State leaders including Rep. Roby, agree with the BCA on control of education standards

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby who introduced the “Defense of State Authority Over Education Act” in May said that its language is part of an overall education bill sponsored by the chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Roby, R-Ala., a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, said the Student Success Act of 2013, H.R. 5 introduced by U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., includes language in her bill that strongly defends states’ authority over education policy decisions. Roby introduced the Defending State Authority Over Education Act on May 22.

Kline introduced his bill on Thursday. He is chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The bill seeks to reform areas of current education law, “including affirming the authority of states to determine curricula and set standards free from the coercive influence of the federal government,” Roby said.

“Over the past few weeks we have received overwhelming support for our efforts to rein in the federal government’s intrusion into state education policy decisions,” Roby said. “Parents, teachers, education advocates and state leaders from all over the country are concerned about the Obama Administration tying funding and special treatment to certain standards or curricula.”

Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary said Roby’s bill is a common-sense proposal in support of high education standards that challenge students. He said standards should be left up to states, parents, and the business community.

“It is not the federal government’s job to dictate state standards or curriculum, especially through a carrot-and-stick approach,” Canary said. “Alabama’s ability to set high standards gives our students the greatest opportunity to compete in a 21st century global workforce that requires highly-skilled workers.”

Roby said Kline’s bill will redefine the federal government’s role in education policymaking. She said she expects it to make it to the House floor for a vote.

The Student Success Act of 2013 would restore local control, support more effective teachers, reduce the federal education presence, and empower parents, Roby said. Her bill would prohibit the federal government from making special funding contingent on whether states use certain curriculum or assessment policies.

Roby said her bill is getting support from state leaders including Governor Robert Bentley, House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn; Alabama Association of School Boards Executive Director Sally Howell; School Boards of Alabama Association Executive Director Eric Mackey; Sen. Dick Brewbaker, R-Pike Road, chairman of the Senate Education Policy Committee; Rep. Jay Love, R-Montgomery, chairman of the House Ways and Means Education Committee, and Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville.

“I am strongly opposed to tying federal dollars to education decisions that should be made at the state level,” Bentley said. “Furthermore, I am opposed to any collection of non-academic student or teacher data.”

-Dana Beyerle