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Advertisers Develop Voluntary Program to Deter Unwitting Online Ad Support of Copyright Pirates

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 1:34pm
Last fall, WLF Legal Pulse highlighted some copyright and patent owners’ use of self-help initiatives to bolster their intellectual property rights. The copyright owners discussed in that post—chiefly movie and entertainment studios—face an especially daunting challenge due to the digital nature and distribution of the content they produce. In addition to individual acts of copyright […]
Categories: Latest News

WCOETurning Point for 2/17/15

Turning Point RSS - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 12:02pm

Five Lessons: Ninth Circuit Upholds Decision to Block Idaho Healthcare Merger

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 9:00am
Featured Expert Column – Antitrust/Federal Trade Commission Andrea Agathoklis Murino, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati* On February 10, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling blocking the merger of St. Luke’s Health Systems, Ltd. (St. Luke’s) and Saltzer Medical Group (Saltzer), and handed the Federal Trade Commission […]
Categories: Latest News

Washington Post: Meet Congress’s new small business leaders

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 12:00am

Washington Post: Meet Congress’s new small business leaders 

Rep. Steve Chabot can empathize with small business owners. Before launching his political career – and between his two stints in Congress – the Ohio Republican and seasoned attorney owned and ran his own law practice in Cincinnati.

“We were a small storefront law office, and we had to deal with all the things that come with running a business,” Chabot said in a recent interview on the Hill. “I have seen firsthand the challenges that are faced by small business folks.”

It’s that experience that lured Chabot onto the House Small Business Committee when he first arrived in Washington 1995. After 19 years on the panel (he lost a reelection bid in 2008 only to win back the seat two years later), Chabot last month took over as chairman. He replaces Rep. Sam Graves, a fellow Ohioan who stepped down in keeping with self-imposed term limits.

In his new role, Chabot will manage the congressional coalition charged with ensuring that small companies have sufficient access to capital and federal contracts and that they aren’t overburdened by regulations. His committee also has oversight responsibilities over the Small Business Administration’s lending and counseling programs.

During our conversation, Chabot talked about the current climate for small businesses, his legislative goals, and why the recent power shift in Washington may make a difference for entrepreneurs. What follows is a transcript of our interview, edited for length and clarity.

Harrison: For starters, how would you describe the current state of small business across the country?

Chabot: I would say in the overall economy there has been some improvement, but in the small business community, not nearly enough. I think there are still the same challenges faced by small businesses that have been there for years: being over regulated by the federal government, having to deal with a far too complex tax system, access to capital. So those areas that make it challenging to be a small business person today in America, and those are the types of things I intend to address on this committee.

Harrison: On which issues in particular do you plan to focus the committee’s time and attention?

Chabot: There are really four areas. One is doing something to reduce the amount of regulations on small businesses. Reforming the tax code as it pertains to small businesses, that would be another one, though that would probably be as part of a larger tax reform package.


I mentioned access to capital, that’s another one. We need to streamline the process small businesses have to go through to work with the Small Business Administration. I have talked to a lot of folks in my district and heard testimony to this committee about how daunting it can be to deal with the SBA and go through the loan process. The paperwork alone is very challenging, and there has to be a way to reduce that.

Increasing trade is the fourth area, and that fits quite well with my role on the foreign affairs committee (Chabot has served on that committee for 19 years, too).

Harrison: Where do you start? What are the first items of business?

Chabot: Most timely would be the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, which we have passed a couple times in this committee before. That would be the most immediate possible activity. In general, what it does is require federal agencies to take into consideration the effects that regulations have on small businesses (the bill has since passed the House and awaits action in the Senate).

I would argue over-regulation is one the greatest challenges small businesses face right now. So we’re going to deal with a whole range of things related to the so-called Affordable Care Act – which I tend to refer to as the Unaffordable Care Act – as well as Dodd Frank, which has made it tougher for small businesses to obtain access to capital, because you now have a whole new regime of regulators looking over the shoulders of the banking industry and the credit unions. Those are the types of things where we can actually have an impact.

Harrison: Now that your party has seized control of both chambers, how does that change the game?

Chabot: I think that we have a greater opportunity now with the new leadership in the Senate than we did previously. Hundreds and hundreds of bills passed out of the House in recent years but never saw the light of day in the Senate, and a lot of those were small business bills. So, that should be different. However, assuming that you have all the Republicans agreeing on a particular piece of legislation, it’s going to need to be bipartisan, because we still need six Democrats. So they’re still going to need to work on cooperation in the Senate.

Harrison: Some of the topics you have mentioned have been politically polarizing. Are there areas where you think you can find that bipartisan support?

