Education

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Parents and local educators know what is best for our nation’s children; parents are the ones who are raising their children to become well-rounded individuals and educators are with the children day in and day out and they know how to best operate a classroom. I believe that entrusting education decisions with those closest to the students, rather than bureaucrats in Washington, creates the most effective and sustainable education programs.

In the 114th Congress, Congress passed and the president signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, legislation that overhauled K-12 education. What this means to you and Americans across the country boils down to four important points: keeping Common Core out of schools; reducing the federal role in K-12 education; restoring local control; and empowering parents. And to those points, the Wall Street Journal wrote that “a bipartisan compromise from the House and Senate represents the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter century.”

Every single student is different and every single student has different needs. Common Core is the definition of a one-size-fits-all education approach which does not work. ESSA allows states to withdraw from Common Core without a penalty and prevents the Secretary of Education or any agent of the federal government from coercing states into implementing Common Core through the use of waivers. Additionally, in order to rein in the Department of Education, this legislation eliminates 49 duplicative programs and prohibits the Secretary from imposing requirements that are not codified in law.

ESSA also eliminates the current federally mandated accountability system for schools, turning over the responsibility to design and implement both academic standards and accountability regiments to states. Further, ESSA creates a new grant program to help states and local school districts target resources on local priorities.

In terms of parental empowerment, ESSA affords parents with the information necessary to hold schools accountable and make the best decisions for their children’s education. The National Parent Teacher Association issued a statement that the organization “…commends Congress for providing greater flexibility to states and districts to meet the needs of all students and acknowledging the essential role of family engagement to student achievement and meaningful school improvement efforts.”

Lastly, this legislation also expresses the fundamental need to protect and strengthen student privacy policy. This bill sets the stage to address discrepancies in current student privacy protections; yet, as we continue to work towards concrete privacy reforms, I remain committed to advocating for robust safeguards to ensure student record security and parental choice.

ESSA has put a stop to the federal government and the Department of Education dictating what is best for local schools. By replacing No Child Left Behind with real conservative reforms, we are ensuring parents have more of a say and students have even more opportunities to succeed. 

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