09.16.11

Senator Burr Introduces Bill to Improve Education by Empowering Local Communities

Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) announced that he has introduced the Empowering Local Educational Decision Making Act of 2011, a bill designed to improve America's education system by giving states andlocal communities the flexibility they need to meet the unique and varied educational needs of their students.

"Providing our students with a quality education is essential to their future success and to the continued competitiveness of our nation in the global economy," Senator Burr said."However, it has been proven that a one-size-fits-all approach handed down from the federal government does not work.We must empower those most familiar with the needs of a particular community to make these imperative educational decisions, and we must enable them to design and fund locally-determined programs and initiatives that meet their unique needs to provide an education that is in the best interest of their students."

State and local school districts, not Washington, D.C., are the best makers of educational decisions. Unfortunately, in the last few decades, the federal government, believing it knew best, has exploded the number of small, categorical education programs in K-12 education. Almost every year, yet another new program has been created in pursuit of the newest educational rave. And with each of these new programs, local school districts have lost flexible federal funding sources that allow them and not the latest fad to determine how best to allocate federal resources to meet the unique and specific needs of the individual students in their schools.

The Empowering Local Educational Decision Making Act of 2011 streamlines 59 programs into 2 flexible foundational block grants - the Fund for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning and the Safe and Healthy Students Block Grant. To provide additional funding flexibility to State and local school districts, under the Empowering Local Educational Decision Making Act of 2011 districts will also be able to transfer up to 100% of their allocations under the Fund for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning and the Safe and Healthy Students Block Grant between the two programs or into Title I, Part A.

Fund for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning

Consolidates 34 programs into ONE flexible, formula-driven Fund for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning to fund locally-determined needs and initiatives related to—

Increasing the capacity of local school districts, schools, teachers, and principals to provide a well-rounded and complete education for all students. Increasing the number of teachers and principals who are effective in increasing student academic achievement. Ensuring that low-income students are served by effective teachers and principals and have access to a high-quality instructional program in the core academic subjects . Safe and Healthy Students Block Grant

Consolidates 25 programs into ONE flexible, formula-driven Safe and Healthy Students Block Grant to fund locally-determined needs and initiatives for improving students' safety, health, and well-being during and after the school day by—

Increasing the capacity of local school districts, schools, and local communities to create safe, healthy, supportive, and drug-free environments. Carrying out programs designed to improve school safety and promote students' physical and mental health well-being, healthy eating and nutrition, and physical fitness. Preventing and reducing substance abuse, school violence, and bullying. Strengthening parent and community engagement to ensure a healthy, safe, and supportive school environment.