House Education & Workforce Committee

Kline, Ryan, Upton Respond to King v. Burwell Oral Arguments

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:30am

Chairmen John Kline (R-MN), Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Fred Upton (R-MI) responded to today’s Supreme Court oral arguments in the King v. Burwell case. The chairmen, who attended this morning’s oral arguments, are leading the House Republican working group to develop a plan to replace the president’s health care law over the long term and protect Americans affected by the decision in this case. Earlier this week they detailed some of their ideas to provide an off-ramp to the president’s health care law. 

We are here today because the Obama administration forced a flawed and partisan law on the American people. Its implementation has been one problem after another, and today’s case underscores just how far beyond the law the administration has gone to prop up this fatally flawed plan. The law is clear – and the Supreme Court should order the IRS to enforce the law as it is written. If it does, we will be ready to act. While the president insists he has no plan B, which would be malpractice if true, we are preparing a thoughtful solution that frees the American people both from the consequences of the administration’s illegal implementation, but also from this law’s many costly mandates. We will continue to work with our colleagues in the House and in the states on responsible policies that put the American people back in charge of their health care. There is a better way.  

Learn more about their plan here.

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Witnesses Support Congressional Effort to Block NLRB’s Ambush Election Rule

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:00am

The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a legislative hearing today to examine H.J. Res 29, a measure to block the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) unprecedented re-write of union election procedures. In December 2014, the NLRB finalized its ambush election rule, which significantly shortens the timeframe of union elections, obstructs workers’ right to a fair election debate, and violates employees’ privacy by granting union organizers greater access to their personal information. The House is expected to advance the resolution in the coming weeks.

During the hearing, members and witnesses discussed the urgent need for Congress to overturn a rule that will have devastating consequences for workers and their families.

“[The ambush election rule] severely cripples the right of each worker to make an informed decision,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL). “Deciding whether or not to join a union is a deeply personal choice. The outcome of that choice will affect workers’ wages, benefits, and other employment concerns for years. Workers deserve an opportunity to get the facts and discuss these matters with friends, family members, coworkers, and yes, employers too. Under this administration, the National Labor Relations Board is determined to deny workers this fundamental right.”

Labor attorney and former NLRB staff member, Arnold Perl, echoed these concerns: “[Workers’] rights have been abandoned by the new rule. As a result of quickie elections, employees may not be able to hear all the facts they need to know about risks of unionization. To the detriment of employees, the new rule imposes built-in obstacles which prevent or impede reasoned and informed choices by employees.”

Perl also outlined how the board’s regulatory scheme “tramples on employees’ rights of privacy," noting, "employers are required to turn over employees’ personal email addresses, cell phone numbers, shift hours and locations, and job classifications, even if the employee says he or she does not want to be contacted.”

“The ambush election rules mandate a serious invasion of employees’ privacy,” testified Glenn Taubman with the National Right to Work Legal Foundation. “Once employees’ information is handed over, unions can spread this personal information to union officers, organizers, supporters inside the shop and out, and to the entire internet, if they choose. The board places no real restrictions or safeguards on how unions use of disseminate this sensitive personal information.”

The board’s ambush election rule is further proof it has abandoned any effort to serve as a fair and impartial referee of the law. Speaking on behalf of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Roger King described the rules as “an unprecedented partisan policy initiative favoring organized labor” and warned it “will further erode its credibility as a neutral arbiter of labor relation issues in the workplace.”

Rep. Byrne concluded with the urgent need for congressional action: “I am hopeful … we will send to the president a resolution that reins in this activist board and rolls back this destructive regulatory scheme. The president will then have to decide whether he stands with Big Labor, or with the nation’s workers and job creators.”

To learn more about today’s hearing, read witness testimony, or to watch an archived webcast, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.

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Byrne Statement: Hearing on "H.J. Res. 29, Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board relating to representation case procedures"

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:00am

We are here today to discuss House Joint Resolution 29, which provides for Congressional disapproval under the Congressional Review Act of the National Labor Relations Board’s recently released rule that would drastically affect long-standing policies governing union elections.

For those members who served on the committee in previous congresses, our discussion today may elicit a dreadful sense of déjà vu. That’s because for nearly four years, the Obama National Labor Relations Board has sought to radically alter long-standing policies governing union elections, and as the Board pursued this misguided effort, House Republicans, led by this committee, have consistently fought to defend the rights of America’s workers and job creators.

The stated purpose of the board’s rule is to shorten the time between the filing of a petition for a union election and the election date. The Board achieves this in a number of troubling ways, such as limiting the opportunity for a full and fair hearing of issues that may arise during the election proceedings and denying parties an opportunity to raise certain contested issues to the Board. The Board’s rule also grants union organizers unprecedented access to employees’ personal information.

These are by no means modest changes and they go far beyond simply “modernizing” the election process. In truth, the Board’s real goal is to dramatically tilt the outcome of elections in favor of union leaders by ambushing employers and workers without allowing them to fully understand their decision. The American people are on the losing end of the Board’s extreme culture of union favoritism.

The Board’s rule eviscerates the right of employers to speak freely to employees during an organizing campaign. Roughly 70 years ago, Congress amended the National Labor Relations Act to ensure employers have an opportunity to communicate with employees about union representation. Congress took this action not only to promote the voices of employers, but also to protect employee choice through a robust debate of important issues. The Board is overturning, by executive fiat, what Congress has expressly permitted by law.

The Board’s rule also severely cripples the right of each worker to make an informed decision. Deciding whether or not to join a union is a deeply personal choice. The outcome of that choice will affect workers’ wages, benefits, and other employment concerns for years. Workers deserve an opportunity to get the facts and discuss these matters with friends, family members, coworkers, and yes, employers too. Under this administration, the National Labor Relations Board is determined to deny workers this fundamental right.

Finally, adding insult to injury, the Board is placing the privacy and safety of America’s workers and their families in jeopardy. There is absolutely no reason why union organizers need employees’ phone numbers, email addresses, work schedules, and home addresses. Union coercion and intimidation is real and it is our responsibility to help stop it.

