House Passes Education Bill Giving More Control to Local and State Governments

The House of Representatives passed the Student Success Act this week, a rewrite of the nation’s education law No Child Left Behind (NCLB) which expired in 2007 but has still been in effect in absence of new legislation. The bill is a victory for responsible governance, as it returns more control to the states and local school boards: the ones who know their students best.

The Washington Post reports:

The House GOP bill, which also would change how federal funds are dispensed to educate poor students, sets up the far-right boundary for negotiations with the Senate, which is working its way through its own bill, one written with bipartisan support. …

Like the current law, the House legislation would require states to give annual math and reading tests to students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. States also would have to continue publishing data showing how groups of students — including African Americans, Latinos, poor children and those with disabilities — perform.

But in an important departure from current law, the bill includes an amendment that allows parents to opt their children out of standardized tests without putting school districts at risk of federal sanctions.

That provision is a response to complaints about overtesting, said Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), who introduced the amendment. It passed 251 to 178, with 19 Democrats voting for it. …

The bill would largely let states determine how to spend federal dollars, and states would not be required to meet federal benchmarks of academic progress. States would have to intervene in schools that are not improving by their measures, but the type of intervention and the number of schools would be up to the states.

Read more at the Washington Post.