Idaho Schools Chief Wants More State Control, Continued Federal Role

Feb 16, 2012


Boise, ID – Tom Luna wants a more hands off role for the federal government when it comes to education, but he does think federal oversight is needed. Idaho’s Superintendent of Education testified on Capitol Hill Thursday urging House members to overhaul the federal No Child Left Behind Law. It created a national accountability system for schools based on student performance back in 2001. Luna acknowledges the law was needed to help under performing schools. But he says things have changed.

Tom Luna “States like Idaho have demonstrated that we will step up and we have stepped up, and we’ve moved to higher levels of accountability far greater than that required by No Child Left Behind. And I think that’s a demonstration of states taking control of their education systems and states defining the proper role of the federal government, not the other way around.”

Luna told members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee states are leading an education renaissance. He pointed to the Students Come First Laws Idaho passed last year as an example. But Luna also says national standards are needed to make sure federal education dollars are well spent. He wants states to set their own standards and to report to the federal government on how schools perform.

While Luna testified in Washington DC, Idaho’s State Board of Education was meeting. They voted to approve a new accountability system Luna’s department put together. That system would rank each school’s performance using a one through five star rating. This approach is part of the state’s application for a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements. The Obama administration created the waiver option while congress works to overhaul the law.