Tomorrow marks the 6th anniversary of the signing of the landmark No Child Left Behind education bill into law in 2002. In the six years since NCLB thrust federal bureaucrats into local schools, millions of dollars and millions of teacher work-hours have been wasted to excessive paperwork and regulatory red tape. And, the results are clear: Children are not getting better educations and no one is held accountable for it.
This year, I introduced legislation to fix the backwards structure of NCLB, restoring accountability and authority to local educators. HR 3177, the Local Education Authority Returns Now (LEARN) Act, enables states to opt out of the costly and burdensome NCLB law. The LEARN Act gives control back to the parents, the teachers, and the local elected officials, allowing them to pursue local and state education initiatives based on what they believe will best help their students. This means that states and local school districts can set their own standards, enforce their own penalties for failure, and establish their own goals for teachers and students.
My bill allows residents of the states that opt out of NCLB to receive a tax credit equal to the amount that they would have otherwise received in federal funding. So schools won't be penalized with a loss of funding if they choose to exercise control over their own education destiny.
If America is truly interested in improving our nation's public education, we need to remove Washington bureaucrats from the equation and return the control and accountability to local communities who are intimately engaged in the education of our children. We need to empower them to make decisions about what's best for their children.
Congressman Scott Garrett