Federal Legislation
July 1, 2009

H.R. 1717—Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (“A PLUS”) Act

Action Requested:
HSLDA is monitoring this legislation and will provide updates as the bill moves in the House.

Summary:
The Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (“A PLUS”) Act will allow a state to combine certain funds to improve the educational achievement of students. With every community facing unique educational needs, “A PLUS” gives flexibility to the states, freeing them from the strings attached to federal dollars that have created a nationalized, “one size fits all” approach.

Status:

3/25/2009Referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor

Sponsor: Congressman Peter Hoekstra (MI-2)

Cosponsors:

Bill Summary and Status H.R. 1717

HSLDA’s Position:
Support.

Talking Points:
Over the past few decades, federal funding and control over education have increased astronomically; but all the while, academic success of America’s public schools has plummeted, rather than improved.

Section 2 allows states to create “performance agreements” with the federal secretary of education, which allow them to consolidate funds from different federal programs, and customize their own program that matches the unique needs of the state. This allows states to set up their own goals, based on their own needs.

Section 8 requires that states prove their programs worked under the performance agreement, and that the educational achievement gaps have been narrowed. This ensures that federal funds are being used to their maximum level of effectiveness.

Section 9 provides for the early termination of a performance agreement, if a state fails to reach its goals. This plan works under a commonsense philosophy that is desperately needed in Washington’s approach to education: funding what works, and offering choices to individuals and communities.

Conclusion:
A PLUS will significantly reduce the federal role in education, returning it to its constitutional limitations as it begins to shift educational decisions to the proper sphere: parents.