For too long, the federal approach to education has been layering mandate after mandate upon states and schools. Unfortunately, this approach has done nothing to improve the academic achievement of children. The U.S. Department of Education itself has found that the average reading score of 17-year-olds in 2008 was no different than in 1971 and that high school completion rates have remained stagnant since the Department of Education was created.
I support an approach to education that re-establishes local control. Our teachers, school administrators, parents and neighbors are the best qualified to make decisions regarding the education of our children. They know the names of our children and what they need to succeed, not bureaucrats in Washington who try a one-size fits all approach.
This is why Congress recently passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This law aims to remove the bureaucracy handed down to states from Washington by granting states the flexibility they need to spend more of their own money on priorities that will best help students achieve academic excellence.
While it is important to reduce the achievement gap and hold schools responsible for failing to adequately educate their students, key reforms, including the No Child Left Behind Act, must be balanced with increased educational options. When a school is not the best fit for a child, parents should have the flexibility to choose the school that best meets their child’s needs. In the same way, schools should have the ability to use innovation to improve their educational programs, without burdensome federal interference.