Alexander: “The Republican Majority Kept Its Promise to Repeal the Federal Common Core Mandate”

Law fixing No Child Left Behind is “the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century”

Posted on February 16, 2016

Murfreesboro, Tenn., Feb. 16 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander today said that the Republican Senate majority “kept its promise to repeal the federal Common Core mandate, reverse the trend toward a national school board and restore local control in K-12 education” by fixing No Child Left Behind in 2015. The president signed the law’s replacement, the Every Student Succeeds Act, into law on Dec. 10.

Alexander said the new law was called “a Christmas miracle.”

Alexander continued: “What made it a miracle is that governors, teachers, superintendents, and others who usually don’t work well together passed what the Wall Street Journal called ‘the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century.’ The backlash to Washington trying to tell 100,000 schools what they should be doing caused people on both the left and the right to remember that the path to higher standards and better teaching and real accountability is community by community, classroom by classroom, state by state, and not through the federal government dictating the solution.

Newsweek magazine called No Child Left Behind ‘the law that everybody wants fixed.’ Everybody was upset about it. Teachers, parents, students, governors, chief state school officers, superintendents—all of them worked with us to reverse the trend toward a National School Board because we all agreed that the people who know best how to improve student achievement are those closest to the students.”

Speaking to the Murfreesboro Rotary luncheon, Alexander, who is chairman of the Senate education committee, said, “When I was campaigning for reelection, I told Tennessee voters that if they would re-elect me to the Senate that I would end the federal Common Core mandate and that’s exactly what we did in this Republican Congress. The federal Common Core mandate is history. But a law isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on unless implemented properly, so I intend to continue to make good on that campaign pledge by maintaining aggressive oversight of the new law to ensure it is implemented as written.”

Alexander said one of his main focuses as he pursues oversight of the new law is to keep this coalition together as the U.S. Department of Education implements the new law.

Alexander then encouraged Murfreesboro Rotary members to join the effort.

“Many of you have children and grandchildren in Murfreesboro and Rutherford County schools. Their teachers need to hear from you. So does everyone from your school board on up to your state legislators and governor, as well as your senators and congressmen. We need your feedback as the state and your local school district begin to set their own high standards of learning without Washington telling them what to do or how to do it. I’m asking for your help. Keep the pressure on. Be sure to stay involved and stay in touch with me and my office as we work to ensure Washington stays out of our classrooms.”

Alexander outlined the ways that the Every Student Succeeds Act restores control back to parents, teachers and local school boards:

“Flying to Washington once a week doesn’t make us cherish our children any more than their parents or teachers do, so this law prohibits Washington from mandating Common Core or any specific academic standards. The law also prohibits Washington from deciding which schools and teachers are succeeding or failing.

“The law eliminates the waivers from No Child Left Behind which allowed the U.S. Department of Education to become, in effect, a National School Board for 42 states, including Tennessee. Additionally, the new law strengthens charter schools, providing parents with greater school choice.”

For more about how the new law ends the federal Common Core mandate and returns K-12 schools to local control, click HERE

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For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

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