Chabot: Trade is probably our best opportunity to actually get something through this committee, through Congress and to the president’s desk that he may ultimately sign. I think his attitude about trade is somewhat like Bill Clinton’s and Al Gore’s, so I think we have a shot at TPP [the Trans-Pacific Partnership the administration is currently working on] and maybe even a deal with Europe, too.

Harrison: In addition to mom-and-pop small businesses, will fast-growing, tech-driven start-ups be a focus of the committee?

Chabot: That is one of the things that we’re going to explore and hold hearings on. We’re actually going to focus some of that attention on my district. There have been a lot of incubators and venture capitalists and angel investors coming into Cincinnati. It’s really on the cutting edge. So, yes, we’re going to focus some attention on that, try to find out what’s working, what challenges those entrepreneurs are facing and try to see if there’s room to expand what’s working across the country.

Harrison: What’s your most lofty, pie-in-the-sky goal during your tenure as small business chairman?

Chabot: Ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, yet only one percent of small businesses actually trade sell their products outside the country. We need to improve upon that. A very small increase in that one percent would have a huge impact. That’s an area where I’m hoping we can make some real headway in the next two years, four years or six years, depending on how long I have the opportunity to do this. There’s a huge amount of potential in trade if we do it right.

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The “21st Century Cures Act” Draft Legislation Includes Welcome Support for First Amendment Rights

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 10:59am
The House Energy and Commerce Committee released a 400-page “discussion draft” of its proposed “21st Century Cures Act” late last month. The bill includes a broad range of reforms governing the regulation of drugs and medical devices, most of which have been warmly received by broad segments of those industries. The bill is particularly welcome […]
Categories: Latest News

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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Remarks of Sen. Thune to “Reboot Congress” technology conference

Sen. Thune delivered a speech on protecting an open Internet to the "Reboot Congress" technology conference.

Nelson Announces Commerce Democratic Subcommittee Assignments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today announced subcommittee assignments for Democratic committee members.  The subcommittee assignments are as follows:

 

Aviation Operations, Safety a...

Contracting and the Industrial Base

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 12:00am

Chairman Chabot Opening Statement
Full Committee Hearing: Contracting and the Industrial Base

Prepared for Delivery
Click here for all hearing documents

WASHINGTON -- Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) opened today's full committee hearing on Contracting and the Industrial Base with the following statement:

"Good morning. I call this hearing to order.  I’m happy to be here today, as this is my first hearing as Chairman, although I’ve participated as a Member of the Small Business Committee for many years.  Today, we begin the good work of helping our small businesses, and I’m particularly pleased to start that endeavor by discussing a subject that has much promise for small businesses and taxpayers alike – federal contracting reform. 

"As you know, the federal government has a goal of awarding at least 23 percent of federal prime contract dollars to small businesses, and in Fiscal Year 2013 that goal was met for the first time in many years. Early indications are that the goal was met again last year.  However, it isn’t enough to simply meet the goal – we have to focus on why Congress created the goals.  The goals exist as a tool – they are intended to make sure we have a broad spectrum of small businesses working with the government across industries.

"Having a healthy small business industrial base means that taxpayers benefit from increased competition, innovation, and job creation.  It also means that we can securely support programs crucial to our national defense.  The percentage of dollars awarded to small businesses is a good measure of success, but it isn’t the only measure. 

"Indeed, it appears that over the last four years, while the percentage of dollars being awarded to small businesses was increasing, the number of contract actions with small businesses fell by almost 60 percent. 

"At the Department of Defense (DoD), the number fell by almost 70 percent.  The size of the average individual small business contract action increased by 230 percent during that same period, and by nearly 290 percent at DoD. 

"These statistics are all alarming in their own way, but one of the more clear-cut and disturbing figures is that there are over 100,000 fewer small businesses registered to do business with federal government than there were in 2012.  These data points suggest we have a problem with our small business industrial base.

"Today’s witnesses are going to address specific recommendations to improve the competitive viability of our small business contractors.  This is only the first of a series of full committee and subcommittee hearings we’ll be having on this topic.  I expect that the Committee will actively pursue ways to increase opportunities for small businesses to access capital and contracts, while removing barriers to small business success.  I look forward to working with each of you, and want to welcome our witnesses. 

"I now yield to the Ranking Member for her opening statement." 

