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Separating the Myths from the Facts on K-12 Education Reform Legislation

Today, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce will vote on the Student Success Act (H.R. 3989) and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990). Together, these thoughtful proposals will reduce federal intervention in schools, provide state and local leaders much needed flexibility, and help get better teachers into classrooms.

While some critics try to dismiss H.R. 3989 and H.R. 3990 as legislation that will shortchange students, 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: Republicans are advancing partisan education legislation without allowing any input from Democrats.

FACT: In the first session of the 112th Congress, the committee held 11 hearings and welcomed dozens of experts to discuss the challenges facing states and school districts across the country.  

FACT: House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans sought to involve their Democrat counterparts in every step of this process. In addition to the hearings, committee leaders held multiple bipartisan meetings to discuss solutions to education challenges. These discussions shaped the policies included in the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act.

FACT: Draft versions of the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act were released five weeks before formal introduction, allowing for public comment and a transparent and open process. Input received on the draft proposals was incorporated into the introduced versions of the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act.

FACT: On February 16, 2012, the committee held a legislative hearing in which Republicans, Democrats, and education stakeholders discussed the merits of the proposals and offered suggestions, many of which were incorporated into the legislation.

FACT: The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act continues to move through an open process, including today’s markup which provides members on both sides of the aisle  the opportunity to offer amendments and debate the legislation.

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Myth: The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act do not require schools to prepare students to graduate high school ready for college or the workforce.

FACT: States should not be forced to adopt a one-size-fits-all set of national “college and career ready” standards as a condition to access federal education funds. Instead, states need the flexibility to implement their own standards and reforms that improve educational outcomes for their students.

FACT: The Student Success Act will require states to develop and implement academic content and achievement standards that apply to all students in the state and prepare students for postsecondary education or the workforce. This is consistent with current law.

FACT: To ensure students are making progress, states will continue to measure and report annual performance in reading and math, as well as any other subjects chosen by the state, for all students in grades 3-8 and once again in high school.

FACT: Additionally, the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act support the continued use of disaggregated data, breaking down test scores for disadvantaged students, major ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and English learners, to identify and help close student achievement gaps, and prepare all students for success.

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To learn more about the markup for the Student Success Act (H.R. 3989) and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990), visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/markups.

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