LIVE Webcast – Click here to watch the LIVE webcast of the hearing beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Opening Statement of House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (remarks as prepared):
Since the beginning of the 112th Congress, members of this committee have met with teachers, principals, superintendents, and state leaders to discuss ways to improve the nation’s education system. The information and feedback gained from these meetings has helped us develop a series of legislative proposals that address key areas for reform, two of which this committee has already approved.
Today, we will consider the third in this series, the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act. This legislation builds on our ongoing efforts to streamline the federal role in education and spur local innovation. H.R. 2445 will provide states and school districts with maximum flexibility in the use of federal education funds.
Particularly in this tough economy, schools need the freedom to target resources to the programs and initiatives that will have the greatest positive impact on student achievement. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act will remove restrictive funding streams, and allow states and school districts to rededicate funds received under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the EduJobs Fund to the programs that are most beneficial to their students.
Statement of Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (remarks as prepared):
Republicans on this committee are determined to make sure all students have the opportunity for a quality education. But we also understand that there is no single education approach that works for all students, across all states. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act recognizes the unique challenges faced by each school, and allows states and districts to redirect federal funds to fulfill the priorities and initiatives that will have the greatest impact on student achievement.
My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have expressed concern about the effect the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act could have on various student populations. Providing additional flexibility in the use of federal education funds will not harm any subgroup of students. Instead, we expect all students – regardless of race and ethnicity, or socioeconomic status - will benefit from the increased opportunities this legislation provides school districts and state officials to focus federal resources on the most effective programs.
Not only does the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act provide states and school districts the freedom to dedicate more federal dollars to help underserved student populations, it also offers the opportunity to increase federal funding for initiatives that benefit all students, such as new technology, additional after-school programming, and professional development for teachers.
Across the nation, school officials have asked for flexibility to shift federal resources based on the needs and makeup of their student populations, not the whims of bureaucrats and arbitrary federal requirements. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act offers school districts new opportunities to make decisions about the best way to fund their schools and improve student learning.
To read a bill summary, click here. To view markup materials, click here.