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Education & Labor Committee Republicans

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Part 2: Despite False Rhetoric, K-12 Education Reform Legislation is a Step in the Right Direction
Part 2: Ensuring All Students Have Access to a Quality Education

Today, the House Education and the Workforce Committee is holding an open discussion on the Student Success Act (H.R. 3989) and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990). These thoughtful proposals will reduce federal intervention in schools, provide state and local leaders much needed flexibility, and help get better teachers in classrooms.

Sadly, critics are determined to spread misinformation about these responsible proposals, claiming the bills allow states to shortchange certain student populations by removing accountability requirements and loosening the federal government’s grip on schools. Committee Republicans know the policies included in H.R. 3989 and H.R. 3990 represent a step forward for our nation’s education system. It’s time to separate the myths from the facts in the K-12 reform debate.

MYTH: Providing states and school districts increased flexibility in the use of funds will widen achievement gaps between groups of students.

FACT: Every federal K-12 education program is bundled with a separate set of eligibility requirements, reporting regulations, and strict rules dictating exactly how program funds may be spent. These overwhelming regulations can severely limit the ability of states and school districts to apply federal dollars to initiatives that best serve students’ needs.

FACT: To ensure all students have access to a quality education while also allowing states and districts to tailor initiatives and meet local needs, the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act will retain separate funding for four student assistance programs (Migrant Education, Neglected and Delinquent, English Language Acquisition, and Indian Education programs), but grant flexibility to states and districts to use program funds for activities authorized in any of those programs.

FACT: The bills also maintain requirements that states assess student performance in reading and math, and that these assessment results be disaggregated by subgroup for these student populations, thereby ensuring state and districts continue to focus on closing achievement gaps.

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MYTH: Repealing the “Highly Qualified Teacher” requirements will lead schools to hire inexperienced and ineffective teachers.

FACT: Studies have consistently shown teacher quality to be among the most influential factors in student academic achievement. Unfortunately, federal teacher policies like the “Highly Qualified Teacher” mandates value a teacher’s credentials and tenure over his or her ability to boost student learning.

FACT: The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act will eliminate these antiquated regulations and instead require states and school districts to create their own teacher evaluation systems based on multiple measurements, including student achievement.

FACT: The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act will also consolidate existing teacher quality programs into a new Teacher and School Leader Flexible Grant, providing school districts additional funding opportunities to help identify, hire, and retain effective teachers.

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MYTH: Repealing Maintenance of Effort requirements will allow states to shortchange students by decreasing funding levels for K-12 education.

FACT: The Maintenance of Effort requirements allow Washington bureaucrats to dictate state and local spending decisions as a condition of receiving federal education dollars.

FACT: The Student Success Act will remove these antiquated requirements, and leave spending and budgeting decisions to the state and local representatives who better understand their communities’ needs.

FACT: The Student Success Act will allow states and districts to set their own funding levels and make fiscally responsible decisions based on local budgets.

FACT: The Student Success Act also includes transparency measures to verify federal dollars are used on top of – not instead of – state and local resources. This will ensure states and districts cannot dramatically cut education spending and fill in the gaps with federal dollars.

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For more information on the Student Success Act, or to read a bill summary or fact sheet, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov. Additional resources on the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act, including a bill summary and fact sheet are also available on the website.

To read more myths vs. facts, click here.

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