Senator Rand Paul’s Floor Speech on October 19th, 2011 on the No Child Left Behind/Elementary and Secondary Education Act mark-up presented by Sen. Harkin only 48 hours ago:
Reserving the right to object, I find it a tragedy that we are operating here in the Senate by introducing an 868-page bill with 48 hours to read it; approximately 1,000 pages worth of amendments to this bill with virtually no time to read or think about the amendments. I think it’s precisely what’s wrong with this body that we would try to rush things through.
I’ve been here since January and there have been no hearings on No Child Left Behind. I have had no hearings that involve teachers, no hearings that involve superintendents, no hearings that involve principals. I think this is an affront to the process…
I have a letter here from the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Education Association, the National School Boards Association, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and they say:
‘we hope that in getting this important work of getting policy right we will not be pushed to the side in a race against the clock.’
I feel pushed aside. 868-page bill and 48 hours to read it. It is wrong. All I am asking for is a hearing to listen to teachers. Should we not listen to the teachers? A hearing to listen to the superintendents. A hearing to listen to the principals. Let them read the bill and find out what’s in the bill.
I am not going to accept what Nancy Pelosi said you can read about it after the fact. That’s the process here. 868 pages? When are we going to read it? After they pass it.
Who’s been involved in crafting this legislation? I’m on the committee. Nobody asked me, nobody consulted with me, and I think that’s the same with most of the people on the committee…
I would be in favor of getting rid of No Child Left Behind. No teachers are for it. I’d like to see a survey of teachers. I would like it have the teachers do a survey of their population that says, who’s in favor of “No Child Left Behind” before we act?
I would like teachers to propose amendments to my office to fix “no child left behind” if we’re not going to scrap it. I would like to hear from the superintendents. What do you think of this 868-page bill we got yesterday or on Monday? What do you think of this bill and how can we make it better?
We will not have time to hear from them because we’re struggling to get through the 868 pages and another 1,000 pages of amendments. This process is rotten from the top to the bottom, and what I would ask for is that we have a hearing.
Let’s invite teachers to Washington, let’s invite superintendents, let’s invite principals to Washington. Let’s find out what they think of No Child Left Behind before we rush through an 868-page bill that no one has had time to read.
This is what’s wrong with Washington. This is the type of arrogance about the way Washington works that is really making us unpopular in the public’s eyes.
I say fix “No Child Left Behind” repeal it or fix it, but at least give us time read the bill. And I object to this unanimous consent.
Excerpts from transcript of Rand Paul’s Senate floor speech, linked here.