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Fact Sheets

Student Success Act: Prohibiting Federal Involvement in Common Core


The Obama administration has taken unprecedented action to further expand the federal footprint in America’s classrooms. Through the administration’s waiver scheme and pet programs such as Race to the Top, the Secretary of Education has used taxpayer dollars to coerce states into enacting the president’s preferred education reforms. For example, the administration has pressured states into adopting Common Core academic standards, despite the fact current law prohibits the federal government from approving or certifying any form of academic standards. The intent of the law was to prevent Washington from interfering with academic standards, an exclusively state and local responsibility. Rather than help fix a broken K-12 education system, the Obama administration’s unprecedented, unilateral actions surrounding Common Core have created confusion and frustration among state and local education leaders.


Congress must take action to rein in the Obama administration’s executive overreach and restore state and local control over academic standards. The Student Success Act (H.R. 5) will take definitive steps to limit the Secretary of Education’s authority, placing responsibility for classroom decisions back in the hands of parents and education leaders who know their children best. The legislation includes specific provisions to prevent the secretary from coercing states to adopt Common Core.


  • Eliminates the secretary’s ability to promote the adoption of Common Core or any other particular academic standards or assessments by prohibiting the federal government from tying state adoption to the receipt of federal funds or waivers of K-12 education law.

  • Prohibits the secretary from influencing in any way the partnerships states form and the assessments states choose to use, thereby ensuring decisions to adopt and implement any particular standards or assessments lie solely with state and local leaders.

  • Excludes authorization for programs the secretary has used to coerce states to adopt his preferred policies, including Race to the Top.

  • Prevents the secretary from imposing additional burdens on states and school districts through the regulatory process in areas of standards, assessments, and state accountability plans. 

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