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Coldwater Daily Reporter: Local Control Key In Educational Decisions

September 4, 2013
Opinion Editorial

A successful education system and local control go hand-in-hand.  Likewise, unnecessary interference from the federal government can hurt students' ability to get a great education. If we want to see more students graduating and finding the jobs they need, then we need to get the federal government out of the way, restore local control, empower parents and support effective teachers.

During a recent town hall, a constituent of mine who happened to be a teacher told me she was frustrated that the federal government required schools add certain programs, but then just left them to figure out the cost. She said this was not only unfair, but left schools at a disadvantage. She's right. The Obama Administration has widened, and continues to widen, the umbrella of government control over our nation's schools.  This also means less control for parents.   No one better understands the needs of students than their parents, teachers and school administrators who spend time with them every day. Current law however, suggests otherwise. 

Fortunately, my colleagues and I know how important a good education is, and have been working hard to address issues holding the system back. Recently, the House passed the Student Success Act which puts control back in the hands of parents, school leaders and local communities. The bill eliminatesnearly 70 ineffective or poorly performing education programs and removes the Secretary of Education's ability to incentivize states to adopt Common Core standards. It also repeals the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) metric, a one-size fits all school evaluation system that doesn't end up fitting anybody. Instead, it allows states and school districts to create their own accountability systems.

The Student Success Act supports effective teachers by allowing state and local districts to create their own teacher evaluation systems. Teachers should be evaluated by their ability to keep students challenged and progressing in the classroom - not just their résumé.

Statistics show nationally that only 34% of 8th graders are proficient in reading and nearly 1 in 4 high school students fail to graduate on time. We need to get the federal government out of the way and instead work with the teachers, parents, superintendents, and state leaders who already are working hard to raise the standards of our schools in Michigan and throughout the nation.

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