Sen. Burr: Local Officials Should Make Education Decisions

Monday, 19 Sep 2011 09:22 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Sen. Richard Burr has introduced a bill to streamline some 59 educational programs into two big block grants that would give state and local officials more flexibility in determining how to meet the educational needs of students.
 
The North Carolina Republican said Friday in announcing his Empowering Local Educational Decision Making Act that state and local school districts are in a better position to make decisions than federal bureaucrats in Washington.
 
“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,” 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,” he said.
 
Burr’s legislation would turn nearly five dozen separate federally funded programs into two larger umbrella grants the Fund for Improvement of Teaching and Learning, and the Safe and Healthy Students Block Grant.
 
The grants would allow local officials to decide how to disperse funding, but the monies would still have to go to programs aimed at improving academic achievement through better teaching methods and reinforcing core academic subjects.
 
School-safety programs ranging from anti-drug and anti-bullying efforts to more parent involvement with school activities — are also emphasized in the bill, as well as maintaining programs that focus on the mental, nutritional, and physical health of students.

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