Here's how the major stakeholders fare:
The new law eliminates the federal mandate that teacher evaluations be tied to student performance on the statewide tests. Teachers' unions hated that idea, saying the high stakes associated with the tests were creating a culture of over-testing and detracting from the learning environment. States and districts will still be able, but not required, to link scores or consider them as a factor in teacher performance reviews.
Don't start applauding yet, kids. The nation's 50 million students in public schools will still have to take the federally mandated statewide reading and math exams in grades three to eight and once in high school — so parents, teachers and others can see how they are doing against a common measuring stick. But the law also encourages states to set caps on the amount of time students spend on testing.
More children from low- and moderate-income families will have access to preschool through a new grant program that is to use existing funding to support state efforts.
No more Common Core — maybe.
The law says the federal government may not mandate or give states incentives to adopt or maintain any particular set of academic standards, such as Common Core.
The college and career-ready curriculum guidelines were created by the states but became a flashpoint for those critical of Washington's influence in schools. The administration offered grants through its Race to the Top program for states that adopted strong academic standards for students.
Already, some states have begun backing away from Common Core.
The law provides for more transparency about test scores, meaning parents and others in the community will get a better look at how students in their states and in local schools are doing. It requires that test scores be broken down by race, family income and disability status.
Parents also will be able to see how per-pupil funding breaks down by state, district and school.
States and districts will now be responsible for coming up with their own goals for schools, designing their own measures of achievement and progress, and deciding independently how to turn around struggling schools. Testing will be one factor considered, but graduation rates and education atmosphere could also be factored in.
To make sure all children get a fair shot at a quality education, states will be required to intervene in the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools, in high schools with high dropout rates and in schools with stubborn achievement gaps.
DIMINISHED FEDERAL ROLE
The measure substantially limits the federal government's role, barring the Education Department from telling states and local districts how to assess school and teacher performance.
The measure also ends the waivers the Obama administration has given to more than 40 states — exemptions granted around the more onerous parts of No Child when it became clear that requirements such as having all students proficient in reading and math by 2014 would not be met.
I understand every good decision by a politician comes with a price. The price here is probably Obama got some support from some fence-sitters who may lean R next year.
I don't credit him though since the dirty work was done by the legislature. Which is kind of how it's supposed to work.