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Part 2: Separating the Myths from the Facts on K-12 Education Reform Legislation
Improving access to a quality education and protecting taxpayer investments

Today, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved 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 partisan 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: The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act unfairly target certain students and subgroups, denying access to a quality education.

FACT: The Student Success Act requires states to set their own academic standards and annual assessments for students, in at least reading and math. States must create their own accountability system to measure school and student achievement, ensuring students do not fall through the cracks.

FACT: The Student Success Act maintains the nation’s long-standing commitment to students in special populations. Additionally, these bills enable states and school districts to rededicate funds across federal programs in order to address the areas of greatest need for their students.

FACT: States are still required to disaggregate subgroup data, assess the English proficiency of English learners, and demonstrate student progress on state assessments. The legislation also requires a 95 percent participation rate for all students and in each subgroup on state assessments. The resultant data will help states track student achievement and progress across all subgroups to better gauge areas for improvement.

FACT: The federal government’s current education funding scheme ties the hands of education leaders and hampers their efforts to educate students with special needs. The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act appropriately balance federal accountability to the taxpayer, while providing state and local leaders the flexibility to target federal funds where student needs are greatest.

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MYTH: The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act allow states to cut education funding and remove accountability for responsible use of federal education dollars.

FACT: Current federal requirements restrict how states and school districts spend their tax revenues as a condition of receiving federal assistance. This provides a disincentive for state and local leaders to find more effective ways to provide a quality education.

FACT: Four decades of evidence has proven more funding does not produce better results for students. Education reform should not be driven by how much money is spent, but instead by sensible policies that will improve student achievement and promote better use of taxpayer money.

FACT: The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act support an efficient use of taxpayer education dollars by stripping all earmarks and the use of “such sums” language that have led to an inappropriate increase in federal education funding in the past.

FACT: The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act demand greater transparency and accountability, and in exchange, states will receive additional freedom in the use of taxpayer dollars to better serve their students and schools.

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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.

To read Part 1 of this series, click here.

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