Governor testifies before Congress on end to No Child Left Behind mandates

Gov. Gary R. Herbert appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Tuesday to testify on the elimination of No Child Left Behind mandates through a bill recently passed by Congress.

During his testimony, the governor highlighted Utah’s work on education and reiterated the need to empower states under the newly passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The ESSA is an education overhaul that will correct the shortcomings of No Child Left Behind and empower states to choose their own standards, assessments and accountability systems. It passed Congress with overwhelming support from both parties before it was signed into law on Dec. 10, 2015. The Wall Street Journal said it represented “the largest devolution of federal control to states in a quarter-century.”

Utahns don’t have the luxury of deciding which federal laws to follow. Gov. Herbert believes there should not be a federal Department of Education, but because there is and until Congress disbands it, the state of Utah has a responsibility to seek as much flexibility as possible from the department.

This legislation helps accomplish that flexibility by returning decision-making to the states through the elimination of burdensome No Child Left Behind mandates such as teacher evaluations and waivers.

The ESSA effectively removes any type of federal mandate or incentive to participate in Common Core. It also restricts the Secretary of Education from imposing one-size-fits-all federal mandates on local schools and restores responsibility to local school districts, where it belongs.

View the full content of the governor’s written testimony here or watch the video.

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