Roby introduces bill to keep Washington out of state education decisions

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2013

U.S. Representative Martha Roby has introduced legislation that could keep the federal government from overreaching into state education policy decisions.

The Defending State Authority Over Education Act, Roby has said, would prevent the federal government from using grants, contracts, or other cooperative agreements to “mandate, direct or control” a state’s educational standards or curriculum.

Portrati Martha Roby, Republican Representative from Alabama

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Roby’s move is one that Alabama educators and legislators are backing.

“For the White House to tie funding and regulatory strings to certain education policies unfairly injects politics into the equation,” said Sen. Bryan Taylor in a statement. “We need Rep. Roby’s bill so that our parents, teachers and community leaders can be confident that decisions affecting students are made without the heavy-handed influence of the White House.”

Roby’s bill would also prohibit making the approval of waivers or grants contingent on whether a state has adopted any specific academic standard, assessment or evaluation system.

“The Defending State Authority Over Education Act clearly outlines the limited and focused role that the U.S. Department of Education should appropriately play,” Eric Mackey, School Superintendents Association of Alabama executive director, said in a statement. “More importantly, it makes clear that state and local communities – the ones that pay the bulk of education funding – should also be the primary decision-makers in matters that affect their children’s education.”

Roby is working with fellow House Education and Workforce Committee Member Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) to promote the bill and highlight this issue as the committee begins taking up reauthorization of the nation’s K-12 education law.

Roby said she introduced the bill because state decisions about policies are best made without pressure from Washington.

Governor Robert Bentley also issued a recent statement that said he supports Roby’s efforts and appreciates her “leadership with this bill.”