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.