This proposal would pursue a number of reforms to expand access to an affordable, high-quality education. Families should have more choices and local governments more flexibility. Critical and finite financial support should go to the neediest families—in other words, to the people who will benefit the most. And finally, Washington should measure success by outcomes, not inputs.
More Transparency: To close the achievement gap, this proposal would allow low-income families―through the states―to participate in innovative, results-driven models of early learning. Consolidating the Child Care Development Fund into the Opportunity Grant would let families work with case managers, leverage data collected through rigorous testing and analysis, and find child-care and early-education services that work best for them.
Greater Flexibility: In the field of elementary and secondary education, this proposal would replace top-down mandates with state-based standards. It would replace rigid formulas in favor of funding that can be directed to the needs of the community’s educators. And states could let the funding follow the student, so low-income students would not be forced to attend a low-performing school just because of their zip code.
More Choices: To open doors for affordable higher education, this proposal would promote choice and competition through accreditation reform. It would simplify financial-aid programs, get federal-aid packages to students sooner, and redesign federal programs if it becomes apparent they are fueling tuition inflation.
Greater Accountability: Finally, this proposal would make federal job-training programs more effective. Building off the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, this proposal would eliminate other duplicative programs and streamline funding. It also would encourage states to continue promising reforms that tie job training to employers’ needs and real job opportunities.
Education is a very complex issue, and Washington doesn’t have all the answers. This proposal is not meant to serve as the final word, but to start a conversation all across the country. Anyone with questions or comments about this proposal can contact the committee at ExpandingOpportunity@mail.house.gov.
By opening up the debate, we hope to help the best ideas prevail and to empower our communities to expand opportunity in America.