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Facts About the Student Success Act

February 25, 2015
Blog Post
Should Congressman Westerman Support the Bill?

In recent weeks, there have been many questions regarding H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, which some have called the most conservative education bill since the Reagan administration. In some cases, misinformation has made its way onto the Internet and into the inboxes and Facebook feeds of Fourth District residents.

The following are facts about the Student Success Act Fourth District constituents may review, much as I have been doing in recent weeks. After reviewing the facts my office has been presented, which appear below, I would like to hear back from you. You can vote below, or you can call me at (202) 225-3772 and let me know how you think I should vote on this bill.

Ten Things to Know about H.R. 5 Student Success Act

1. The bill replaces No Child Left Behind with conservative reforms to restore local control and stop top-down education mandates.  In the absence of congressional action, the Secretary of Education has been using waivers and pet programs to dictate national education policies and increase the federal foothold in the classroom.  The Student Success Act will put a stop to this. 

2. The bill replaces the current national accountability testing schemeThe Student Success Act will establish a state-led accountability system, returning responsibility for measuring performance to states and school districts.

3. The bill eliminates dozens of federal programs and downsizes the education bureaucracy.  All told, the Student Success Act will eliminate more than 65 existing federal programs that have been declared duplicative, ineffective, or were never funded.  It also requires the Secretary of Education to take steps to reduce the department’s workforce.

4. The bill establishes funding flexibility for local school districtsThe Student Success Act replaces the current maze of programs with a Local Academic Flexible Grant, which allows school leaders to dedicate funding where it’s needed most rather than having these decisions dictated by federal bureaucrats. 

5. The bill expands school choice and empowers parentsThe Student Success Act supports magnet schools, expands high-quality charter schools, and allows Title I funds to follow low-income children to the public or charter school of the parent’s choosing.

6. The bill prevents the feds from imposing common standards.   The Student Success Act protects state and local autonomy over decisions by preventing the Secretary of Education from coercing states into adopting Common Core or any other common standards or assessments.

7. The bill repeals federal requirements for teacher quality.  The Student Success Act supports local and state efforts to recruit and retain the best teachers.

8. The bill supports private sector initiativesThe Student Success Act puts aside resources to support state and local programs that operate outside of traditional public school systems, providing a much-needed infusion of private sector innovation.

9. The bill boosts transparency and accountability for the Department of Education.  The Student Success Act prevents the Secretary of Education from creating additional burdens on states and districts, and outlines the specific steps the Secretary must take when issuing new regulations so as to maximize public scrutiny.

10. The bill empowers parents and taxpayers with meaningful information they can use to hold their schools accountable and ensure that every dollar spent makes a direct and lasting impact for students.