DENVER
10/20/2011 12:22 pm ET | Updated Dec 20, 2011

Michael Bennet Butts Heads With Rand Paul In Passionate Defense Of Elementary And Secondary Education Act (VIDEO)

Senator Michael Bennet, Colorado's typically subdued U.S.Senator, got a little fiery yesterday in an off-the-cuff speech in Washington. Bennet, a former Denver school superintendent, has been one of the primary sponsors behind the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The ESEA seeks to amend Bush-era No Child Left Behind policies by removing yearly school progress reports and penalties imposed on the lowest performing schools.

The Act, however, was stalled by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul yesterday after Paul blocked a motion to extend a two hour meeting.

Reacting to Sen. Paul, Bennet said, "The senator speaks of the tragedy of this process, I'll tell you what a tragedy is: a tragedy is that only 9 of 100 children living in poverty in this country in 2011 can expect to get a college degree. That's a tragedy."

Bennet continued, "It's a tragedy that there a people working in our schools right now ... doing the best they can to serve our kids, and we think a two-hour meeting is too long. That's a tragedy."

Sen. Bennet's website asks readers, if they're "as fed up with Washington as I am," to sign a petition in support of reforming No Child Left Behind.