Rep. Miller: Ending Washington’s Burdensome Approach to our Children’s Education

Jul 15, 2013 Issues: Education

The federal government should not be coercing states to enact Common Core program standards

Click here to view Rep. Miller’s comments on YouTube

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Candice Miller (MI-10) today made the following comments regarding H.R. 5 - Student Success Act, which the House of Representatives are advancing.  The Student Success Act will reform federal K-12 education law and give states and districts more control over their schools.  In addition, the Student Success Act will end the federal government’s burdensome overreach practice of coercing states to participate in the Common Core program in order to receive certain federal education grants.  The federal government to date has no authority over Common Core program participation in federal law, and this practice has never been debated in Congress.  The Student Success Act will put control of our children’s education back in the hands of parents, and state and local leaders.  Miller said:

“There is nothing more important than ensuring that our children get the education they need to achieve success in our global economy.  For far too long Washington has been taking more and more control over our children’s education and this week the United States House of Representatives will consider a very important piece of legislation to reverse that trend and send power back to the states, local districts, teachers and most importantly parents.

“The Student Success Act, H.R. 5, will empower parents by expanding the accessibility of charter schools, enhance tutoring services available and provide parents with meaningful information about school performance while also encouraging communities to hold schools accountable.  It will support effective teachers by repealing antiquated requirements that focus more on an individual’s degrees or classes taken and not enough on how effective they are in the classroom.  Instead it will allow states or local school districts in consultation with parents, teachers and administrators to develop their own evaluation system that take into account student achievement.  This bill will further restore local control by empowering states to establish their own accountability standards.  As well, it will further reduce the federal footprint in education by eliminating more than 70 duplicative and ineffective federal education programs and puts in place mandatory safeguards to protect against Washington’s overreach. 

“An example of this government overreach started when the Obama Administration began making participation in the Common Core program by states a requirement for receiving certain federal education grants, yet there is no authority for this in federal law, and it has never been debated in Congress.  The federal government should not be dictating and coercing states to enact Common Core standards, that decision must remain local with a vigorous debate in each state about how to best educate their own children.  This problem is why I joined with eight of my colleagues earlier this year to introduce H.R. 2089, the Defending State Authority Over Education Act, which is a bill to end this practice of government overreach by the Administration, and precisely why we fought for the relevant provisions of our bill to be included in the Student Success Act that the House of Representatives will soon consider.

“The Student Success Act is a long overdue step to move the power over our children’s education out of Washington and back where it belongs.  I firmly believe that no Washington bureaucrat will ever care more for students’ education than the leaders in the state in which they live, the school district where they learn, the teachers who see them in the classroom every day, or their parents who love them most.  Because of this we must do all we can to empower the states, our schools, our teachers and parents, and the Student Success Act is a step in the right direction.”

Background - The Student Success Act:
• Eliminates the one-size-fits-all federal accountability system and instead calls on each state to develop and implement a tailored approach that more accurately evaluates student achievement.

• Frees each state to implement improvement strategies to raise the bar on low-performing schools.

• Upholds high standards for student achievement. Schools must continue to disaggregate data to identify and help close student achievement gaps. 

• Repeals arbitrary federal funding requirements that restrict states’ ability to prioritize funding to the most effective initiatives.

• Grants school districts the freedom to distribute federal funds based on the needs of their own student populations, allowing superintendents and principals to target federal funds to support a better classroom experience.