As one of our more than 6.7 million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your senators today and urge them to support Senator Pat Roberts’ Learning Opportunities Created at the Local Level (LOCAL) 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, and billions of dollars in taxpayer money to put these programs in place.
Education is fundamentally a state and local issue, but by issuing mandates in exchange for funding, the federal government has robbed states of the flexibility to implement programs that work. Senator Roberts’ 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 states to adopt federal standards 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.
Education funding shouldn’t be used as a hostage to force states to implement Common Core or any other arbitrary federal standard. I hope you’ll contact your senators and urge them to support and co-sponsor the LOCAL Level Act, S. 182.
President & CEO,