Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) today reintroduced the Local Education Authority Returns Now (LEARN) Act, H.R. 2394, to return educational control back to the states. The LEARN Act was introduced with 18 original co-sponsors.
"I believe it is in the best interest of our students and our country for parents and local authorities to be in charge of education," said Garrett upon reintroducing the LEARN Act. "The invasion of the federal government on the reserved powers of the states to set their own education standards has been going on for decades. And, in the process, all across the nation, parents, teachers, administrators, town school boards, and local elected officials--the people closest to and most directly responsible for the students--have been shut out of the process. In order for our students to compete in the twenty-first century, we need to cut the ties of federal mandates that go along with federal money."
"Today, I'm reintroducing The LEARN Act because it would ensure that accountability is transferred from bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. to the people who know the schools and students personally. 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."
Background: The LEARN Act will give states the option to opt out of No Child Left Behind. In return, the federal government would provide taxpayers of the opt-out state a tax credit, thereby keeping money in the pockets of taxpayers instead of sending it to Washington, D.C. 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.