In school, one size doesn’t fit all

It’s that time of year, again. The fun-filled days of summer vacation are drawing to a close and teachers and students across Central Washington are heading back to the classroom for the school year.

Throughout the year, I often meet with local teachers, administrators, parents and students on ways we can improve our educational system and better serve our students. The resounding message I hear is the need for more local control and less interference from the federal government.

A decade has passed since Congress first passed the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act. While there is no doubt this law is far from perfect, it established a level of accountability for the first time by insisting on results for the billions of federal dollars spent on education. However, many improvements must be made.

It is clear a one-size-fits-all approach to education is not in the best interest of our students. Education programs that work well for students in Seattle may not be the best fit for those in Yakima or Moses Lake.

In my view, students in Central Washington and all across the country are best served when decisions about education are made by local school districts and parents – not the federal government.

Recently, the House of Representatives passed, with my support, the Student Success Act.

This important legislation helps restore flexibility and local control of public education programs by putting decisions about student’s education back where it should be – in the hands of parents and local school districts.

This bill restores power to states by eliminating an existing federal one-size-fits-all student progress requirement and replacing it with state determined accountability systems.

The Student Success Act also saves hardworking taxpayer dollars by eliminating more than 70 duplicative and unnecessary federal education programs that further create bureaucratic red tape for local schools. I urge the Senate to act swiftly and pass the Student Success Act to ensure that American students have access to the quality of education they deserve.

I will continue working to restore local control and decision-making, and ensure hardworking taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. I wish all the teachers, students, and parents in Central Washington a safe and successful 2013-2014 school year.

Rep. Doc Hastings represents Washington’s 4th Congressional District, including part of Okanogan County.

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