It is for these reasons this resolution is so urgently needed. In the past, Congress has tried offering a legislative response to the Board’s ambush election rule, one that would ensure workers, employers, and unions continue to enjoy protections that have been in place for decades. I want to thank Chairman Kline for his continued leadership in this area. Unfortunately, our Democrat colleagues in the Senate refused to stand with us.

However, I am hopeful with new allies in the Senate and the authority vested in Congress through the Congressional Review Act, we will send to the president a resolution that reins in this activist board and rolls back this destructive regulatory scheme. The president will then have to decide whether he stands with Big Labor, or with the nation’s workers and job creators. I urge the president and every member of Congress to choose the latter by supporting H.J. Res. 29. 

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Senate, House Leaders Introduce Bill to Provide Certainty to Employers Offering Innovative Employee Wellness Programs

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:00am
Reps. John Kline (R-MN), Tim Walberg (R-MI), and Phil Roe (R-TN), and U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Pat Roberts (R-KS), yesterday introduced legislation to provide legal certainty—and eliminate confusion caused by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—for employers offering employee wellness programs that lower health insurance premiums to reward healthy lifestyle choices.

“Employee wellness programs not only help control the cost of health insurance,” said Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, “but they also promote healthy lifestyles. Remarkably, executive overreach by the EEOC is actually punishing employers for offering wellness plans. Congress must take action to rein in this agency and provide the certainty necessary for more Americans to enjoy the benefits of these innovative health programs.”

“More and more, employers are using outcomes-based programs to make health insurance less expensive for their employees,” said Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. “Nearly half of all large employers say they plan to adopt these innovative plans by 2017, making it even more important to eliminate confusion caused by the EEOC and restore certainty for employers who want to reward their employees for leading a healthy lifestyle.”
 
“This is yet another example of the EEOC being out of step with employers and employees,” said Walberg, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. “Innovative approaches that empower employees to take more control of their personal health care decisions should be encouraged, not stymied by greater government overreach.”

“With so many employers taking advantage of the benefits that come with offering workplace wellness programs, it is important that Congress acts to clear any legal uncertainty or confusion,” said Enzi, chairman on the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security. “By reaffirming existing law, Congress is ensuring that employees can continue to benefit financially when they choose to make healthy lifestyle choices.”

“This legislation ensures what Congress has already decided – private companies are free to promote health and wellness among their employees through voluntary incentives like premium discounts, rather than heavy-handed federal mandates and taxes. I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Preserving Employee Wellness Program Act, and applaud employers that put in place such programs to lower health care costs for employees while also creating a healthy workforce,” said Isakson, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety.

“Our health care system needs common sense solutions driven by positive outcomes, not more uncertainty caused by the federal government,” said Scott. “Employee wellness plans have been proven to help control health insurance costs, and as more and more employers utilize them it is essential that the EEOC simply clarify its rules instead of pursuing litigation against employers because it has refused to issue guidance. I am excited to join my colleagues to introduce this important legislation that helps promote healthy lifestyles and cuts through some of the bureaucratic maze that Washington specializes in creating."

“With this bill, Congress’s bipartisan commitment to employee wellness programs should put a stop to EEOC’s overreach in seeking a court order to halt a company’s healthcare premium discount program,” said Hatch. “At a time when Obamacare is creating uncertainty for employers and employees, this act will provide legal certainty to employers offering workplace wellness programs."

“Once again during the Obama administration, Congress must clarify the intent of a bipartisan provision,” Roberts said. “In this case, I am happy to co-sponsor legislation that would reaffirm our commitment to business and health in regards to wellness programs. Financial incentives get results. Employers should be able to offer programs that encourage employees to make healthy lifestyle choices.”

A bipartisan provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allowed employers to discount health insurance premiums by up to 30 percent—or 50 percent if approved by the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services—for healthy lifestyle choices like quitting smoking or maintaining a healthy cholesterol level. A recent survey showed that 48 percent of all employers plan to add one of these programs by 2017. However, recent litigation pursued by the EEOC, citing the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, has threatened the certainty of law for employers who offer these programs.

The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act, introduced yesterday by Alexander and Kline, will reaffirm existing law, which allows for employee wellness programs tied to a financial reward. The legislation clarifies that an employee’s spouse may participate in the program as well. It also provides employees up to 180 days to request and complete an alternative wellness program if it is medically inadvisable or unreasonably difficult for an employee to participate in the original employee wellness program. Finally, the legislation does not limit the EEOC’s authority to investigate and litigate complaints of employment discrimination.
                                                                               

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An Off-Ramp From ObamaCare

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:00am
On Wednesday the Supreme Court will take on yet another legal challenge to the president’s health-care law, when the justices hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell. If the court rules against the administration, as any fair reading of the law would demand, millions of individuals and families will hit a major roadblock: They’ll be stuck with health insurance designed by Washington, D.C. that they can’t afford. Americans should have an off-ramp from ObamaCare—a legislative alternative that leads them away from an expensive health-care wreck and toward a patient-centered system.
 
To review: ObamaCare made health insurance even more costly by requiring plans to include Washington-determined benefits and levels of coverage. The only way to get people to buy these plans was to mandate them. And the only way people could afford these plans was through hundreds of billions of dollars of government subsidies.
 
But the law—as written—offers subsidies only to people who buy plans “through an Exchange established by the State.” In other words, if you bought a plan through the federal exchange—and more than five million people did in 2014—you’re not eligible for the subsidy.
 
Not one to worry over the large print, the Internal Revenue Service handed out subsidies to people on both the federal and state exchanges. This blatant disregard for the law has put millions on the hook—because if you received a subsidy and lose it because of the administration’s illegal actions, you’ll face big insurance bills you can’t afford.
 
The Supreme Court should tell the IRS to enforce the law as written—not as the administration wishes it had been written. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in 2012, “Members of [the] Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law” but “possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments.”
 
But the question is: Then what? What about the people who will lose their subsidies—and possibly their coverage? No family should pay for this administration’s overreach. That is why House Republicans have formed a working group to propose a way out for the affected states if the court rules against the administration.
 
