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Kline: K-12 Legislation Marks Next Chapter in Education Reform

Bills encourage state and local control, support effective teachers, and enhance flexibility

U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) today introduced two pieces of legislation to restructure the federal role in elementary and secondary education. The proposals reflect the latest effort by House Republicans to enact lasting reforms to No Child Left Behind.

The Student Success Act (H.R. 3989) and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990) will replace broken accountability provisions (known as Adequate Yearly Progress or AYP) with state-developed accountability systems, roll back antiquated federal teacher mandates in favor of local teacher evaluation systems, and grant state and local leaders enhanced flexibility in the use of federal funds.

Chairman Kline said, “For too long, schools have been struggling under the weight of an ineffective education law. Parents, teachers, and school leaders want long-term solutions in K-12 education, not a brief respite from a broken system.

“The administration’s waiver scheme provides just enough temporary relief to quiet the demand for lasting reform. Rest assured, my colleagues and I on the House Education and the Workforce Committee haven’t lost our sense of urgency. We must move forward and advance long-term solutions to the challenges facing the nation’s schools. I welcome any positive ideas that will help meet our shared goal of improving education for every student in America.”

In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute this morning, Chairman Kline said, “We cannot let this process stagnate. Waivers or no waivers, we have to change this law. And there’s bipartisan support on that.” To watch a video of Chairman Kline's remarks, click here.

While the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act are similar to the draft proposals released in early January, there are a few key changes in the final legislation:

  • The Student Success Act restores current law’s Title I state administrative cap to ensure federal funds flow to school districts to serve low-income students.
  • Under the Student Success Act, states must implement accountability systems, academic standards, and assessments within two years.
  • The Student Success Act rewrites and updates the Rural Education Achievement Program to remain consistent with current law.
  • Under the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act, teacher evaluation systems must be implemented within three years, and statewide teacher evaluation systems must meet the same parameters as district evaluation systems.
  • The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act now includes provisions to reauthorize and update the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which provides funds to school districts to offer services to homeless children and youth.
  • The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act both adjust the authorization levels to factor in the across-the-board rescission included in the Fiscal Year 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

A summary of major changes for introduction is available here.

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

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