On Friday, the White House attacked House Republicans for their Student Success Act, a revision of the No Child Left Behind Act for grades K-12. Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, snapped, “This approach is backward and our teachers and kids deserve much, much better.”
On Wednesday, the Student Success Act was passed by Republicans on the House Education and the Workforce Committee over the nay-saying Democrats; it will now go to the full House of Representatives for a vote. The White House accuses the Student Success Act of keeping spending cuts through 2021 that would hit disadvantaged students, known as Title I students. Title I funds are largely distributed to schools holding many poor students. The Student Success Act would allow the funds to follow the child even if the parent decided to send the child to a charter school.
The White House moaned that Act would allow states to “spread Title I funds thinly across the wealthiest districts, doing less good, while sending less funding to many districts that need it most.”
GOP advocates have a ready explanation for the utility of the Student Success Act; asserting that it will reduce the federal footprint and restore local control, and let parents and education leaders to hold schools accountable for their success or lack of it in teaching students.
The website for the act points out some important reasons for the Act:
- Despite the federal government’s all-time high level of involvement in education, “Approximately one out of every five students drops out of high school … Only 38 percent of high school seniors can read at grade level, and 26 percent are proficient in math. “ The feds spent almost $35 billion in 2013.
- The states would be responsible for the schools’ accountability, returning control to local areas;
- More than 65 federal programs that are unnecessary would be eliminated;
- The Secretary of Education would be banned from forcing states to accept Common Core or any other common standards or assessments.
- Parents could opt for magnet schools or charter schools and let the Title funds follow their child to that school.
- Require the Secretary of Education to identify the number of full-time employee positions associated with consolidated programs and reduce the department’s workforce by an equal number