What we will propose is an off-ramp out of ObamaCare toward patient-centered health care. It has two parts: First, make insurance more affordable by ending Washington mandates and giving choice back to states, individuals and families. And second, support Americans in purchasing the coverage of their choosing.
 
Here’s how it would work:
 
First, make coverage more affordable. Any state that uses our off-ramp would be able to opt out of ObamaCare’s insurance mandates. These coverage requirements are driving up costs, so eliminating them would empower individuals and families to choose from a wider range of plans that fit their personal needs and budgets. Our proposal will also allow participating states to opt out of ObamaCare’s burdensome individual and employer mandates, allowing Americans to purchase the coverage they want.
 
We would also force insurers to compete for your business, rather than force Americans to buy a government-approved health plan under the threat of IRS fines. Let people buy insurance across state lines. Stop frivolous lawsuits by enacting medical-liability reform. Let small businesses band together so they get a fair deal from insurance companies. Our committees and nonpartisan analysts alike estimate that these proposals will cut costs and raise quality across the board.
 
At the same time, we would set up other safeguards for patients. We would allow parents to keep children on their plan until age 26. We would prohibit insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefits. We would protect people with existing conditions. And we would guarantee renewability for people already enrolled in a plan.
 
Second, help people buy coverage. Right now, those who get insurance through their employer get a lot of help from the tax code, while some people who buy insurance on their own, including potentially the millions of Americans the IRS put at risk, get no help at all. So we would offer those in the affected states a tax credit to buy insurance.
 
The credit would be “advanceable”—that is, you would get it when you needed it; you wouldn’t have to wait for tax season. It also would be “refundable”—that is, you would get the full amount no matter the size of your tax bill. And would adjust the size of the credit for age; the elderly, who face higher coverage costs, would get more support.
 
This is a common-sense path—but many members of Congress have proposed a lot of good ideas that deserve further consideration. For example, some have suggested giving states more flexibility to design their own solutions. Yet when House and Senate Republicans discuss this issue, we find that there is a great deal of consensus. We all want to take power away from Washington.
 
So here’s the bottom line: Under ObamaCare, government controls your choices. Under our proposal, you will. You’ll get to pick a plan that works for you. We look forward to building upon these ideas and working with our colleagues in the House and Senate, health-care experts and, most important, the American people, to put high-quality, affordable coverage within closer reach for all. And we’ll do it by putting Americans, not Washington, in the driver’s seat.

To learn more about the proposed plan, click here

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***MEDIA ADVISORY*** TOMORROW: Committee Examines Resolution to Block NLRB’s Ambush Election Rule

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 12:00am

On Wednesday, March 4 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), will hold a legislative hearing entitled, “H.J. Res. 29, Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board relating to representation case procedures.” The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

In December 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) finalized its ambush election rule, which dramatically alters long-standing policies governing union elections. The rule significantly shortens the time between the filing of a petition for a union election and the election date, limits the opportunity for a full and fair hearing of issues that may arise during the election proceedings, and grants union organizers greater access to employees’ personal information. As a result of these and other changes, the rule will undermine the right of employers to speak to employees, cripple the ability of employees to make informed decisions, and jeopardize the privacy of workers and their families.

Under the Congressional Review Act, the House and Senate may vote on a joint resolution of disapproval to stop a federal agency from implementing a rule or regulation. H.J. Res. 29 would block the NLRB’s ambush election rule and safeguard election procedures that have served employees, employers, and unions well for decades. Wednesday’s hearing will provide members the opportunity to examine H.J. Res. 29 and the harmful consequences of the NLRB’s unprecedented re-write of union election procedures.

To learn more about the hearing, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.

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No, Congress Isn't About to Mandate Common Core

Education & the Workforce Committee - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 12:00am
Republican efforts to replace No Child Left Behind (NCLB) were dealt an unexpected setback Friday, when a long-anticipated vote on HR5, dubbed the Student Success Act, was delayed unexpectedly after initial expectations of passing easily. Surprisingly, one contributing factor to the bill’s delay appears to have been a viral blog post warning that Congress was about to impose Common Core on the entire country.

HR5 is intended to replace NCLB and give states greater leeway in managing their schools. The bill is objectionable enough to the Obama administration that the president has threatened a veto. Despite the threat, the bill has also faced opposition from the right, and another reason for the delay was that House Republican leaders struggled to whip sufficient votes.

Much of the opposition has come from conservative groups, such as Heritage Action and Club for Growth, that simply believe the bill isn’t conservative enough on spending, testing mandates, and other issues to warrant support. However, the bill’s abrupt stall may have come from an obscure blog post on an anti-Common Core website that went absolutely bonkers recently.

The post’s author argues that while HR5 claims to reduce federal influence in education, it actually does the opposite. The law, it alleges, would make Common Core mandatory nationwide, abolish religious instruction at private schools, and even subject private schools to oversight from government inspectors.

The post quickly went viral, popping up on numerous other sites, especially those organizing opposition to Common Core.

A source familiar with events in the House said that the blog post had spurred a wave of calls to Congressmen, and helped fuel concerns about the bill. The calls were distressing, he said, because the law is anything but what the post alleges.

“It’s remarkable the amount of misinformation that has spread about this good, conservative education bill, especially when you consider most of the concerns that have been raised about federal involvement in classrooms is actually addressed in this bill,” the source told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Joe McTighe, executive director of the Council for American Private Education, said that his organization had received inquiries from several staffers on the Hill who were worried after being contacted by alarmed constituents.

“If you’re a parent, and you hear from a reliable source that Congress is trying to rip religion out of your private school, you’re gonna react,” McTighe told TheDCNF.

For all the concern, however, the blog post’s claims are egregiously false, according to HR5 supporters and private school activists. Among the blog’s false claims:

1. HR5 would make Common Core mandatory

This claim is based on a reading of Sec. 1001 of the bill, which states “The purpose of this title is to provide all children the opportunity to graduate high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce.”

Common Core has frequently been described as providing “college and career-ready standards” for schools to use. The blog post extrapolates from this to conclude that a state would technically be compelled to adopt Common Core in order to comply with the purpose of the act.

