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Moving in the Right Direction

#StudentSuccessAct: Restoring State and Local Control of K-12 Education

“The most conservative federal education move in a quarter century”

The Student Success Act (H.R. 5) is a conservative proposal to replace a flawed education law and stop the administration from governing K-12 schools through executive fiat.

While many have expressed support for the legislation, calling it “the most conservative federal education move in a quarter century,” and “a promising bill ... that deserves the enthusiastic support of conservatives,” the Daily Caller reports that some continue to make “egregiously false” claims about what the Student Success Act does and does not do.

Because Americans deserve an education law that will help every student in every school receive an excellent education, it is important to understand how the Student Success Act will improve K-12 education by restoring control over classroom decisions to parents, teachers, and state and local leaders.

The Student Success Act prohibits:

  • Any agent of the federal government – including the Secretary of Education – from coercing states into adopting Common Core (or other specific standards) through waivers, federal grants, or any other authority;
  • The Secretary of Education from creating additional burdens on states and school districts, particularly in the areas of standards, assessments, and accountability plans; and
  • The Secretary of Education from exercising authority he does not have by reforming the regulatory process.

The Student Success Act eliminates:

  • The current one-size-fits-all national accountability metric that dictates school improvement and turnaround strategies;
  • Programs the Secretary of Education has used to coerce states to adopt his preferred policies, including Race to the Top;
  • Existing mandates governing teacher quality and local spending that hamper innovation and hamstring the ability of states and school districts to address the unique needs of their students; and
  • Sixty-nine ineffective, duplicative, and unnecessary programs and requires a reduction in the department’s workforce by the amount of staff assigned to the eliminated programs.
The Student Success Act protects:
  • State and local autonomy over accountability, spending, hiring, standards, curriculum, and assessments;

  • State sovereignty by safeguarding the right of states to opt out of any program under the law;

  • Parental control over their children’s education by encouraging transparency, flexibility, and choice;

  • Parents and taxpayers' right to know whether schools are effectively teaching their children;

  • The autonomy of religious schools, private schools, and home schools by ensuring they are free from the Secretary of Education’s control; and

  • Student privacy by ensuring every grantee under the law understands their responsibilities to ​protect student information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

As Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) wrote, “Organizations such as the Council for American Private Education, Family Research Council, and Committee on Catholic Education of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have expressed support for policies in the Student Success Act because they know it will keep the federal government out of their business and preserve their cherished rights.”

To learn more about the Student Success Act, click here.

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