Senate Passes Local Control of Education Act as a Budget Amendment

Photo credit: UpstateNYer (CC-By-SA 3.0)
Photo credit: UpstateNYer (CC-By-SA 3.0)

The U.S. Senate today passed the Local Control of Education Act, sponsored by U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-Louisiana), as a budget amendment.

Vitter, who once supported the Common Core, filed the bill back in January.  U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Steve Daines (R-Montana) were co-sponsors.  The Senate Republican Caucus voted unanimously for the measure that amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 with the following language at the end:

“(e) Prohibition Of Federal Government Mandating Common Standards, Programs Of Instruction, Curricula, Assessments, Or Academic Standards.—An officer or employee of the Federal Government shall not directly or indirectly, through grants, contracts, or other cooperative agreements under this Act (including waivers under section 9401)—

“(1) mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency, or school’s specific instructional content or any specific academic standard, assessment, curriculum, or program of instruction, including through any requirement, direction, condition, or mandate to adopt

“(A) the Common Core State Standards developed under the Common Core State Standards Initiative, any other academic standards common to a number of States, or any specific statewide or nationally recognized content standards; or

“(B) any assessment, instructional content, or curriculum aligned to, or based on, specific academic standards, including any of the standards described in subparagraph (A);

“(2) incentivize a State, local educational agency, or school to adopt any specific instructional content, academic standard, assessment, curriculum, commonality of standards or assessments, or program of instruction described in paragraph (1), which shall include providing any priority, preference, or special consideration during the application process based on any specific content, standard, assessment, curriculum, commonality, or program; or

“(3) make financial support available in a manner that is conditioned upon a State, local educational agency, or school’s adoption of any specific instructional content, academic standard, assessment, curriculum, commonality of standards or assessments, or program of instruction described in paragraph (1), even if such requirements are specified in section 14006 or 14007 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111–5; 123 Stat. 281) or any other Act.”.

(b) Conforming Amendment.—Section 9527(a) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7907(a)) is amended by striking “curriculum, program of instruction, or”.

SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON REQUIRING ADOPTION OF COMMON STANDARDS WITH RESPECT TO WAIVERS.

(a) Prohibition.—Section 9401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7861) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(h) Prohibition On Requiring Certain Standards For Waivers.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall not require that a State, local educational agency, Indian tribe, or school adopt, as a prerequisite or condition for any waiver under this section, any specific instructional content, academic standard, assessment, curriculum, or program of instruction, including—

“(A) the Common Core State Standards developed under the Common Core State Standards Initiative, any other academic standards common to a number of States, or any specific statewide or nationally recognized content standards; or

“(B) any assessment, instructional content, or curriculum aligned to, or based on, any specific academic standards, including any of the standards described in subparagraph (A).

“(2) EFFECT ON PREVIOUSLY ISSUED WAIVERS.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—Any requirement described in paragraph (1) that was required for a waiver provided to a State, local educational agency, Indian tribe, or school under this section before the date of enactment of the Local Control of Education Act shall be void and have no force of law.

“(B) PROHIBITED ACTIONS.—The Secretary shall not—

“(i) enforce any requirement that is void pursuant to subparagraph (A); and

“(ii) require the State, local educational agency, Indian tribe, or school to reapply for a waiver, or to agree to any other conditions to replace any requirements that is void pursuant to subparagraph (A), until the end of the period of time specified under the waiver.

“(C) NO EFFECT ON OTHER PROVISIONS.—Any other provisions or requirements of a waiver provided under this section before the date of enactment of the Local Control of Education Act that are not affected by subparagraph (A) shall remain in effect for the period of time specified under the waiver.”.

SEC. 4. PROHIBITION IN RACE TO THE TOP FUNDING.

Title XIV of Division A of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111–5) is amended by inserting after section 14007 the following:

“SEC. 14007A. PROHIBITION ON REQUIRING OR PREFERRING COMMON STANDARDS.

“The prohibitions of section 9527(e) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 shall apply to each grant awarded under section 14006 or 14007 in the same manner as such prohibitions apply to a grant awarded under such Act.”

So if this becomes law states who, under the 10th Amendment, already have the ability to drop the Common Core can do so without fear of reprisal from the U.S. Department of Education if they have a NCLB flexibility waiver or Race to the Top grant.

It would also prevent conditional grants like what we saw with Race to the Top.

In related news… U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) released co-signers of a letter they started circulating earlier this month asking for an appropriations rider to block  further federal overreach in pushing the Common Core standards and assessments on states.

Vitter’s amendment may accomplish that.

Here is the final Senate letter and House letter.  The co-signers are:

Senators Grassley, Roberts, Inhofe, Fischer, Isakson, Daines, Cruz, Lee, Purdue, Enzi, Barrasso, Sessions, Vitter

Representatives King, Babin, Benishek, Blackburn, Blum, Byrne, Crawford, Jeff Duncan, Forbes, Franks, Garrett, Gibbs, Gohmert, Gosar, Grothman, Hartzler, Hensarling, Huelskamp, Hultgren, Jenkins, Johnson, Walter B. Jones, Kelly, Latta, Massie, Jeff Miller, Olson, Pompeo, Posey, Rohrabacher, Rothfus, Salmon, Ann Wagner, Wenstrup

2 thoughts on “Senate Passes Local Control of Education Act as a Budget Amendment

  1. Too much money and power behind Common Core for this to do much good. Pearson is in the process of rewriting the international test, PISA, to align with Common Core and is due to be released in 2018. This is beyond America. It is global. I have no faith this amendment will do anything to stop the take over and control of future generations of children through education. Obama will never sign it if it does what they are trying to make us think it will do. And I believe Vitter knows it will never be signed. If it does the money supporting CC will overrule and Governors will follow the money just like they have been doing for years. There is only ONE solution and that is to totally shut down the US Dept. of Education. Until that happens we will never stop this train wreck.

  2. At least this is a start. Praying that it will make it through the entire legislative process and finally stop this illegal federal attempt to dictate educational standards at local levels.

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