WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bill to finally replace the "No Child Left Behind" education law passed the House Wednesday putting Congress one step closer to ending burdensome federal education mandates and returning more authority to the state and local level.
H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, was approved by a vote of 218-213. U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL), who strongly supports state and local control of education policy, praised the bill's passage.
"This 'Washington knows best' approach to education has failed our children miserably, and that's why I've continually pushed to reduce the federal footprint in education".
"We need excellent teachers in every classroom and inspired administrators in every school. But, too often, policies from 'No Child Left Behind' tie the hands of our educators' and keep them from focusing on actually teaching students.
"It is past time for Congress to replace 'No Child Left Behind' with sensible policies that return control back to the states and local communities where it belongs. I'm pleased the House passed the Student Success Act, and I hope the Senate will work with us to achieve final passage soon."
The bill also contains language Roby originally authored to stop federal intrusion into state and local education decisions. The U.S. Department of Education has inappropriately used funding grants and special regulation waivers to coerce states into adopting its preferred policies in the areas of assessment standards and curriculum.
The Roby-authored language in H.R. 5 specifically and expressly prohibits the Secretary of Education from such action.
"The Executive Branch has exceeded its appropriate reach where state education policy is concerned, and it's time to rein it in," Roby said.
"I'm pleased the Student Success Act includes language I originally introduced taking away the Department of Education's ability to attach curriculum and assessment policy strings to special grants and waivers. Local and state leaders – those who have direct interaction with parents and teachers in their communities – are best positioned to determine policies that affect Alabama'sstudents. Washington bureaucrats are not."
Additional provisions of the Student Success Act include:
· Eliminating the "Adequate Yearly Progress," or "AYP" metric and returning the responsibility for proficiency systems to the states where they belong;
· Replacing the current national "high stakes" testing scheme and returning to state-and-local-led accountability systems;
· Eliminating more than 65 ineffective, duplicative and unnecessary programs, replacing them with flexible grants that state and local districts can use to benefit students the way they see fit;
· Repealing the federal "Highly Qualified Teachers" requirements, or HQT, which will enable state and local-driven efforts to evaluate teaching performance;
· Enhancing student mobility and school choice by repealing Title I restrictions and allowing money to "follow the student" to the school of the parent's choice, whether that's a traditional public school or a public charter school;
· Supporting the start-up, replication and expansion of high-quality public charter schools, which Alabama can now access to support its recently-enacted charter school program.
More information on the Student Success Act is available on the Education and Workforce Committee's website at: http://edworkforce.house.gov/studentsuccessact/.