When the 112th Congress convenes in January, the House Education and Labor Committee will have a new chairman with a strong record of reform: Representative John Kline of Minnesota.
In a press release statement earlier today, Kline stated:
My goal for the federal programs and agencies that oversee our schools and workplaces is to provide certainty and simplicity. We must ensure federal red tape does not become the enemy of innovation, and that federal mandates do not become roadblocks on the path to reform.
Kline has a solid history of standing for principles and policies that empower students, families, and teachers instead of Washington bureaucracy.
Earlier this year, Kline pushed against national education standards and assessments, which would encroach upon state and local authority to determine what children are taught in the classroom. He stated:
This is the U.S. Department of Education, putting [out its] view of what needs to be done. … It’s not the states deciding. It’s not local control.
Furthermore, he noted:
That’s not our [the federal government’s] job. … If you’re starting to put the federal government in charge of assessments, standards, you’re moving in a way that I don’t think Americans want.
Kline has been a co-sponsor of the A-PLUS Act, which would allow states to opt out of the federal bureaucratic tangles of No Child Left Behind and allow states to direct funding to their most pressing education needs.
Going forward, Kline says that he plans to eliminate or consolidate the myriad of programs in the Department of Education that “just are not working.” Furthermore, he said of plans to reauthorize No Child Left Behind, “We need to make sure school districts and states have more flexibility and we’re not dictating from Washington.” Similarly, the Grand Forks Herald reports that Kline plans to “find ways to ‘fix failing schools’ without undermining local control.”
Decades of Washington policies that have increased federal red tape in the nation’s education system have failed to improve schools that are in critical need of reform. Kline has a track record of trying to break through the bureaucracy to give authority to those closest to students and improve education for school children in the United States.