In fact, page 52 of the law explicitly states that no state can be compelled, coerced, or influenced into adopting Common Core, or any other multi-state set of standards. The law’s language is designed to abolish programs such as Race to the Top, which was used by the federal government to promote Common Core’s adoption.

2. HR5 would abolish religious instruction in schools

The blog post also suggested that HR would result in new mandates preventing religious schools from offering religious instruction in certain areas. The claim is based on language in the law stating that “educational services or other benefits, including materials and equipment, shall be secular, neutral and nonideological.”

According to the American Association of Christian Schools (AACS), however, this is actually a gross misinterpretation of language that has been in federal law for years and is intended to protect religious schools. The group issued a Facebook statement on Thursday attempting to stem the uproar against the bill.

“The section of the bill that refers to secular, neutral, and non-ideological services for private school students is addressing supplemental educational services (i.e. tutoring) provided by public schools that use federal funds to offer these services,” the group said. “[It does not] mean that education at religious schools can no longer be religious or faith-based. These same services and opportunities were also a part of NCLB.”

“The autonomy of private schools is protected, and our people know that,” Jamison Coppola, legislative director for AACS, told TheDCNF. While the group hasn’t endorsed the law, Coppola said, there is nothing in it that warrants objection from religious schools.

3. HR5 would foist government inspectors on private schools

Similar to the claim above, the blog post in question says that government-appointed ombudsmen will be used to inspect private schools:

“An ombudsman, if you haven’t heard the term, is a paid position, a role in which a person investigates and mediates official complaints for a living.  This bill mandates that private schools will be assigned a state-appointed ombudsman to monitor private schools:  ’The State educational agency involved shall designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements.’”
According to McTighe, this claim is actually a total reversal of what the law is intended to do.

“Our organization actually wrote that language,” McTighe said. Ombudsmen are intended to make sure that public schools do not shortchange private schools in the provision of certain services, he said, rather than the other way around. Moreover, he said the language is nothing new. “That language has been there for 50 years.”

4. HR5 would undermine homeschooling rights.

Will Estrada, Director of Federal Relations with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), said the group had been barraged with calls from parents fearful that HR5 would cause federal intervention against homeschoolers. That simply is not the case, he said.

“The bill is very clear that nothing in the bill applies to a home school,” Estrada told TheDCNF.

Estrada said that HSLDA is officially neutral on HR5, because it views the law as simply maintaining the status quo for homeschoolers.

“Our mission is not to make public schools better,” he said.

Kline, Rokita Statements on Student Success Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 12:00am
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) issued the following statements regarding House consideration of the Student Success Act:

“Providing the Department of Homeland Security the resources it needs to defend our country has been a Republican priority for weeks,” said Chairman Kline. “I am disappointed we are unable to complete consideration of the Student Success Act this week, but national security must always come first. I look forward to continuing to discuss with my colleagues the conservative reforms in this legislation, and I expect we will have an opportunity to finish this important work soon.”

“The Student Success Act is a strong, conservative bill that will get Washington out of our nation’s classrooms,” said Rep. Rokita. I had hoped we could advance the legislation today and move one step closer to a new law that empowers parents and education leaders. However, funding the Department of Homeland Security had to be the priority. I am confident we will continue this effort in the coming weeks.”

To learn more about the Student Success Act, click here.

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Redundant, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Executive Order Creates Bureaucratic Nightmare

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:30pm

The Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) today held a hearing to examine the effects of Executive Order 13673, which may deny employers federal contracts if they or their subcontractors violated or allegedly violated various federal labor laws. Witnesses and members discussed how the administration’s executive overreach is not only redundant, but how it will create a bureaucratic nightmare that impedes the operation of the federal government and results in less efficient services for taxpayers.

“We can all agree bad actors who deny workers basic protections, including wage and overtime protections, should not be awarded federal contracts funded with taxpayer dollars," noted Rep. Walberg. "The federal government has had a system in place for decades which, if used effectively, would deny federal contracts to bad actors. Rather than dealing with these contractors directly under the existing system, on July 31, 2014, President Obama signed an executive order adding a burdensome, redundant, and unnecessarily punitive layer onto the federal procurement system.”

Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) addressed the administrative nightmare unleashed by the order, arguing “the result of this new process will be a significantly delayed contracting process that limits both healthy competition and the efficient delivery of goods to the U.S. government at a reasonable price to taxpayers … Rather than impose additional layers of bureaucracy the administration would be better served working with Congress and stakeholders to ensure the rules and regulations implementing our laws are modernized and streamlined."

Labor attorney Willis Goldsmith echoed these concerns: "the Alice in Wonderland-like structure of the Executive Order makes it completely unworkable in the real world … [it] is so Byzantine and riddled with uncertainties that it will be impossible to predict how it will be applied in the contracting universe, leading to gross uncertainties among the regulated community as to who will qualify for a contract or not."

"I have little doubt that if the Executive Order is implemented as written, purchases by the federal government will grind to a halt,” warned Angela Styles, former Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget. “Whether it is the purchase of equipment necessary for our warfighter, getting checks out the door to our senior citizens, or ensuring the safety of our food, none of it gets done without federal contractors ... Simply put, there are not enough hours in the day or employees in the federal government to implement this Executive Order.”

Summing up the sentiments of the panel, Stan Soloway, President and CEO of the Professional Services Council said, “[the Executive Order] poses a number of implementation challenges that renders it unworkable. It would also create a number of unintended consequences, and most notably, is completely unnecessary … this E.O. has too many undefined terms, too few objective standards, and too much potential for adversely affecting the federal procurement process.”

“We all share the same goal,” concluded Chairman Walberg, “however, rather than implement another layer of bureaucracy, the administration should work with Congress and stakeholders to use the existing system to crack down on bad actors and ensure the rights of America’s workers are protected.”

To learn more about today’s hearing, read witness testimony, or to watch an archived webcast, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.

