U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) Tuesday introduced the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act (S.2451), legislation that would reign in the Department of Education’s regulatory power and return education decisions back to the states and local communities.
“Our education system has grown to operate as if Washington knows best, but this approach has failed our nation’s children and silenced the most important voices in the room - parents, teachers, and local leaders,” said Inhofe. “Children’s education needs are unique to each city and state, which is why today I introduced the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act to return control of our education decisions back to the hands of local communities. My bill will give state and local school boards the necessary flexibility to achieve their education goals by reining in federal regulations and giving local communities a voice as to how those regulations are impacting their education pursuits. With more than 660,000 children enrolled in public schools across Oklahoma, it is pivotal we ensure that state and local school boards continue to have the voice and authority to carry out the education goals that best suit their children needs and future.”
The legislation accomplishes the following goals:
Empowers local communities:
The legislation expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) the responsibility for education resides with the state and local educational agencies to which they have delegated authority; and (2) the Secretary of Education should only issue those regulations, rules, guidance materials, grant conditions, or other requirements that are specifically needed to implement federal legislation and are within LEAs’ educational, operational, and financial capacity.
Reigns in federal government:
The legislation prohibits the Secretary from promulgating federal regulations, rules, guidance materials, grant conditions, or other requirements pertaining to states or LEAs without first verifying resources in the local community are available and an opportunity for local education leaders to communicate any concerns or needs.
The legislation directs the Secretary to review existing LEA reporting requirements to identify and eliminate those that are duplicative.
Enforces transparency and accountability:
The legislation directs the Secretary during each fiscal year to provide LEAs and major national education organizations at least 60 days to provide written comments regarding the local impact of implementing federal regulations, rules, guidance materials, grant conditions, or other requirements for any applicable program or activity of the Secretary.