan bill with Washington Democrat Sen. Patty Murray that he says keeps some of the educational standards from the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, but it returns control over curriculum to local and state officials.

They are calling it the Every Child Achieves Act.

"Basically, our agreement continues important measurements of the academic progress of students but restores to states, local school districts, teachers, and parents the responsibility for deciding what to do about improving student achievement. This should produce fewer and more appropriate tests," Alexander said in a joint statement Tuesday.

Murray called the agreement "a strong step in the right direction" but said there was still much to do about education at the federal level.

"While there is still work to be done, this agreement is a strong step in the right direction that helps students, educators, and schools, gives states and districts more flexibility while maintaining strong federal guardrails, and helps make sure all students get the opportunity to learn, no matter where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make," Murray said.

If passed, the new agreement would re-enact Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which expired in 2007. The law defined the federal role in public education. Since it lapsed, state governments have had to get federal waivers from NCLB's more onerous requirements.

The bill also will keep some of the federally mandated tests for K-12 students, but allows for states to decide how those tests will be used. State would also have to adopt academic standards, but they would be responsible for deciding what those standards are.

Fixing NCLB has been one of Alexander's top priorities since he won re-election last year.

The new bill is in committee - which Alexander leads - and its expected to be discussed on April 14.