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States Need Flexibility on Education


Location: Washington, DC

Washington needs to get out of the business of deciding whether local schools are succeeding or failing. U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., wants states to have more control over their education performance standards and introduced an amendment yesterday to an early and secondary education reform bill that would provide for more state and local control by eliminating federal mandates on how educational agencies identify and improve low-performing schools.

"I believe we need to empower states to develop their own systems to identify schools that need assistance in meeting state-developed standards and ask local districts to develop their own strategies for improving these schools," said Enzi. "My amendment would maintain state and local control in developing and implementing academic standards, academic assessments, and accountability systems for schools."

Enzi also voiced his concern over new educating reporting standards in the education bill that will unfairly burden teachers with almost 500 new data reporting requirements and calculations.

"Especially in rural areas, it is a one room school teacher who is going to have to collect this data at the bottom and pass it on up the line. I think that is a pretty big burden to put on the teachers. I think we ought to have a little bit of confidence in the states, and their capabilities, and their state school operation. We need to remember the pressure that the states are put under by parents and legislatures, and let them have a little bit of flexibility," said Enzi.
This week the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee is considering the Strengthening America's Schools Act of 2013, which would reform aspects of the law known as "No Child Left Behind."

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