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Despite False Rhetoric, K-12 Education Reform Legislation is a Step in the Right Direction

Today, the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce is holding an open discussion on the Student Success Act (H.R. 3989) and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990). These thoughtful proposals will reduce federal intervention in schools, provide state and local leaders much needed flexibility, and help get better teachers in classrooms.

Sadly, critics are determined to spread misinformation about these responsible proposals, claiming the bills allow states to shortchange certain student populations by removing accountability requirements and loosening the federal government’s grip on schools. Committee Republicans know the policies included in H.R. 3989 and H.R. 3990 represent a step forward for our nation’s education system. It’s time to separate the myths from the facts in the K-12 reform debate.

MYTH: When it comes to students’ needs, Washington knows best.

FACT: Lawmakers and bureaucrats in the nation’s capital will never have the same integral understanding of the diverse needs of students in cities like New Orleans, Indianapolis, or Tampa Bay as the teachers, administrators, and parents who spend time with them every day.

FACT: State and local education officials are already successfully implementing their own reforms, including groundbreaking accountability and teacher evaluation systems that are leading to higher student achievement levels and improving the quality of schools.

FACT: Rather than continuing to force states to adopt policies that reflect the priorities of Washington bureaucrats, the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act will give control back to the state and local education officials who best understand the unique needs of their students.

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MYTH: Republicans are advancing partisan education legislation without allowing any input from Democrats. 

FACT: In the first session of the 112th Congress, the committee held 11 hearings and welcomed dozens of experts to discuss the challenges facing states and school districts across the country.  

FACT: House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans sought to involve their Democrat counterparts in every step of this process. In addition to the hearings, committee leaders held multiple bipartisan meetings to discuss solutions to education challenges. These discussions shaped the policies included in the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act.

FACT: Draft versions of the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act were released five weeks before formal introduction, allowing for public comment and a transparent process.

FACT: Input received on the draft proposals was incorporated into the as-introduced versions of the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act.

FACT: The Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act will move through an open process, starting with today’s legislative hearing in which Republicans, Democrats, and education stakeholders will discuss the merits of the proposals and offer suggestions for improvement.

FACT: Both pieces of legislation will be open for amendment, and committee Republicans look forward to a robust debate.

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For more information on the Student Success Act, or to read a bill summary or fact sheet, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov. Additional resources on the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act, including a bill summary and fact sheet are also available on the website.

To read more myths vs. facts, click here.

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