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Here’s the Right Way for Conservatives to Start Fixing No Child Left Behind

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:00am

On Friday, the U.S. House will vote on the Student Success Act (H.R. 5). The bill would revamp the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act (formally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act). It’s a promising bill and one that deserves the enthusiastic support of conservatives.
 
The Student Success Act (SSA) jettisons NCLB’s invasive system of federally mandated accountability and gives states the freedom to gauge school performance and decide what to do about poor-performing schools. It also puts an end to NCLB’s remarkable requirement that, as of 2014, 100 percent (!) of the nation’s students would be “proficient” in reading and math.

The SSA repeals the “highly qualified teacher” mandate, a bureaucratic paper chase whose most significant accomplishment was lending fuel to lawsuits attacking Teach For America (litigants had some success in California’s courts by arguing that TFA teachers failed to meet the “highly qualified” standard). It eliminates or consolidates 65 programs. It includes expansive new language intended to finally stop federal officials from pushing states to adopt Common Core (or any other particular set of academic standards).
 
The SSA is school-choice-friendly. It boosts funding for charter schools. In a significant win, it allows Title I funds to follow low-income children to the district school or charter school of a parent’s choice. This is a big deal. It doesn’t allow private-school choice — which would be even better — but the votes simply aren’t there in the House (much less the Senate) to let Title I funds flow to private schools. Meanwhile, allowing those funds to follow children to charter schools would be an important precedent.

The Student Success Act requires that states continue to regularly assess students in reading, math, and science and publicly report the disaggregated results, to the chagrin of some conservatives — but that’s misguided. It’s not inconsistent for conservatives to want Washington out of the nation’s schools while still keeping an eye on what taxpayers are getting for their federal education dollar. Moreover, competitive federalism and educational choice benefit when parents, voters, and taxpayers have comparable data on school outcomes that can inform their decisions. Finally, shorn of NCLB’s pie-in-the-sky accountability mandates, once-a-year tests will no longer distort schooling and infuriate parents in the way they have in recent years. Conservatives should be the party of transparency and citizen-fueled accountability, not of unaccountable federal largesse.

The SSA also features a few improvements over a similar bill that House Republicans passed in 2013. It does away with a provision that would have extended a bill of Obama overreach and gotten Uncle Sam further involved in telling states how to evaluate teachers. Instead, the SSA does away with troubled federal efforts to dictate teacher training, giving states much more flexibility in determining how to use those funds to recruit, prepare, and support teachers.

The Student Success Act won’t get Uncle Sam “out” of education. But that’s okay. After all, there’s no alternative proposal that will truly get him out either. Even those who’ve called for abolishing the Department of Education have been unwilling to eliminate (or even seriously cut) federal funds for low-income students, students with special needs, Pell Grants, or student loans. And those programs combine to make up the lion’s share of what the federal government does in education. That disconnect means the calls for getting the feds “out” mostly amount to hollow rhetoric.
Moreover, there is a legitimate, limited federal role in schooling. From Lincoln’s Morrill Act in 1862, to Eisenhower’s 1958 post-Sputnik push, to Reagan’s 1983 call to arms in A Nation at Risk, we’ve recognized a national interest in schooling. But Washington should limit its involvement to those things that are appropriate to its appropriate role in our federal system. In this case, that particularly entails unwinding intrusive mandates, eliminating duplicative programs and red tape, and insisting on transparency when it comes to academic results and how federal tax dollars are spent.

The SSA would end Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s unprecedented and troubling use of waivers. While the secretary of education has the authority to “waive” various provisions of NCLB, Duncan has taken this routine discretion and abused it — herding states into adopting an Obama education agenda. States have felt intense pressure to comply, given their yearning for relief from NCLB’s astonishing mandate that, as of 2014, federally prescribed remedies would be imposed at any school where 100 percent of students aren’t “proficient” in reading and math. Duncan’s wish list has included race-based performance targets and a clear message that states will fare best if they stand by the Common Core. The Student Success Act would end the ability of Duncan, and of his successor, to engage in such shenanigans.

Finally, the SSA allows D.C. Republicans to say what they’re for when it comes to education and not just what they’re against. When conservatives simply insist that they want “to get Washington out of schools,” they tend to get outmaneuvered by reform-minded liberals who talk about equal opportunity and then roll out laundry lists of new educational programs to promote it. The Student Success Act reflects a principled, limited federal role. It calls for states to regularly assess students, be transparent about their performance, and abide by sensible restrictions on the use of federal funds. At the same time, it rolls back federal regulations that have stymied schools and makes it easier for states to promote charter schools and public school choice. It deserves conservative support.

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Reduce the Federal Footprint in America's Classrooms

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:00am

The current K-12 education system is failing our students, and state and local attempts to make it better have been hampered by an enormous federal footprint. Parents and education leaders have lost much of their decision-making authority to Washington bureaucrats, and the Secretary of Education has bullied states into adopting the Obama administration’s pet projects.

Unsurprisingly, student achievement levels remain worrisome – just 36 percent of eighth grade students read at grade level and only 35 percent are proficient in math.

For far too long, our schools have been governed by a top-down approach that stymies state and local efforts to meet the unique needs of their student populations. We can’t continue to make the same mistakes and expect better results; America’s students deserve change.

Fortunately, this week, the House of Representatives has an opportunity to chart a new course with the Student Success Act, legislation that reduces the federal footprint in the nation’s classrooms and restores control to the people who know their students best: parents, teachers and local leaders.

The Student Success Act gets Washington out of the business of running schools. It protects state and local autonomy by prohibiting the Secretary of Education from coercing states into adopting Common Core or any other common standards or assessments, and by preventing the Secretary from creating additional burdens on states and school districts.

The bill reduces the size of the federal education bureaucracy. Currently, the Department of Education oversees more than 80 programs geared towards primary and secondary education, most of which are duplicative and fail to deliver adequate results for students. The bill eliminates over 65 of these programs and requires the Secretary of Education to reduce the department’s workforce accordingly.

The Student Success Act repeals onerous, one-size-fits-all mandates that dictate accountability, teacher quality, and local spending that have done more to tie up states and school districts in red tape than to support education efforts. It returns responsibility for classroom decisions to parents, teachers, administrators, and education officials.

