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H.R. 5: The Student Success Act


The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as No Child Left Behind, has been due for reauthorization since 2007. Despite its best intentions, there is widespread agreement that the current law is no longer effectively serving students. No Child Left Behind’s ‘Adequate Yearly Progress’ (AYP) metric proves one-size-fits-all federal accountability mandates hamper innovation and limit states’ and school districts’ ability to effectively gauge and improve student learning. The antiquated ‘Highly Qualified Teacher’ requirements value tenure and credentials above a teacher’s ability to actually teach. And despite a monumental investment of taxpayer resources and more than 80 federal programs tied to K-12 classrooms, student achievement levels are still falling short.

Instead of working with Congress to fix the law, in 2011 the Obama administration began offering states temporary waivers from some of No Child Left Behind’s most onerous requirements in exchange for new mandates dictated by the Department of Education. These waivers are a short-term fix to a long-term problem, and leave states and school districts tied to a failing law. School leaders face uncertainty, knowing the federal requirements they must meet to maintain their waiver are subject to change with the whims of the administration.


House Republicans are determined to put an end to the Obama administration’s overreach in our nation’s classrooms and empower communities to fix our broken education system. For too long, states and school districts have been inundated with federal intervention and bureaucratic red tape that has done little to improve student performance. It’s time to eliminate wasteful and duplicative federal programs and grant states and local school districts the freedom to direct federal resources to the programs that best serve their student populations. Additionally, instead of focusing on a teacher’s credentials, states and districts should be able to identify, recruit, and retain the teachers who have the most talent for improving student achievement. The Student Success Act will restore local control, reduce the federal footprint in the nation’s classrooms, support more effective teachers, and empower parents.


  • Eliminates AYP and replaces it with state-determined accountability systems, thereby returning authority for measuring student performance to states and school districts.
  • Eliminates federally mandated actions and interventions currently required of poor performing schools, giving states and districts maximum flexibility to develop appropriate school improvement strategies and rewards for their schools.
  • Repeals federal “Highly Qualified Teacher” requirements and directs states and school districts to develop teacher evaluation systems that measure an educator’s influence on student learning.  These evaluations must be locally developed and implemented within broad parameters that factor in student achievement, incorporate multiple measures, and include feedback from all stakeholders.
  • Maintains the requirement that states and school districts issue and distribute annual report cards, including disaggregated data on student achievement and high school graduation rates, while also streamlining data reporting to ensure meaningful information is easily available to parents and communities. 
  • Eliminates more than 70 existing elementary and secondary education programs to promote a more appropriate federal role in education.
  • Consolidates a myriad of existing K-12 education programs into a new Local Academic Flexible Grant, which provides funding to states and school districts to support local priorities that improve student achievement.
  • Supports opportunities for parents to enroll their children in local magnet schools and charter schools, and enhances statewide parental engagement.
  • Protects state and local autonomy over decisions in the classroom by limiting the authority of the secretary of education, including by eliminating the secretary’s ability to inappropriately influence state decisions to adopt the Common Core or other common standards or assessments.


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