Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) today introduced H.R. 3176, the Local Education Authority Returns Now (LEARN) Act, to return educational sovereignty back to the states. The LEARN Act was introduced with 17 original co-sponsors.
"I have grown increasingly concerned with a recurring pattern we have seen over the last decade whereby decisions of education are being wrestled away from state and local officials by bureaucrats in Washington, DC," said Garrett upon introducing the LEARN Act. "I do not believe it is in the best interest of our students or our country for the federal government to be dictating a one size fits all, top down approach to education. In order for our students to compete in the 21st century, we need to cut the ties of federal mandates that go along with federal money."
"The LEARN Act would ensure that accountability is transferred from bureaucrats in Washington, DC to the people who know the schools and students personally," added Garrett. "If we are truly interested in transforming our public education system, we need to remove Washington bureaucrats from the equation and return control and accountability to local communities where they can truly effect change in the areas they know it is needed most."
The LEARN Act will give states the option to opt out of receiving federal money. In return, the federal government would allow taxpayers of the state to take a credit off the top of their federal taxes, thereby keeping money in the pockets of taxpayers instead of sending it to Washington, DC to fund bloated government bureaucracies. This method immediately cuts the authoritative and financial strings of the federal government so that state and local governments can set their own educational standards while ensuring maximum parental involvement.
The LEARN Act will work in three steps:
1. States Opt Out -- A state arrives at an independent decision that the administrative requirements and the burden of compliance is not worth the amount of federal education aid it receives from the Department of Education and the state elects to opt out.
2. Funding Calculated -- The Secretary of the Treasury determines which states have opted out and determines how much federal funding the state is eligible to receive under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
3. Tax Credits Awarded -- The taxpayers of the opt-out states receive a tax credit proportionally equal to the taxpayers' state tax burden.