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As states take the lead on education reform, the federal government should shrink its involvement, said U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., during a speech today at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) meeting.

“States are reclaiming their leadership over the improvement of public education in this country, and it is time for the federal government to recognize that shift and shrink its role,” said Enzi.  “Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be happening.  No Child Left Behind evolved into discovering bad schools instead of discovering kids who were being left out and figuring out a way to help them.  We need to keep the emphasis on the kids.”

Enzi noted that recent federal actions allow states to ‘opt out’ of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) provisions in exchange for following new education mandates. These waivers from NCLB bypass Congress in changing current law and create the impression of a federal school board, according to Enzi.

“Federal education programs need to recognize the inherent differences between rural and frontier school districts, and their urban counterparts,” Enzi said.  “That takes all of us working toward the common goal of improving the educational outcomes for all students in this country. We also need to recognize that the federal government has a limited role in attaining that goal.”