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Rokita Statement: S. 1177, Conference Report to Replace No Child Left Behind

I rise today to express my strong support for the Every Student Succeeds Act.

As my role as Subcommittee Chairman of Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, I’ve personally visited dozens of schools and talked to parents, teachers, students, and local education leaders.

No Child Left Behind’s high-stakes testing, which requires every child to be caught up to grade level in one year is unworkable.

Currently, the Secretary of Education, through waivers, can run schools by executive fiat, imposing requirements on state testing standards and conditioning receipt of federal funds on adopting Common Core Standards.

It is time for a change and this bill is the Every Student Succeeds Act.

This bill originated in my Subcommittee as H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, which I co-authored with Chairman Kline. When I was appointed to the conference negotiating team, my goal was to make sure the conservative reforms and policies in the Student Success Act were kept in our final product.

We were successful. This bill, as the Wall Street Journal puts it, is the largest transfer of federal control to the states in twenty- five years.

This bill empowers states and ends federally mandated, unproductive, high-stakes testing, the core of No Child Left Behind.

It provides flexibility, so voters and taxpayers through their locally elected officials, can decide for themselves what success looks like. It recognizes that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to determining academic standards.

It is time we put our children first so we can compete in a global, 21st century world. It is time we trust parents, teachers, and local education leaders more than we trust federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. This bill is a huge step in that direction and I urge my colleagues to support it.

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