Just the Facts: Allowing States to Opt Out of NCLB

American Enterprise Institute’s Max Eden has written a post criticizing our Sentinel Brief on the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, the Student Success Act (H.R. 5). In it, Eden points to a number of perceived inconsistencies in our position.

Claim: On H.R. 5’s extension of NCLB mandates, A-PLUS itself requires “each State…[to] establish and implement a single system of academic standards and academic assessments.”
Eden has apparently not read the Walker-DeSantis A-PLUS amendment that is pending with the Rules Committee, hopefully to be offered to H.R. 5. There is no such requirement for states to set up a testing system.

Claim: On H.R. 5’s lack of program eliminations, A-PLUS itself does not eliminate programs and amounts to mere consolidation.
A-PLUS is a real block grant to states that allows them to bypass federal mandates. True, A-PLUS itself does not eliminate programs, although Heritage Action believes that is an important aspect of any comprehensive education bill, like H.R. 5. A-PLUS is one part of needed education reform.

Claim: On H.R. 5’s mandate of a statewide accountability system, A-PLUS itself has a mandated statewide accountability system of its own.
H.R. 5 requires a much different sort of statewide accountability system that is designed for “interventions to be implemented at the local level for Title I schools the state determines to be poorly performing.” A-PLUS envisions a different accountability system altogether that is simply designed to give parents information about the progress being made in academic achievement. It has nothing to do with intervening in local schools.

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Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind: The Student Success Act (H.R. 5)

Status: On February 11th, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) to reauthorize and reform the No Child Left Behind Act through 2021. A number of misleading claims are being made in the service of passing this bill. Below is a summary of these claims and detailed responses. Heritage Action is opposed to H.R. 5.

CLAIM: H.R. 5 replaces the current national accountability system with state-led accountability systems, freeing the states from federal interference.

FACT: Although the proposal wisely eliminates counterproductive and prescriptive Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) mandates, H.R. 5 maintains the current NCLB mandates for states to establish standards in reading and math and to test kids annually between grades 3-8 and once in high school. H.R. 5 orders that academic achievement standards “include the same knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement expected of all public school students in the state.” States must also use “the same academic assessments…to measure the academic achievement of all public school students in the state.” Taken together, these twin mandates direct the state to establish a single uniform assessment, limiting the ability of local schools to determine their own curriculum. Experts agree a well-rounded education is in the best interests of the child and that NCLB has damaged the ability of local school districts to set locally-driven curriculum that reflects the desires of families in their communities. The mandates in H.R. 5 perpetuate this problem.

Read the entire Heritage Action Sentinel Brief.

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Action Alert: Take a stand for life

Today, the House should have been voting to ban abortions after five months.

Even though six in 10 Americans supported the bill, the House caved to pressure from the bipartisan liberal establishment.

The question stands: Why did they abandon a bill that would have saved 11,000 lives?

This would have been a huge step forward for protecting the lives of unborn children. Instead, the Republican-controlled House abandoned a popular, principled bill they passed without controversy in 2013.

Call your lawmaker and find out if they supported pulling this bill from the floor.

Call Now

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Make the Call Now to Fight Obama’s Amnesty

Thursday’s House Vote is for Show

House Republicans are planning to give up their only leverage over Barack Obama and Harry Reid. They want to pass a long-term spending bill that doesn’t defund the President’s executive amnesty. Instead, they are planning a show vote today against Obama’s amnesty, and then promising to fight anew next year.

This course of action is unacceptable. If they’re not willing to fight now, experience tells us they won’t ever be.

Call Now

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Act Now: Urge Congress to Fight Obama’s Amnesty

While it is impossible to know exactly what the text of the President’s new executive orders will contain, the press has gotten wind of several possible actions the administration could take.

Foremost, he is likely to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This action would further prohibit as many as 12,000 immigration agents (according to the NYT) from enforcing the law. According to a recent study by the Migration Policy Institute, when all told, this specific change alone could result in anywhere from 430,000 to 1.9 million newly authorized immigrants.

The administration may also decide to extend deferred action (which will likely be accompanied by  new work permits) to illegal immigrants who are parents or spouses of those included under the DACA  umbrella. This expansion could reach as many as 3.8 million new immigrants, according to the same  study.

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Other unilateral options include exempting those convicted of non-violent crimes from removal proceedings, protections for employed farm workers who have entered illegally, and foregoing removal orders that are a certain number of years old. Depending on how far back the memorandum extends, this policy could conceivably incorporate the majority of the 11 million illegal immigrants currently living inside our borders.

Americans, having voted against these policies in the midterm election, are rightly incensed.

The possibility of further executive action has resulted in even the pro-amnesty likes of Karl Rove calling on Congress to use “every tool available” to stop the President:

Put riders on appropriations bills that say no money shall be spent to execute this policy. Pass a bill that specifically holds him accountable… put the riders in there that say you can’t spend any money on these kinds of things.

Now is the time to tell your member of Congress it is up to him or her to demand the executive branch respects the parameters of the Constitution.

Take Action Now

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