The bill also provides states and school districts the funding flexibility to efficiently and effectively invest limited taxpayer dollars to boost student achievement by creating a Local Academic Flexible Grant.

Finally, the Student Success Act reforms the regulatory process to keep the Secretary of Education from exercising authority he does not have and provide the public with greater transparency and accountability over the development of new rules affecting K-12 schools.

Education is a deeply personal issue. After years of the Secretary of Education running schools through executive fiat, we understand that people are concerned about what a new K-12 education law will do. That is why a number of key principles have guided our efforts to replace the law since we began the process more than four years ago: reducing the federal footprint, restoring local control, and empowering parents and education leaders.

Those principles are reflected throughout the legislation, including specific safeguards that protect the right of states to opt-out of the law, as well as the autonomy of home schools, religious schools, and private schools. Organizations such as the Council for American Private Education, the Home School Legal Defense Association, and Committee on Catholic Education of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have expressed support for policies in the Student Success Act because they know it will keep the federal government out of their business and preserve their cherished rights.

A host of administration bureaucrats is attempting to defeat these much-needed changes. They know each reform that returns flexibility and choice to parents and school boards represents a loss of power in D.C. It’s time we put the interests of America’s students above the desires of Washington politicians.

By reversing the top-down policies of recent decades, the Student Success Act offers conservative solutions to repair a broken education system. It would finally get Washington out of the way and allow parents, teachers, and state and local education leaders the flexibility to provide every child in every school a high quality education.

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Walberg Statement: Hearing on "The Blacklisting Executive Order: Rewriting Federal Labor Policies Through Executive Fiat"

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:00am

Federal contractors are essential to government operations. Most employers provide quality, cost effective services while complying with labor and employment law. Unfortunately, there are a few bad actors. We can all agree bad actors who deny workers basic protections, including wage and overtime protections, should not be awarded federal contracts funded with taxpayer dollars.

For that very reason, the federal government has had a system in place for decades which, if used effectively, would deny federal contracts to bad actors. In the event that a contractor fails to maintain a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics, the contracting agency can suspend or debar the contractor, disqualifying the employer from contracts government wide.

Rather than dealing with these contractors directly under the existing system, on July 31, 2014, President Obama signed an executive order adding a burdensome, redundant, and unnecessarily punitive layer onto the federal procurement system.

The executive order will require employers to report instances in which they, or their subcontractors, have violated or allegedly violated various federal labor laws and equivalent state laws during a proceeding three year period. Prior to awarding a contract, each agency’s contracting officer and a newly created Labor Compliance Advisor will review this information and decide whether the employer’s actions demonstrate a lack of integrity or business ethics.

While the new reporting requirements are significantly burdensome, particularly for small employers, the subjectivity of the decision making process and deprivation of due process are deeply troubling. The Labor Compliance Advisor will advise the contracting officer as to whether an employer’s record amounts to a lack of business integrity.

However, this subjective determination will include alleged violations, creating a new, dangerous precedent that employers are guilty until proven innocent. Ultimately, the employer could be blacklisted based on alleged violations that are later found to have no merit, putting some good employers on the brink of going out of business.
 
We all share the same goal, however, rather than implement another layer of bureaucracy, the administration should work with Congress and stakeholders to use the existing system to crack down on bad actors and ensure the rights of America’s workers are protected.

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Byrne Statement: Hearing on "The Blacklisting Executive Order: Rewriting Federal Labor Policies Through Executive Fiat"

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:00am

The vast majority of federal contractors are responsible employers who obey the law and do right by their employees. 

There will always be, as the Chairman noted, bad actors who deny workers basic protections and we can all agree they should not receive taxpayer dollars for work on federal contracts.

However, even the most responsible employer can occasionally run afoul of labor and employment laws, or simply be accused of doing so.

The Executive Order we’re examining today unfairly shifts the regulatory burden to employers while removing the burden of proof from labor violation claims, resulting in a much less efficient system of government acquisition for both taxpayers and those seeking government contracts.

Furthermore, the Executive Order’s ban on pre-dispute arbitration clauses is a direct violation of the Federal Arbitration Act, which ensures the validity and enforcement of arbitration agreements - a practice that the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed.

The President has exceeded his authority to make such a change and is in direct violation of the law.

What’s worse – through its new reporting requirements, this Executive Order shifts an incredible regulatory burden to contractors themselves by requiring prime contractors, some of which have thousands of subcontractors, to collect information on their subcontractors related to 14 different federal labor and employment laws and over 500 different state laws.

For example, the Fair Labor Standards Act is the cornerstone of worker wage and hour protection. However, the regulations implementing that law are flawed and outdated.

Even the Department of Labor, which enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act, has run afoul of the law’s requirements from time to time.

This will have a major effect on these sub-contractors, many of them small businesses with limited resources to handle such an undertaking.

Many will be forced to divert resources to handle this new administrative task that will not have to be completed just once, but every six months.

These aggressive new regulations are going to unreasonably block responsible parties from participating in federal government contracts while seriously affecting the willingness of new employers to even seek federal contracts in the first place.

The result of this new process will be a significantly delayed contracting process that limits both healthy competition and the efficient delivery of goods to the U.S. government at a reasonable price to taxpayers.

Instead of helping employers comply with complicated regulatory requirements, the administration has added yet more red tape to the federal procurement system that has the potential of blacklisting responsible employers when there is already a system in place for weeding out truly bad actors.

To make matters worse, contracts will be put in jeopardy by alleged violations.

This could be particularly devastating for employers that are the target of union corporate campaigns or competitors who simply want a competitive edge against their competition.

This highly elevates the risk of frivolous complaints and the loss of business.

This executive order represents an overstep of authority by the President at the expense of employers and workers.

Rather than impose additional layers of bureaucracy the administration would be better served working with Congress and stakeholders to ensure the rules and regulations implementing our laws are modernized and streamlined.

Then the administration can work with good employers to ensure compliance rather than punishing them after the damage is done.

