New House K-12 Acts Restructure Federal Role in Education

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has introduced two new pieces of legislation to support teachers and encourage local control of schools.

John Kline, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman, has confirmed that the House has introduced two new pieces of K-12 legislation that aim to restructure the federal role in elementary and secondary education by encouraging more state and local control, enhance flexibility and choice and support effective teachers.

The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act are set to replace the Adequate Yearly Progress, by bringing in state-developed accountability systems and grant state and local leaders enhanced flexibility in the use of federal funds.

Chairman Kline said:

“For too long, schools have been struggling under the weight of an ineffective education law. Parents, teachers, and school leaders want long-term solutions in K-12 education, not a brief respite from a broken system.

“The administration’s waiver scheme provides just enough temporary relief to quiet the demand for lasting reform. Rest assured, my colleagues and I on the House Education and the Workforce Committee haven’t lost our sense of urgency. We must move forward and advance long-term solutions to the challenges facing the nation’s schools. I welcome any positive ideas that will help meet our shared goal of improving education for every student in America.”

In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Kline said:

“We cannot let this process stagnate. Waivers or no waivers, we have to change this law. And there’s bipartisan support on that.”

While the new acts echo draft proposals from earlier in the year, the final legislation contains a few key changes in the final legislation:

  • The Student Success Act restores a state administrative cap to ensure federal funds flow to school districts to serve low-income students
  • States must implement accountability systems, academic standards, and assessments within two years
  • The Rural Education Achievement Program will be updated to remain consistent with current law
  • Teacher evaluation systems must be implemented within three years
  • Statewide teacher evaluation systems must meet the same parameters as district evaluation systems
  • reauthorize and update the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which provides funds to school districts to offer services to homeless children and youth

The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act will amend the authorization levels to factor in the across-the-board rescission included in the Fiscal Year 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

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