The House passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would create a federally funded education funding agency to oversee the public schools, while also giving states the power to make decisions about how to spend their own money.
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., said the bill would ensure states have the resources to deliver quality education, but it will also ensure that federal money isn’t wasted.
“When it comes to federal dollars, we need to make sure we’re spending our dollars wisely,” Frelinghan said.
“We want to make it a fairer playing field for states, but we also want to ensure that the federal dollars are used appropriately and that we’re using our resources wisely.”
The legislation would give states the authority to set their own spending limits, set minimum standards for education, and set limits on federal funding.
The bill would also allow states to use their own funds to hire and train teachers and administrators, but states would have to give up control over their public schools.
The bill would create an agency with authority to establish standards for teachers and education.
The bipartisan bill is likely to pass the House and the Senate, where Democrats are more supportive of the idea.
The new education funding authority will come into effect Jan. 1, 2019, and will apply to districts that receive federal funding through the No Child Left Behind Act, the nation’s first school reform law.
Frelinghan and the other Democratic members of the committee voted for the legislation, which would give districts up to $4 billion annually for the next 10 years.
“This bill is a significant step forward for public education and for our children,” Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., said in a statement after the vote.
“While I’m disappointed in the fact that it did not include all of the other provisions of the bipartisan education funding bill, I applaud the bipartisan efforts to strengthen accountability and transparency, and ensure that states have sufficient funds to provide high-quality education.”
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D (Md.), said in an email Wednesday that the legislation “represents the next logical step for a bipartisan effort to expand and strengthen accountability in the public education system.”
The bill passed the House in February and the House of Representatives last month, but the Senate has yet to take up the bill.
Democrats are also pushing the bill to make the U.S. more competitive in international markets.
A bipartisan group of 20 Democratic senators has asked the U;S.
government to consider increasing foreign aid, which includes a portion of the education funding for the public school system, to make up for the reduced federal funding that states receive.
In January, the Obama administration announced it would reduce the funding for public schools by a third for the 2018-19 school year.