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Rokita Statement: H.R 5, the Student Success Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00am

Every student deserves an effective teacher, an engaging classroom, and a quality education that paves the path for a bright and prosperous future. Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, the nation’s current K-12 education law has failed to provide students this fundamental right. In fact, the law has only gotten in the way.

No Child Left Behind’s onerous requirements and the Obama administration’s waiver scheme and pet projects have created a one-size-fits-all system that hinders innovation and stymies local efforts to improve student learning. As a result, too many young adults leave high school today without basic knowledge in reading, math, and science; ill-equipped to complete college and compete in the workforce; and, consequently, deprived of one of the best opportunities they have to earn a lifetime of success.

Americans have settled for this status quo for far too long. Today we have an opportunity to chart a new course.

The Student Success Act departs from the top-down approach that has inefficiently and ineffectively governed elementary and secondary education and restores responsibility to its rightful stewards: parents, teachers, and state and local education leaders. 

First, the bill gets the federal government out of the business of running schools. It eliminates the dizzying maze of mandates that has dictated local decisions, and downsizes the bloated bureaucracy at the Department of Education that has focused on what Washington wants rather than what students need.

Second, the bill empowers parents and education leaders with transparency, choice, and flexibility. It ensures parents continue to have the information they need to hold schools accountable and helps more families escape underperforming schools by expanding alternative education options such as quality charter schools. It also provides states the flexibility to develop their own systems for addressing school performance, and the autonomy to use federal funds in the most efficient way.

With the Student Success Act, we have an opportunity to overcome a failed status quo. We have an opportunity to reduce the federal footprint in the nation’s classrooms. And we have an opportunity to signal to moms, dads, teachers, administrators, and state officials that we trust them to hold schools accountable for delivering a quality education to every child.

As the governor of my home state of Indiana Mike Pence said before the House Education and the Workforce Committee earlier month, “There’s nothing that ails education that can’t be fixed by giving parents more choices and teachers more freedom to teach.” I’m confident this bill does just that.

I urge my colleagues to join me in replacing a broken law with much-needed commonsense education reforms, and ask you to vote ‘yes’ on the Student Success Act.

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VIDEO RELEASE: Kline Urges Support for the Student Success Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00am
The House of Representatives is currently debating the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), legislation to reduce the federal footprint in education, restore local control, and empower parents and local schools. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) highlighted the challenges facing schools under burdensome federal policies and he urged his colleagues to place less faith in the Secretary of Education and more faith in parents, teachers, and education leaders by supporting the Student Success Act.
 

The Student Success Act provides states and school districts more flexibility to fund local priorities, not Washington’s priorities. The legislation eliminates dozens of ineffective or duplicative programs so that each dollar makes a direct, meaningful, and lasting impact in classrooms.
 
The bill strengthens accountability by replacing the current national scheme with state-led accountability systems, returning to states the responsibility to measure student performance and improve struggling schools.

The Student Success Act also ensures parents have the information they need to hold their schools accountable. It’s their tax money, but more importantly, it is their children and they deserve to know how their schools are performing.
 
The bill reaffirms that choice is a powerful lifeline for families with children in failing schools by extending the magnet school program, expanding access to high-quality charter schools, and allowing federal funds to follow low-income students to the traditional public or charter school of the parent’s choice.

To read Chairman Kline's full remarks, click here.                                                                                

To watch a video of his remarks, click here

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***MEDIA ADVISORY*** TOMORROW: Joint Hearing on President’s Blacklisting Executive Order

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00am

On Thursday, February 26 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), will hold a joint subcommittee hearing entitled, “The Blacklisting Executive Order: Rewriting Federal Labor Policies Through Executive Fiat.” The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
   
In July 2014, President Obama issued Executive Order 13673, which may deny employers federal contracts if they or their subcontractors violated or allegedly violated various federal labor laws. Based on information disclosed by the employer covering a three year period, each agency’s contracting officer and a newly created Labor Compliance Advisor will review an employer’s compliance history and decide whether the employer’s actions demonstrate a “lack of integrity of business ethics.” Employers have expressed concerns the executive order demands an unreasonable scope of reporting requirements, undermines their due process protections, disregards existing remedies to address labor law violations, and relies on a highly subjective review process.
        
Thursday’s hearing will provide members an opportunity to examine the effect of the president’s executive order on the federal procurement system, as well as concerns raised by employers and stakeholders.
                
To learn more about the hearing, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.
           

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Kline Statement: H.R. 5, the Student Success Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00am

This week, we have an opportunity to advance bold reforms that will strengthen K-12 education for children across America.
 
A great education can be the great equalizer, it can open doors to unlimited possibilities and provide students the tools they need to succeed in life. Every child in every school deserves an excellent education, yet we are failing to provide every child that opportunity.
 
Today, approximately one out of five students drop out of high school, and many who do graduate are going to college or entering the workforce with a subpar education. The number of students proficient in reading and math is abysmal. The achievement gap separating minority students from their peers is appalling. Parents have little to no options to rescue their children from failing schools.
 
A broken education system has plagued families for decades. Year after year, policymakers lament the problems and talk about solutions, and once in a while a law is enacted that promises to improve our education system. Unfortunately, past efforts have largely failed because they are based on the idea that Washington knows what’s best for children. We’ve doubled down on this flawed approach repeatedly and it isn’t working.
 
Federal mandates dictate how to gauge student achievement, how to define qualified teachers, how to spend money at the state and local levels, and how to improve underperforming schools. And now, thanks to the unprecedented overreach of the current administration, the Department of Education is dictating policies concerning teacher evaluations, academic standards, and more.

No one questions whether parents, teachers, and local education leaders are committed to their students, yet there are some who question whether they are capable of making the best decisions for their students.
 
Success in school should be determined by those who teach inside our classrooms; by administrators who understand the challenges facing their communities; by parents who know better than anyone the needs of their children.
 
If every child is going to receive a quality education, then we need to place less faith in the Secretary of Education and more faith in parents, teachers, and state and local leaders.
 
That is why I am proud to sponsor the Student Success Act. By reducing the federal footprint, restoring local control, and empowering parents and education leaders, this commonsense bill will move our country in a better direction.
 