 

###

Chairman Chabot Opening Statement for Hearing on Contracting and the Industrial Base

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 12:00am

Chairman Chabot Opening Statement
Full Committee Hearing: Contracting and the Industrial Base

Prepared for Delivery

WASHINGTON -- Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) opened today's full committee hearing on Contracting and the Industrial Base with the following statement:

"Good morning. I call this hearing to order.  I’m happy to be here today, as this is my first hearing as Chairman, although I’ve participated as a Member of the Small Business Committee for many years.  Today, we begin the good work of helping our small businesses, and I’m particularly pleased to start that endeavor by discussing a subject that has much promise for small businesses and taxpayers alike – federal contracting reform. 

"As you know, the federal government has a goal of awarding at least 23 percent of federal prime contract dollars to small businesses, and in Fiscal Year 2013 that goal was met for the first time in many years. Early indications are that the goal was met again last year.  However, it isn’t enough to simply meet the goal – we have to focus on why Congress created the goals.  The goals exist as a tool – they are intended to make sure we have a broad spectrum of small businesses working with the government across industries.

"Having a healthy small business industrial base means that taxpayers benefit from increased competition, innovation, and job creation.  It also means that we can securely support programs crucial to our national defense.  The percentage of dollars awarded to small businesses is a good measure of success, but it isn’t the only measure. 

"Indeed, it appears that over the last four years, while the percentage of dollars being awarded to small businesses was increasing, the number of contract actions with small businesses fell by almost 60 percent. 

"At the Department of Defense (DoD), the number fell by almost 70 percent.  The size of the average individual small business contract action increased by 230 percent during that same period, and by nearly 290 percent at DoD. 

"These statistics are all alarming in their own way, but one of the more clear-cut and disturbing figures is that there are over 100,000 fewer small businesses registered to do business with federal government than there were in 2012.  These data points suggest we have a problem with our small business industrial base.

"Today’s witnesses are going to address specific recommendations to improve the competitive viability of our small business contractors.  This is only the first of a series of full committee and subcommittee hearings we’ll be having on this topic.  I expect that the Committee will actively pursue ways to increase opportunities for small businesses to access capital and contracts, while removing barriers to small business success.  I look forward to working with each of you, and want to welcome our witnesses. 

"I now yield to the Ranking Member for her opening statement." 

###

Witnesses Discuss Need to Modernize Student Privacy Protections

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

The Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, chaired by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) today held a hearing to examine how emerging technology is impacting schools’ ability to safeguard student data. During the hearing, members and witnesses discussed what Congress can do to improve privacy protections, without stifling valuable innovation and research, and the need to update the law that governs student privacy, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

“Despite the advent of computers, the Internet, Wi-Fi, and cloud services, [FERPA] has not been significantly updated since its introduction in 1974,” said Rep. Rokita. “As a result, student privacy, the very information FERPA was intended to protect, may be at risk … Technology organizations and policymakers have taken steps to strengthen student privacy protections. However, these efforts have not addressed rules under which schools must operate as the guardians of student data. Unless Congress updates FERPA and clarifies what information can be collected, how that information can be used, and if that information can be shared, student privacy will not be properly protected.”

Shannon Sevier, Vice President of Advocacy for the National Parent Teacher Association, echoed these concerns: “[FERPA] was written in 1974 with the intent to protect the privacy of student educational records and includes a parental consent provision. Over the past 40 years, however, the concept of privacy has evolved from the right of direct control, to an individual’s right to control the information they have entrusted to others. This wrinkle in control requires subsequent change to student data privacy policy.”

Similarly, Joel R. Reidenberg, Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law and Founding Academic Director at the Center on Law and Information Policy said: “[FERPA] is essentially a confidentiality law that was designed to protect students’ paper files. When FERPA became law in 1974, computers did not exist in schools and internet access was decades away… FERPA desperately needs to be updated in order to assure student privacy in the 21st Century and to enable the development of robust educational programs that take full advantage of educational technologies.”

Allyson Knox, Director of Education and Policy Programs at Microsoft, agreed that the law intended to protect student privacy should be updated, and she urged Congress to consider a comprehensive approach that maximizes technology’s educational benefits: “Technology in the classroom has resulted in the creation and collection of much more data than ever before … We believe that the new opportunities enabled by technology require thoughtful evaluation and responsible and comprehensive approaches that allow our children to learn with technology in an engaging, safe and respectful manner. Misleading, exploitative, or aggressive advertising practices simply do not belong in the classroom.”

“Modernizing student privacy protections without undermining opportunities to improve student achievement is no small task,” concluded Rep. Rokita, “but we owe it to students and parents to work together to find the proper balance.”

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

# # #

Rokita Statement: Hearing on "How Emerging Technology Affects Student Privacy"

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

Good morning, and welcome to the first hearing of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education in the 114th Congress. I’d like to thank our witnesses for joining us today. We appreciate the opportunity to learn from you about how emerging technology in the classroom affects student privacy.

