NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

ESEA Reauthorization: Lawmakers Should Push for an Opt-Out

February 12, 2015

Both the Senate and the House have proposed bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, also known as No Child Left Behind, or NCLB). While they are distinct, they have a number of similarities, and House and Senate lawmakers are anxious to pass the bills quickly.

But are they good bills? Lindsey Burke, an education policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation, says the proposals are flawed. Fifty years of federal government intervention in the education sector, she says, is proof that states and localities, not Uncle Sam, are better at addressing the needs of students in their communities. She encourages lawmakers to allow states to opt out of NCLB and make their own decisions on how their education dollars are spent.

In addition to creating flexibility for states, Burke says NCLB is full of duplicative and ineffective programs. By simplifying and reducing those programs, the government could reduce spending as well as compliance costs for states and localities.

In addition, Burke argues policymakers should do away with NCLB testing mandates as well as national standards and curriculum.

Source: Lindsey Burke, "NCLB Reauthorization Proposals: Missed Opportunities for Conservatives," Heritage Foundation, February 11, 2015.


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