By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, July 25 U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R from Montgomery) expressed concerns about how the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is being implemented.
Congresswoman Roby said, “The Every Student Succeeds Act could not be clearer: the federal role in education is to support and inform state and local decisions, not to dictate them. With ESSA now the law of the land, my focus has turned toward making sure our strict prohibitions against federal coercion are followed. At an Appropriations Committee hearing in March, I questioned U.S. Secretary of Education John King about his commitment to making sure the U.S. Department of Education abides by the “state authority” provisions. While Secretary King committed to me that he would implement and enforce ESSA as written, I assured him that I would be watching to make sure that happened.”
Rep. Roby said, “I recently met with local school superintendents from throughout Alabama who gave me more reason to be concerned about ESSA implementation living up to the intent of Congress. I decided to reach out to each member of the Alabama ESSA Implementation Committee in a letter asking for feedback on whether or not federal authorities are following Congress’ clear direction.”
The conservative congresswoman wrote in the letter, “As someone who has been involved in crafting this law I am here to answer any questions you might have regarding the clear intent Congress had toward ensuring flexibility at the state and local level. I also ask that you please keep me apprised of any attempt on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education to disregard the intent of this new law and continue its coercive practices.” “Should federal partners you work with in the implementation process fail to adhere to this clear directive from Congress, I want to know about it.”
Rep. Roby said, “I have already heard back from several members of the committee and I look forward to working with them in our shared goal of ensuring the return of education decisions back to the states. Their feedback will help me hold the U.S. Secretary of Education and his staff accountable for the proper implementation of the nation’s new education law.”
Roby said, “Back in December we scored a huge win by getting the strong “state authority” provisions included in the long-overdue replacement to “No Child Left Behind.” That outgoing law and the behavior it allowed served to frustrate school administrators, hamstring teachers, and erode parents’ trust in public schools.” Roby said that replacing the No Child Left Behind law was a top priority for her.
Rep. Roby said, “The language I have advocated for the last three years strictly prohibits the U.S. Department of Education from using funding grants or special rule waivers to coerce states into adopting its preferred policies.”
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has tasked a committee to develop a plan to implement the ESSA requirements. The Committee is scheduled to make eight tour stops to get input from actual voters before finalizing their plan.
Rainy Day Patriots co-director Ann Eubank said of ESSA: “The same bologna that Bice fed us with his “tour.” They don’t want your “input,” they want your compliance. Can’t wait until we have a new Superintendent and a new Governor who will hopefully put a stop to this nonsense.”
Eubank has been critical of Alabama’s highly controversial College and Career Ready Standards, which have been promoted by the highly influential Business Council of Alabama (BCA) and are aligned with the much maligned Common Core Standards.
Rep. Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District.