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Rep. Martha Roby on Education and Leadership

February 27, 2012

Speaking with college students with Rep. Terri Sewell.

By U.S. Representative Martha Roby 

Supporting Teacher Flexibility and State Education Control:

America’s education system needs to be reformed. The current federal limitations placed on teachers, parents, and students in local classrooms and schools are hindering academic success.

A quality education is the springboard from which our children may pursue their highest dreams. As a mother of a child in public school, I know local teachers are best suited to teach local students. Alabama administrators and teachers know what is best for our students rather than faceless bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

Upon entering Congress, I pledged to visit every school district in our area to talk to students and listen to their teachers. After one year of frequent school visits, I have gained valuable insight into the challenges that our schools are facing. More and more, I hear frustrations associated with No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the education law passed by Congress in 2002. What was a seemingly promising law upon its passage, NCLB has evolved into an unworkable and unrealistic mandate that must be re-written.

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Serving as a Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, I am proud the committee is taking action to reform broken NCLB policies. Building on last year’s bipartisan progress, this year we are turning our attention to legislation that addresses specific areas of the law. The committee is soon considering two bills that will specifically address teacher flexibility and state education control. I am a proud co-sponsor of both of these bills, which I have listed below:

  • The Student Success Act (H.R. 3989), which would return responsibility for student achievement to state governments, school districts, and parents, while maintaining high education standards. The legislation would also provide state educators and local school districts with greater flexibility to meet students’ unique needs.
  • The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990), which would increase school choice, promote local innovation in public education, and provide parents with information regarding teacher effectiveness.

Removing federal standards and granting teachers more flexibility on the local level is the key to reforming our broken education system. By allowing states to determine the local educational needs of students and by releasing teachers from outdated mandates, we will move our system forward. Properly implementing that reform is critical. Providing our teachers, parents, and states with long-term solutions will allow them to run effective schools and will afford our students the opportunity to succeed.

Center for American Women and Politics Event:

Recently, I spoke to college students about my experience as a Member of Congress. Today’s young adults will be the leaders of our country tomorrow. It is important that they are encouraged to lead.

Leadership comes in all forms, and is found in all places. Whether it is through a church, local community, city government, or other civic organization, if there is an opportunity to improve our community, we must challenge future leaders to take the initiative to do just that.

Another Freshman Member of Congress from Alabama, Representative Terri Sewell, joined me at the event. Terri and I talked about our history serving together in Leadership Alabama, our launch into public service, and our ability to work across party lines. The opportunity to speak to the students with Terri was a great experience. Thank you to the Center for American Women and Politics with the Eagleton Institute of Politics for inviting me to speak.

February District Visits: 

I spent last week traveling throughout the Second Congressional District meeting and talking with those I represent. The opportunity to travel through our area provides me with time to listen and address concerns about the issues under debate in Congress. My job is to listen to you. Routinely speaking with business leaders, teachers, and leaders in agriculture and in the military helps me to better serve you in Congress.

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Thank you to the following groups, individuals, organizations, and schools who invited me to spend time with them: Loveless Academic Magnet Program; Job Corps students; Conecuh Sausage business owners; teachers and students at Georgiana School; members of my Agriculture Advisory Panel; members of my Veterans Advisory Panel; American Buildings Company; teachers at Eufaula Elementary School; the Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists at Medical Center Barbour; and Eufaula area business leaders.

Contact Me:

Keeping close contact with you is my top priority as I am traveling between Alabama and Washington, D.C. As the 112th Congress continues, I hope you will stay updated on my activities by joining me at:


–          Web site

–          Facebook page at

–          Twitter page @ RepMarthaRoby

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–          Flicker page at Martha Roby

–          Sign up for Martha’s Weekly Email

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