Ms. Fudge, before we begin, I want to take a moment to congratulate you on being selected by your colleagues to serve as ranking member of this subcommittee.  I anticipate we will have many robust conversations on key issues, and I am looking forward to working together on policies that will help our children succeed in school and in life.

Forty years ago, Congress enacted the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, to safeguard students’ educational records and ensure parents had access to their children’s information. The law established the circumstances under which the records could be shared, giving parents the peace of mind that, with few exceptions, their child’s academic performance and other personally identifiable information would be under the school’s lock and key. 

As a father of two young boys, I can appreciate why parents may not have that same confidence today. Despite the advent of computers, the Internet, Wi-Fi, and cloud services, the law has not been significantly updated since its introduction in 1974. As a result, student privacy, the very information FERPA was intended to protect, may be at risk.

As administrators, teachers, and students use emerging technology to track everything from test results to bookstore purchases, parents and students are vulnerable to the inappropriate use of student data – often without their knowledge or consent.

New devices, platforms, programs, and services have enabled educators to better understand the behavioral and educational needs of each student and tailor individual learning plans accordingly. They have assisted researchers in developing new solutions to improve classroom instruction. And they have provided families with more educational options by facilitating distance and blended learning opportunities.

Technology organizations and policymakers have taken steps to strengthen student privacy protections. However, these efforts have not addressed rules under which schools must operate as the guardians of student data. Unless Congress updates FERPA and clarifies what

information can be collected, how that information can be used, and if that information can be shared, student privacy will not be properly protected.

We welcome your thoughts on how this committee can update FERPA for the 21st century, improve parental involvement, and hold bad actors accountable. Modernizing student privacy protections without undermining opportunities to improve student achievement is no small task, but we owe it to students and parents to work together to find the proper balance. I look forward to hearing from you and from my colleagues on this important issue.

# # #

Committee Approves Bill to Replace No Child Left Behind, Improve K-12 Education

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 8:00pm
The House Education and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), today approved the Student Success Act (H.R. 5). Introduced by Chairman Kline and Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN), this responsible legislation will repair the nation’s broken K-12 education system by reducing the federal footprint, restoring local control, and empowering parents and education leaders to hold schools accountable. The committee approved the bill by a vote of 21 to 16.

"The Student Success Act helps provide American families the education system they deserve, not the one Washington wants,” said Chairman Kline. “I want to thank all my colleagues for engaging in a robust debate and offering their ideas to improve education. We have a lot of work ahead, and we will continue to move forward in a manner that is open, transparent, and fair. America’s parents, teachers, and students have waited long enough for a new law that helps every child in every school receive an excellent education. This important bill will move us closer toward that goal, and I look forward to continuing the debate in the weeks ahead.”

“The status quo in our nation’s K-12 education system is hurting students,”said Rep. Rokita, “and the committee has taken a bold step in a new direction. Today we signaled to moms, dads, teachers, administrators, and state officials that we trust them to hold schools accountable for delivering a quality education to every child. I am honored to have led this effort with Chairman Kline, and I look forward to advancing these important reforms through the House and Senate and enacting them into law. It is time to place control of our nation’s classrooms back in the hands of the parents and educators who know their children best.”

As passed by the committee, the Student Success Act:
  • Replaces the current national accountability scheme based on high stakes tests with state-led accountability systems, returning responsibility for measuring student and school performance to states and school districts.
                        
  • Ensures parents continue to have the information they need to hold local schools accountable.
                      
  • Repeals more than 65 ineffective, duplicative, and unnecessary programs and replaces the maze of programs with a Local Academic Flexible Grant, helping schools better support students.
                            
  • Protects state and local autonomy over decisions in the classroom by preventing the Secretary of Education from coercing states into adopting Common Core or any other common standards or assessments, as well as reining in the secretary’s regulatory authority.
                                                  
  • Empowers parents with more school choice options by continuing support for magnet schools and expanding charter school opportunities, as well as allowing Title I funds to follow low-income children to the traditional public or charter school of the parent’s choice.
                     
  • Strengthens existing efforts to improve student performance among targeted student populations, including English learners and homeless children.

To read opening statements, review amendments, or watch an archived webcast of today’s markup, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/markups.

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The Connected World: Examining the Internet of Things

This upcoming proceeding will focus on how devices – from home heating systems controlled by users online, to wearable devices that track health and activity with the help of Internet-based analytics -- will be made smarter and more dynamic through Internet technologies.

