Obama threatens veto of GOP bill to fix No Child Left Behind

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Obama threatens veto of GOP bill to fix No Child Left Behind
US President Barack Obama steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Hill Air Force Base on April 2, 2015 in Utah. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama greets base personnel and well-wishers upon arrival at Hill Air Force Base on April 2, 2015 in Utah. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama meets with leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 2, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Clockwise from top right: LDS President Henry B. Eyring, Obama, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama meets with Colorado Governor John Hickenloooper (2nd R), Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R), North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (L) and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (2nd L), members of the Executive Committee of the National Governors Association, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, January 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama speaks after touring Sempra's Copper Mountain Solar 1 facility, Wednesday, March 21, 2012, in Boulder City, Nev. The president is defending his energy agenda this week, traveling Wednesday not only to the solar panel plant in Nevada, but also later to oil and gas fields in New Mexico and the site of a future oil pipeline in Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
US President Barack Obama waves after stepping off Air Force One with Rep John Yarmuth, D-Kentucky, upon arrival at Louisville International Airport on April 2, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. Obama is heading to Louisville, Kentucky to visit a technology-based company and to speak on the economy. AFP PHOTO/ MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama chats with Indatus President Phil Hawkins (2nd R) while visiting the network operations center during a tour at Indatus on April 2, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. The company provides cloud-based communications applications, hardware and infrastructure. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama speaks alongside Joan Witherspoon-Norris, Director of Social Justice of the YWCA Central Alabama, about the financial system and consumer protection during a roundtable discussion about the economy at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Alabama, March 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
President Obama is threatening to veto a Republican-backed plan to rewrite the No Child Left Behind law.
President Barack Obama speaks at Boise State University on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)
President Barack Obama speaks at Boise State University on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)
President Barack Obama speaks at Boise State University on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)
President Barack Obama greets people in the tarmac as hr arrives on Air Force One at Gowen Field Air National Guard Base?, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Boise , Idaho, en route to Boise State University where he will discuss the themes in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama speaks at Boise State University, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Boise, Idaho, about the themes in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
In this Jan. 22, 2015, photo, President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. The veto threats that he's issued over the last three weeks are a microcosm of American politics, representing the roiling issues of the day, the power struggle playing out between Congress and the White House, and even the pique between the president and GOP congressional leaders. Obama, who vetoed just two minor bills over the past six years, has been tossing out veto threats like confetti since Republicans took full control of Congress. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
President Barack Obama visits with 3-5 year-olds at the Community Children's Center in Lawrence, Kansas, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, before speaking about the themes in his State of the Union address. Akira Cooper is at right. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama greets visitors who gathered to watch the departure of Air Force One, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kansas, en route to Washington. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
President Barack Obama greets people after speaking at the University of Kansas Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, in Lawrence, Kansas. Obama was speaking about the themes in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to the University of Kansas Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, in Lawrence, Kansas. Obama was speaking about the themes in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to the University of Kansas Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, in Lawrence, Kansas. Obama was speaking about the themes in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, about the themes in his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addresses a rally in Florence, S.C., Friday, Jan. 25, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addresses a rally in Columbia, S.C., Friday, Jan. 25, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., listens to Christina Stewart during a roundtable discussion on women's issues in a Charleston, S.C., deli Friday, Jan. 25, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at a rally at Lander University as supporters hold up large cardboard numbers that spell "08" in Greenwood, S.C., Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
A Secret Service agent, left, watches the crowd as Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., participates in a march on the South Carolina Capitol in honor of Martin Luther King, Monday, Jan. 21, 2008, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
FILE - In this March 22, 2012, file photo, President Barack Obama arrives at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla. The GOP-controlled House and Senate will likely put pressure on the White House to approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline in 2015. If Congress manages to push through policy changes, such as lower taxes for medical device makers and lighter regulations for coal, it could lift stocks in the health and energy industries, market strategists say. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
President Barack Obama is silhouetted as he speaks at the TransCanada Stillwater Pipe Yard in Cushing, Okla., Thursday, March, 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
With oil pump jacks as a backdrop, President Barack Obama waves to the crowd prior to speaking at an oil and gas field on federal lands Wednesday, March 21, 2012, in Maljamar, NM. The president is defending his energy agenda this week, traveling Wednesday to a solar panel plant in Nevada, but also the site of a future oil pipeline in Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is threatening to veto a Republican bill to fix the widely criticized No Child Left Behind law that is set for debate in the House on Wednesday, calling it "a significant step backwards."

Republicans say the bill would restore local control in schools and stop top-down education mandates. Democrats say it would allow billions in federal dollars to flow out without ensuring they will improve student learning.

The White House said the measure "abdicates the historic federal role in elementary and secondary education of ensuring the educational progress of all of America's students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, and students of color."

The White House's statement Wednesday is the latest in a series of veto threats issued since both chambers of Congress went under Republican control last month for the first time in Barack Obama's presidency.

A vote is expected on Friday, and it's possible that members will vote strictly along party lines. That's what happened with a similar bill in 2013.

The bill maintains annual federal testing requirements. It consolidates or eliminates many federal programs, creates a single local grant program and allows public money to follow low-income children to different public schools. It would also prohibit the federal education secretary from demanding changes to state standards or imposing conditions on states in exchange for a waiver around federal law.

The bipartisan law President George W. Bush signed in 2002 sought to close significant gaps in the achievement of historically underserved group of students and their more affluent peers. It mandated annual testing in reading and math for students in grades three to eight and again in high school. Schools had to show student growth or face consequences.

No Child Left Behind required that all students be able to read and do math at grade level by 2014. The Obama administration in 2012 began allowing waivers around some of the law's more stringent requirements if schools agreed to certain conditions, like using college- and career-ready standards such as Common Core.

House Republican leaders view the bill as a way to show their opposition to the Obama administration's encouragement of the Common Core state standards. The standards have been adopted in more than 40 states and spell out what English and math skills students should master at each level. They have become a political issue in many states because they are viewed by critics as a federal effort even though they were developed by U.S. governors.

In the Senate, there appears to be more of a bipartisan effort to fix the law. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and the committee's senior Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., have said they were working together on a proposal. Alexander said this week he wants to get a bill to the full Senate in March.

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