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Cramer Announces House Passage of Major Education Reform

Jul 19, 2013
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the U.S. House of Representatives passed major education reform which reduces federal overreach and restores local control while empowering teachers and parents. The Student Success Act replaces the existing No Child Left Behind law, significantly updating the nation’s K-12 education system.

“This bill puts the expertise and authority of teachers, parents, and local education officials first when it comes to making important decisions affecting our children. Under current law, states and our local school districts don't have the flexibility they need to best serve students,” said Cramer. “I hope the Senate will follow the House’s lead by considering our bill, or passing reforms which can enter a conference committee so we can move forward with these important changes.”

“Reauthorization of this law is very important to our North Dakota students and is long overdue,” said North Dakota State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler. “The Student Success Act is a good bill. I am grateful for Representative Cramer’s support and his understanding of the importance of good education policy. Many mandates in the previous law are unworkable for our students and teachers. This bill will be a major step forward in returning local control of education back to our state.”

The Student Success Act is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and is supported by both public and private education organizations including the National School Boards Association, the Council for American Private Education, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and the American Association of School Administrators.

The U.S. Senate has not yet voted on any reauthorization to ESEA. The Student Success Act:

Dramatically increases local flexibility

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has been due for reauthorization since 2007. Problems associated with the law led North Dakota to apply for a flexibility waiver, which would have allowed the state to develop its own education standards. However, the process of obtaining a flexibility waiver proved more burdensome than complying with the law itself, forcing the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction to withdraw the state’s application for the waiver on March 4.

The Student Success Act solves this problem by prohibiting the Secretary of Education from imposing such conditions when a state seeks a waiver from federal law. Additional limitations on the authority of the Department of Education are put in place to give states autonomy in serving students.

Seventy federal programs are merged into a new Local Academic Flexible Grant, designed to put funding decisions back into the hands of states and local entities.

The Secretary is barred from demanding states to change their standards or creating additional regulatory burdens which make it difficult for states to maintain programs.

School and teacher quality standards are also turned over to states and local school systems, repealing such overreaching measures as the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) metric and the Highly Qualified Teacher requirement.

Prevents future federal overreach

Strong measures are taken to prevent the Department of Education from imposing its will over state decision-making in the future.

Strengthens impact aid

School districts located near federal lands, Indian reservations, military bases, or other areas impacted by the presence of the federal government will receive stronger Impact Aid support.

Eliminates waste at the federal level

The Secretary of Education is required to identify and eliminate full-time Department of Education positions which are no longer necessary as a result of the efficiency measures in the bill.