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As one of our more than 6 million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your representative and your senators today and urge them to support Senator Pat Roberts’ LOCAL (Learning Opportunities Created at the Local) Level Act “to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to prohibit Federal education mandates, and for other purposes,” and to co-sponsor the bill if they have not already done so.
Through the Race to the Top grant program, Congress and the Department of Education have been jointly responsible in expanding the federal government’s role in the local classroom. States were coerced into accepting a set of college and career ready standards common to a majority of states (the only choice being Common Core State Standards) in exchange for No Child Left Behind waivers, the ability to maintain Title I funding access, promises to develop longitudinal data tracking systems, and billions of dollars in taxpayer money to put these programs in place.
Under these mandates, children consistently lose and big government wins. The federal government is using poor children as bargaining chips by dangling Title I funding access in exchange for state compliance and forcing states to choose between two bad federal programs, No Child Left Behind or Common Core Standards and Assessments. Senator Robert’s legislation is an important first step in eliminating the federal government’s role in the local classroom and refocusing states efforts on children not bureaucratic mandates.
The Act recognizes that actions of the Department of Education through Race to the Top have violated multiple pieces of ESEA, including:
Section 9527, which prohibits the Federal Government from “mandating, directing, or controlling” curriculum, resources, or allocation of resources, and mandating spending related to such.
Section 9529, which “prohibits the Federal Government from funding the development, pilot testing, field testing, implementation, administration, or distribution of any Federally sponsored national test in reading, mathematics, or any other subject, unless specifically and explicitly authorized by law.”
The LOCAL Level Act prohibits the federal government from ever again, directly or indirectly, incentivizing through grants, contracts, or other means, influencing content, standards, assessments, curriculum, instruction, resources, etc. It also ends current practice of tying other sources of funding to program participation AND prohibits any future iterations of Race to the Top from providing funding associated with assessments.
We encourage our members to (1) ask their Senator to co-sponsor the LOCAL Level Act, and (2) ask their representative to offer companion legislation in the House.
Whitney Neal Director of Grassroots, FreedomWorks