Hoeven: Congress Passes Education Bill Restoring Local Control, Bolstering STEM Education

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that Congress has passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, education authorization legislation to replace the No Child Left Behind Act. The bill restores state and local control over education standards and makes important reforms to replace one-size-fits-all accountability requirements with state-designed systems. The legislation also prevents federal mandates, including Common Core. The bill was approved in the Senate by a strong, bipartisan vote of 85-12.

“The Every Student Succeeds Act makes important reforms and helps to put parents, teachers, principals and local school districts back in control of our education system. This legislation takes the right approach in that it pushes both control and funding down to the state and local level rather than a federal one-size-fits-all approach and it ends the Common Core mandate,” said Hoeven. “Additionally, the bill includes support for STEM education, which we pushed for, and other initiatives to ensure that our students have the skills and education they need to be competitive today and into the future.”

The Every Student Succeeds Act reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and allows states and school districts to develop their own educational accountability plans. The legislation restores state control over education standards and prevents the federal government from mandating or incentivizing academic standards, including Common Core.

Additionally, the bill includes a provision based on legislation offered by Senators Hoeven and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to bolster Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. Specifically, the measure improves students’ access to STEM education by allowing states to award funding to create or enhance a STEM-focused specialty school or a STEM program within a school.

The Every Student Succeeds Act includes initiatives important for North Dakota students and schools including:

• Provides school districts greater flexibility to develop their own education plans and transfer program funds based upon each school’s needs.
• Includes new provisions to allow multiple rural school districts to consolidate the applications submitted to states for federal grant funding and ensures that rural school districts are able to compete for funding at the same level as more populated school districts that have more staff.
• Continues rural education programs to support high-poverty rural school districts and schools that have traditionally received a smaller portion of federal funding for education programs.
• Strengthens Impact Aid program to better support school districts located near, or serving students from, military bases, federal lands, and Indian reservations, for the loss of local property taxes due to the presence of the federal government.
• Streamlines Native American education grant programs and continues support for native language restoration programs, culturally related activities, early childhood and family programs, as well as services to increase student achievement and parental involvement.
• Consolidates a total of 49 federal education programs and requires the Education Department to identify full-time equivalent positions who worked on those consolidated programs and reduce the workforce by that amount.
• Outlines specific procedures the U.S. Education Secretary must follow when issuing federal regulations and requires greater transparency and accountability over the development of new rules affecting K-12 schools.