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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5 - Student Success Act

February 25, 2015


(House Rules)

(Rep. Kline, R-MN, and 11 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, as approved by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Congress must act in a bipartisan manner to reform the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to help States prepare all children for college and careers by giving them flexibility from No Child Left Behind mandates. However, H.R. 5 represents a significant step backwards in the efforts to help all of the Nation's children and their families prepare for their futures.

H.R. 5 abdicates the historic Federal role in elementary and secondary education of ensuring the educational progress of all of America's students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, and students of color. It fails to maintain the core expectation that States and school districts will take serious, sustained, and targeted actions when necessary to remedy achievement gaps and reform persistently low-performing schools. H.R. 5 fails to identify opportunity gaps or remedy inequities in access to the resources and supports students need to succeed such as challenging academic courses, excellent teachers and principals, afterschool enrichment or expanded learning time, and other academic and non-academic supports.

Rather than investing more in schools, H.R. 5 would allow States to divert education funding away from the schools and students who need it the most through the so-called "portability" provision. The bill's caps on Federal education spending would lock in recent Federal Budget cuts for the rest of the decade, and the bill would allow funds currently required to be used for education to be used for other purposes, such as spending on sports stadiums or tax cuts for the wealthy. H.R. 5 fails to make critical investments for this Nation's students, including high-quality preschool for America's children, support for America's teachers and principals, and investment in innovative solutions for the public education system.

The Administration agrees on the need for high-quality statewide annual testing as required in H.R. 5, so parents and teachers know how children and schools are doing from year to year and to allow for consistent measurement of school and student performance across the State. However, this bill should do more to reduce redundant and unnecessary testing, such as asking States to limit the amount of time spent on standardized testing and requiring parental notification when testing is consuming too much classroom learning time.

The Administration opposes H.R. 5 in its current form for all of these reasons, but particularly because it would deny Federal funds to the classrooms that need them the most and fails to assure parents that policymakers and educators will take action when students are not learning.

If the President were presented with H.R. 5, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5 - Student Success Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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