WASHINGTON, D.C. | June 24, 2013 -
Enacted under President George W. Bush's administration with the promise to focus on individual student achievement and overall school performance, No Child Left Behind was heralded as groundbreaking. But after a decade of the law, we can now clearly identify its weaknesses. The "Adequate Yearly Progress" measurement restricts states' and school districts' ability to effectively gauge student learning. The law's "Highly Qualified Teacher" requirements value credentials over an educator's ability to teach. Strict funding restrictions stunt the development of innovative local education programs.
Recognizing children deserve better, reform-minded individuals across the country are challenging the status quo in exciting ways and students are benefiting from their efforts. Education leaders have taken steps to expand transparency, implement higher academic standards, and enhance accountability for student achievement with amazing results. However, some critics dismiss this “education renaissance” and continue to insist more prescriptive mandates and federal intrusion is the only way to raise the bar in our nation’s classrooms.
Effective education reform will never come from the top down – it must be encouraged from the bottom up. Washington bureaucrats will never have the same integral understanding of the diverse needs of students in cities like New Orleans, Indianapolis, or Tampa Bay as the teachers, administrators, and parents who spend time with them every day. By eliminating onerous federal accountability mandates, streamlining reporting requirements, and supporting states’ ability to prioritize funding to the most effective initiatives, the Student Success Act will put more control back in the hands of the state and local leaders who know our children best.
THE STUDENT SUCCESS ACT
- Eliminates the one-size-fits-all federal accountability system and instead calls on each state to develop and implement a tailored approach that more accurately evaluates student achievement.
- Frees each state to implement improvement strategies to raise the bar on low-performing schools.
- Upholds high standards for student achievement. Schools must continue to disaggregate data to identify and help close student achievement gaps.
- Repeals arbitrary federal funding requirements that restrict states’ ability to prioritize funding to the most effective initiatives.
- Grants school districts the freedom to distribute federal funds based on the needs of their own student populations, allowing superintendents and principals to target federal funds to support a better classroom experience.