The Student Success Act provides states and school districts more flexibility to fund local priorities, not Washington’s priorities. The legislation eliminates dozens of ineffective or duplicative programs so that each dollar makes a direct, meaningful, and lasting impact in classrooms.
 
The bill strengthens accountability by replacing the current national scheme with state-led accountability systems, returning to states the responsibility to measure student performance and improve struggling schools.

The Student Success Act also ensures parents have the information they need to hold their schools accountable. It’s their tax money, but more importantly, it is their children and they deserve to know how their schools are performing.
 
The bill reaffirms that choice is a powerful lifeline for families with children in failing schools by extending the magnet school program, expanding access to high-quality charter schools, and allowing federal funds to follow low-income students to the traditional public or charter school of the parent’s choice.
 
Finally, the Student Success Act reins in the authority of the Secretary of Education. We must stop the Secretary from unilaterally imposing his will on schools and this bill will do just that. 
 
Perhaps that is why the White House and powerful special interests are teaming up to defeat this legislation. They fear the bill will lead to less control in Washington and more control in states and school districts. Let me assure the American people: that is precisely what this bill will do.
 
I urge my colleagues to help all children, regardless of background, income, or zip code, receive an excellent education by supporting the Student Success Act.

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Why Americans need a new education law

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 12:00am

Our country faces tough challenges: a slow economy, stagnant wages, and a weak job market. With the right set of bold reforms, our nation can once again be a land of opportunity and prosperity for every American who seeks it.

Toward that end, this week the House of Representatives will consider the Student Success Act, a commonsense proposal to fix a broken K-12 education system and help all children, regardless of background or zip code, receive an excellent education.

The fact of the matter is, the law governing our current K-12 education system, No Child Left Behind, is failing. It’s based on the false premise that Washington knows what’s best for schools, rather than parents, teachers, and administrators.

The evidence is there in the numbers. Though the federal government has more control over classrooms than ever before, just 38 percent of high school seniors are reading at grade level, and only 26 percent are proficient in math.
 
These poor results make it harder for young men and women to compete on the global stage. Out of 34 countries that participate in the Programme for International Student Assessment, the U.S. ranks 20th and 27th in science and math, respectively.

The American people should not have to settle for this status quo.

After years of an outsized — and unsuccessful — federal role in education, the Student Success Act gets Washington out of the business of running schools and restores responsibility for providing an effective education to states and school districts.

The legislation will end the era of one-size-fits-all prescriptions by repealing ineffective federal requirements governing accountability, teacher quality, and local spending that have proven to hamstring the ability of states and school districts to improve student learning.

The Student Success Act will downsize the bureaucracy at the U.S. Department of Education by eliminating nearly 70 ineffective, duplicative, and unnecessary federal programs, reduce the department’s staff accordingly, and replace this confusing maze of programs with a Local Academic Flexible Grant, providing states and school districts the flexibility they need to promote innovative reforms tailored to their unique student populations.

The legislation also reins in the Secretary’s authority, to ensure neither he nor his successors interfere or coerce states into adopting a specific set of standards or assessments, including Common Core.

In addition to reducing the federal footprint and restoring local control, the bill will expand parental choice to help more children escape underperforming schools, which is critical to charting a better path for students.

In my home state of Indiana, the Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School’s rigorous curriculum and laser-focus on preparing students for higher education has helped more than 80 percent of its alumni earn a bachelor’s degree.

The Student Success Act will support the replication of successful charter schools like Tindley, giving more students an opportunity to complete a college education and compete in the workforce.

It is no surprise the White House and powerful special interests are teaming up to derail this important effort. They continue to use scare tactics and budget gimmicks to mislead the American people, because they are worried a new law will lead to less control in Washington and more control in the hands of parents and local education leaders. Frankly, it will — and it's about time.

Opponents of reform would rather pile more mandates, bureaucracy, and taxpayer money onto a broken system. If we adopted their approach, then the federal footprint in classrooms would continue to grow and student achievement would remain stagnant.

The Student Success Act offers a responsible alternative — one that gives power back to the moms, dads, teachers, administrators, and state officials who can make the most direct, lasting impact in a child’s life.
    

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Kline Statement on White House Education Report

Education & the Workforce Committee - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 12:00am

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statement in response to the White House education report released earlier today:

“The White House report pretends the president’s budget proposal is the law of the land. It isn’t and never will be. In fact, in past years, the president’s budget requests have been soundly rejected by both Republicans and Democrats. The White House has entered the realm of make-believe in order to falsely suggest states will lose money, when in reality the Student Success Act maintains current K-12 education spending and even increases funding for low-income students.

“The Student Success Act also offers states and families new opportunities to rescue children from failing schools. Encouraging good schools to serve more low-income students is the right thing to do. Ensuring low-income children receive the best possible education and their fair share of federal assistance is the right thing to do. It is disappointing the White House and powerful special interests are rallying against these commonsense reforms.

“Over the last six years, the Obama administration has dictated national education policy from the U.S. Department of Education. The White House is using scare tactics and budget gimmicks to kill K-12 education reform, because they know a new law will lead to less control in the hands of Washington bureaucrats and more control in the hands of parents and education leaders. This biased report is just further proof the president is out of touch with the priorities of our country.”         

  • Fact: The Student Success Act authorizes funding for fiscal years 2016 through 2021 at $23.2 billion per year, the appropriated amount for the current fiscal year. Overall there is no cut to education spending in H.R. 5. Only the Obama White House calls current funding a cut.
                              
  • Fact: The Student Success Act increases funding for the Title I programs serving low-income students. The program currently receives $14.4 billion. Under H.R. 5, Title I would receive $14.9 billion, an increase of nearly $500 million (more than the program received in FY 2012).
                             
  • Fact: The Student Success Act allows states the option to restructure how Title I funds are distributed to help all low-income children receive their fair share of federal assistance. This is a state option and no state is required to adopt it.
              
  • Fact: The president’s budget doubles down on the same flawed approach that more spending is the answer to a broken education system.

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