Westerman Calls Education Bill’s Passage “Important For Our Local Schools”

July 8, 2015
Press Release


WASHINGTON – Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-Hot Springs) voted Wednesday (July 8) for H.R. 5, the Student Success Act of 2015.

“Passage of H.R. 5 is important for our local schools. It is important for schools in Arkansas for one very important reason – this bill reduces the influence of the federal government in the education of your children and mine,” Westerman said. “The bill removes the federal U.S. Department of Education’s ability to promote, force, or entice states to adopt any standards, including Common Core. The bill mandates the right of parents to opt their children out of standardized testing. Any standardized testing programs will be left to the state’s discretion and not the decree of the federal Department of Education. Since this bill first came to the public’s attention at the beginning of this year, I have been working with stakeholders in Arkansas to do the right thing for our students. I believe this bill is a good first step toward our goal of complete local control of Arkansas schools with no federal government overreach.”

Prior to a vote on the floor, Westerman had introduced two amendments to the Student Success Act. Both amendments, he believes, would have strengthened the final bill though they ultimately not made an order by the rules committee prior to Wednesday’s vote on the House floor.

The first amendment to H.R. 5 would have removed mandates stating that 95% of all students in public schools receive assessments. The amendment would have shifted authority to state legislatures to determine the percentage or number of students who are administered state assessments.

The second amendment would have clarified that a “state legislature” as opposed to a “state” must approve the education standards before they are submitted to the Department of Education for Title I funding.