WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) today praised House passage of legislation designed to reform the “No Child Left Behind” education law by ending burdensome federal mandates and returning more authority to the state and local level. This represents the first efforts to reform the nation’s education policy in more than a decade.
H.R. 5, The Student Success Act, was approved by a vote of 221-207. Rep. Roby, Alabama’s lone Member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, has been an outspoken advocate for the bill’s provisions reducing the federal footprint in public schools and ending the “one-size-fits-all” approach to education.
“House passage of the Student Success Act is a big victory for Alabama students and teachers. As the mother of a child in public school, today’s vote was personal for me. I believe we should have the highest standards for our schools, but the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to education is not working.
“Ask any teacher, superintendent or principal and they will tell you that the top-down mandates and regulations from the federal government are not helping. Our teachers can hardly do their job with all the red tape they have to deal with. They are forced to ‘teach to the test’ instead of focusing on actual learning.
“I’m also pleased the Student Success Act includes provisions I have personally championed prohibiting the Department of Education from using funding grants and special regulation waivers to coerce states into adopting certain curriculum or assessment standards.”
As passed by the House, the Student Success Act will:
• Protect state and local autonomy over decisions in the classroom
The Student Success Act prohibits the Department of Education from inappropriately influencing state decisions to adopt certain assessment or curriculum standards.
• Return responsibility for student achievement to local leaders
The Student Success Act repeals the burdensome Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) from the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and replaces it with state-determined accountability systems, thereby returning authority for measuring student performance to states and local school districts.
• Consolidate federal government programs
The Student Success Act consolidates myriad existing K-12 education programs into a new Local Academic Flexible Grant, which provides funding to states and school districts to support local priorities that improve student achievement.
• Support local efforts to measure teacher effectiveness
The bill repeals federal “Highly Qualified Teacher” requirements and directs states and districts to develop teacher evaluation systems that measure an educator’s influence on student learning. Under the Student Success Act, these evaluations must be locally developed and implemented within broad parameters that factor in student achievement, incorporate multiple measures, and include feedback from all stakeholders.
• Create funding flexibility
Instead of having to comply with a host of federal program requirements dictating exactly how special funds may be spent, under the Student Success Act, state and local officials will be able to use federal funds to meet their own unique needs. While school districts will not be allowed to use Title I funds outside of those schools, they can move additional funding to low-income schools.
• Encourage parental involvement
The Student Success Act maintains the current requirement that states and school districts issue and distribute annual report cards, but streamlines the data reporting to ensure meaningful information is easily available to parents and communities, and includes a provision that nothing in the law should be interpreted to impact state laws on parent exercise of authority over low-performing schools.