Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, on a vote of 221 -- 207, with Alaskan Congressman Don Young's support. The Student Success Act is the first major legislative effort to reform the Elementary and Secondary Education Act since the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, and made much needed changes to the K-12 education law.
"Most educators throughout the country agree that No Child Left Behind created a flawed system and needed to be replaced with education policy that left more decision making up to individual states, school districts, and parents. The bill passed today does that, eliminating burdensome regulations and unreasonable standards for many states, including Alaska," Rep. Young said. "H.R. 5 is a step towards reforming outdated educational paradigms that are holding America's students back and allowing for the development of learning systems that are individually tailored to the particular needs of communities."
H.R. 5, The Student Success Act will:
- Eliminate Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) standards for states, which have proved to be burdensome one-size-fits-all requirements rather than catalysts for states to improve student performance. H.R. 5 replaces AYP with state-determined accountability systems, thereby returning authority for measuring student performance to states and school districts.
- Eliminate federally mandated interventions currently required of poor performing schools, giving states and districts maximum flexibility to develop appropriate school improvement strategies and rewards for their schools.
- Maintain the requirement that states and school districts collect and report disaggregated data on student achievement and high school graduation rates, while also streamlining data reporting. Disaggregated data is critically important for parents, school districts, and policy makers to have a realistic and comprehensive understanding of how different student populations are performing along with the unique factors that contribute to students successes and setbacks.
- Give parents more control over their children's educational future and increase parental engagement in schools.
Rep. Young Amendment to Protect Alaska Native & Native Hawaiian Education Programs:
Contained within the bill was an important amendment sponsored by Rep. Young that restored $32 million in funding for the Alaska Native Education Equity program. If not for Congressman Young's amendment, H.R. 5 would have eliminated the Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Equity programs which fund culturally-based learning and meaningful education support for both state's Native populations.
"Native students continue to face major barriers to their success, and these programs are key to eliminating the disparities that continue to exist between the academic achievement of Native students and their non-Native peers. With the hard work and support from the Hawaiian House delegation, we were able to fend off these cuts while also making major policy improvements to the programs."
"Like most legislation, this bill isn't perfect. In particular, I have concerns with portability provisions that were added during the amendment process and would allow Title I dollars (programs for disadvantaged kids) to follow students as they switch schools, cutting off funding streams to schools mid-year. Portability would force schools to fire teachers and cut down programs in the middle of academic years, and would hinder the ability of schools to budget in advance. These provisions would be harmful to rural Alaska by creating a snowballing effect of funding and families leaving villages. However H.R. 5 is an important step to get reauthorization legislation to conference with the Senate where these problems can be addressed."