Nelson Announces Senate Commerce Subcommittee Ranking Members

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today announced ranking members for subcommittees.  The ranking members are as follows:

 

Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security

Congress Approves Construction of Keystone Pipeline

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 12:00am

Congress Approves Construction of Keystone Pipeline

WASHINGTON - Following today's House passage of S.1, the bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) issued the following statement: 

​"The time for excuses is over. The time to start building is now. When energy costs spike, America's small businesses have to choose between serving their customers, creating jobs, and paying the price for the unstable energy market. Keystone eases that burden with a more stable and predictable source of energy, giving our small businesses room to breathe, innovate, and create again.

​"Thousands of Americans and small businesses stand to benefit from the Keystone project, and their Congress has acted. For their sake, I hope President Obama reconsiders his veto threat."

S. 1 passed the House of Representatives this evening with a bipartisan majority of  270-152.

#AmericasNewCongress just passed a bipartisan bill to move #KeystoneXL forward. #TimeToBuid pic.twitter.com/9SZRtUKpBG

— House Small Business (@HouseSmallBiz) February 11, 2015

 

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

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 02/11/2015 - 12:00am

Today the committee will consider H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, a bill to improve K-12 education by reducing the federal footprint, restoring local control, and empowering parents and education leaders to hold schools accountable.

We are here for three important reasons.

First, the nation’s elementary and secondary education system is fundamentally broken. Too many students are dropping out of high school, and those who do graduate are often ill-equipped to complete a college education and compete in the workforce. Many parents are left with few or no options to rescue their children from bad schools.

Every child deserves an excellent education, and we are failing miserably at providing every child that opportunity. Year after year, we examine the problems and talk about solutions. Yet despite all the rhetoric, reports, and hearings, nothing changes. Something has to change, which leads to the second reason we are here this morning: It is time to pursue a different course.

For the last 50 years, Washington has assumed more programs, more spending, and more top-down mandates will cure an ailing education system. We have doubled down on this approach time and again, and it isn’t working. Federal control over the nation’s schools continues to grow, while student achievement remains stagnant.

Success in school should be determined by those who teach inside our classrooms; by administrators and local leaders who understand the challenges facing their communities; by parents who know better than anyone the needs of their children.

That is why I am proud to sponsor this legislation. By reducing the federal footprint, restoring local control, and empowering parents and education leaders, the Student Success Act will help provide all children access to an effective education. The bill is a commonsense response to a status quo that has failed students for far too long.

The Student Success Act will ensure our investment in K-12 education is more efficient and effective. The bill eliminates more than 65 ineffective, duplicative, and unnecessary programs, and replaces this maze of programs with a Local Academic Flexible Grant. H.R. 5 provides the freedom to allocate resources in a way that reflects local priorities, not Washington’s priorities.

The Student Success Act strengthens accountability by replacing the current one-size-fits-all scheme with state-led accountability systems, returning to states, parents, and local leaders the responsibility for measuring student performance and improving underperforming schools.

The Student Success Act recognizes that with the investment of federal resources comes a limited federal role. For example, the bill continues annual assessments in reading and math. We’ve learned the federal government can help shine light on school performance, including how schools support the most vulnerable students. By maintaining this provision, we are empowering parents and education leaders to hold their schools accountable with meaningful information.

However, we’ve also learned there is too much opportunity under current law for the secretary to impose his will on schools. That is why the bill prevents the Secretary of Education from coercing states into adopting a certain set of assessments or standards. The legislation also reforms the regulatory process to provide greater transparency and accountability over rules affecting K-12 classrooms.

Finally, the Student Success Act reaffirms that choice is a powerful lifeline for children trapped in failing schools. Whether strengthening the magnet school program, expanding access to quality charter schools, or allowing funds to follow low-income students, the legislation will help spread the promise of school choice to families across the country.

These are just some of the reforms included in the Student Success Act. No doubt members will address other provisions throughout today’s meeting, and I look forward to a robust debate.

I would like to close by noting the third and final reason we are here today. The time to pursue a different course is now. Parents, teachers, education leaders, and students have waited long enough for Congress to replace No Child Left Behind. It has been 13 years since a comprehensive elementary and secondary education reform bill was signed into law and more than seven years since that law expired.

We have a lot of work ahead, and it’s time to get started. It is important to remember this is one step in a long process, one that will continue to be open and transparent. Every member has an opportunity to express his or her views, offer amendments, and have an up or down vote. I am confident members will have the same opportunity should the legislation be considered by the whole House. That is the legislative process: open, transparent, and fair.

I urge my colleagues to work with us to move this process forward.

# # #

 

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