January 09, 2015

Crapo Seeks to Stop Federal Education Mandates

Introduces bill giving more autonomy to states and local school districts

Washington, D.C.  - School districts would not have to fear losing federal funding because of local curriculum decisions if legislation introduced today by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo becomes law.  Crapo introduced the Local Leadership in Education Act, which amends the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to forbid "any officer or employee of the Federal Government from being able to mandate, direct or control a State, local education agency, or school's academic standards, curriculum, program of instruction, or allocation of State or local resources."  It also removes the burdensome annual federal testing requirements implemented in the most recent reauthorization of ESEA, also referred to as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  The removal of these requirements would permit states to choose how and when to measure student performance and growth.  

 

Crapo's bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to prohibit the federal government from:

 

  • Mandating, directing, or controlling academic standards or curriculum

 

  • Incentivizing the adoption of any specific standards

 

  • Conditioning the availability of financial support on adoption of any specific instructional content, standards, curriculum etc. or administration of tests to students

 

  • Requiring states to test students annually or at all

 

Crapo has long sought to eliminate federal mandates on state and local districts.  The federal government must not be a national school board," Crapo said.  "Too often, state and local educators spend too much time dealing with federal mandates when it is local leaders that know what's best for their students.  Decisions closer to the classroom are more focused on the specific circumstances and needs of individual students rather than a one-size fits all approach promulgated by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C."

 

Crapo noted Congress has taken initial steps to reauthorize the ESEA creating an opportunity to give more autonomy to states and school districts when determining what policies will best suit the needs of their students.  "These decisions must be made at the local level.  The federal government can be a willing partner in funding education; however, it should not pressure states through funding and relief from outmoded federal policies to adopt academicstandards."

 

With the Local Leadership in Education Act, states make the decision on what testing requirements are appropriate and make the most sense for their students.  A copy of the legislation can be found here: https://www.crapo.senate.gov/documents/local_leadership_education_act.pdf

 

Co-sponsors of the Local Leadership in Education Act include: Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), and Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).