FreedomWorks is proud to announce that our bill of the month for September 2019 is the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A PLUS) Act, H.R. 3149, introduced by Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), which seeks to provide states with the option to opt out of onerous Obama- and Bush-era federal education requirements.
As communities across the nation know, one-size-fits-all national education requirements are a disaster for schools and their students. Just take one look at Common Core and this is evident.
Fortunately, Rep. Walker’s A PLUS Act, which boasts nearly three dozen cosponsors, would take a serious stab at reversing some of this harm done by overreaches of the federal government into education. On this bill, Rep. Walker is joined by such principled champions of freedom as Reps. Roy, Budd, Meadows, Cloud, Norman, among numerous others.
As Rep. Walker said when he introduced the bill in the last Congress, “Innovation starts in our communities, not in Washington. A-PLUS will restore local control and empower parents and teachers to help ensure each child has access to a quality education and the possibility to achieve their dreams.”
The A PLUS Act would give states the ability to consolidate all funding for programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in order to improve educational opportunities and “reduce unnecessary fiscal and accounting requirements.” The bill also strengthens state and local control by providing the option to decline participation in cumbersome requirements attached to federal education programs. Therefore, the state would be better able to purpose federal education funding in a way that the state sees fit to serve the needs of its students.
Furthermore, the A PLUS Act would prioritize academic achievement and make schools and communities accountable for the success of all students, by requiring states that take advantage of the legislation to devise an individual system of accountability with the federal government to ensure that states are meeting the educational goals set by each state.
Recently, Rep. Walker pointed out in an op-ed in the Greensboro News & Record another issue with federal funds for education: they are too often used on compliance costs or put toward projects that don’t align with schools’ needs. “Every dollar spent on compliance or earmarked for a specific project is a dollar not going to where our community needs those resources the most,” he wrote.
FreedomWorks appreciates the work that Rep. Walker has done to lift up the message of and make strong cases for increased school choice and decreased federal control of education. The A PLUS Act represents many of the core principles that advocates of federalism work to promote, and we hope others in the House will join Rep. Walker in supporting this legislation.