State, local groups press Congress to pass flexible education reform bill

"It shifted too much control away from state and local elected officials, diluted the impact of federal resources, and relied on a method of identifying academic progress that focused on failure instead of rewarding excellence," the groups wrote. "Ten years later, it is past time to rewrite the law and correct its mistakes."

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"Policymakers at the state, local and school district level need a resolution to these issues," the letter added. "We need certainty in federal policy at a time when we are struggling with reallocating scarce education resources to fund what works. We need federal policy that instead of focusing on process and compliance, allows for state and local innovation."

The groups noted that the relevant House and Senate committees have already approved bills to reform the ESEA, but that so far, neither chamber has moved these bills up for consideration on the floor.

In February, the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved two bills to reform federal education law: the Student Success act, H.R. 3989, and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers act, H.R. 3990.

Republicans said then that the bills would reduce "federal intrusion" in the classroom, including by allowing states to set accountability systems and giving them more flexibility to implement their own education strategies.

And last October, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved an unnumbered ESEA reauthorization bill that would remove current sanctions under ESEA and also increase flexibilities at the local level.