Student success starts locally

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By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Nothing is more important to America’s future than ensuring a high-quality education for our nation's children. While the basic goals of our current education law, the No Child Left Behind Act, are well-intentioned, the law is not working effectively and ultimately lacks critical flexibility and decision-making power for the individual states, parents, and teachers.


Decisions about education should not be made at the federal level. Instead they need to be made in the home, in communities, and in local school boards and city councils. However, 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, school systems should instead be working to meet the needs of students.


To address this growing federal overreach and make certain that our education system serves America’s next generation well, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. This legislation, which I supported, updates our nation’s K-12 education laws. The Student Success Act is based on four key principles: it reduces the federal footprint in education policy, restores local control, supports effective teachers, and empowers parents. 


Increased federal intervention and regulation have failed to improve schools’ ability to prepare students and improve school performance. The Commonwealth of Virginia has already set a high standard for schools under state law. Virginia should have the power to implement standards and initiatives that provide the greatest benefit for Virginians.


The Student Success Act takes strides to create a framework that puts decisions that impact today’s students back in the hands of state and local governments. It works to streamline the federal government’s role by eliminating more than 70 duplicative education programs and replaces them with one program that will give states and school districts the ability to decide how funding is best utilized.  It also eliminates the one-size-fits-all Adequate Yearly Progress measurement and empowers states to develop their own accountability systems to measure student and school performance.


Every child deserves the opportunity for a bright future.  That future begins with education.  It is parents, teachers, and administrators in school systems in the Sixth District of Virginia, not lawmakers in Washington, who best know the needs of their students.  We must continue our efforts to ensure that educational decisions are in the hands of parents and teachers.  That is why I support the Student Success Act as a solid, commonsense approach to education that will help provide future generations with the education they need to keep America competitive in the world economy.