Bob Goodlatte: House acts on K-12 education reform

goodlattefourinMost of us can recall a favorite teacher – the one who made an impact or taught a lesson that will be long remembered. I’ve had the opportunity to meet many educators in schools throughout the Sixth District who work hard each day to provide their students with the best education possible. Teachers have an invaluable impact on our children, and the ability of educators to actually teach the next generation should not be hindered by outdated federal mandates.

All too often we see the federal government intervening in the education system, adding more red tape and bureaucracy without benefit to the students. Rather than just working to comply with federal mandates, teachers should instead be able to focus on meeting the needs of their students. While the basic goals of the most recent overhaul of the education system, the No Child Left Behind Act, were well-intentioned, the law has not worked effectively and ultimately lacked the critical flexibility and decision-making power needed by the individual states, parents, and teachers to most effectively support the kind of education we all want to see available for our nation’s children.

That’s why Congress has been working to replace this law – recently producing a bipartisan, bicameral plan for K-12 education reform. Just a few days ago, the House, with my support, passed this legislation to reduce the federal role in K-12 education and restore local control while maintaining a framework to support high-quality education. Among its many provisions, the Every Student Succeeds Act eliminates one-size-fits-all progress measurements and empowers states to develop their own accountability systems to measure performance and support at-risk student populations.

While this plan may not be the perfect solution, the Every Student Succeeds Act makes critical improvements to current law and will help put decisions that impact today’s students back in the hands of local school boards and state and local governments. The Wall Street Journal even called it “the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century.” Every child deserves the opportunity for a bright future, and federal education policies should not stand in the way of ensuring the success of our students.

Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District of Virginia in Congress.