Congresswoman Martha Roby

Representing the 2nd District of Alabama

What They’re Saying About the Defending State Authority Over Education Act

June 3, 2013
Press Release

State leaders and education advocates are speaking out in support of U.S. Representative Martha Roby’s (R-AL) bill to rein in federal overreach into state education policy decisions.

After introducing the Defending State Authority Over Education Act  of 2013 on May 22, Rep. Roby spent last week discussing the legislation as she traveled throughout Alabama’s Second Congressional District. The bill, which would prohibit the federal government from making special funding grants and coveted regulation waivers contingent on whether a state is using certain curriculum or assessment policies, is receiving favorable reviews from state leaders and education advocacy groups on different sides of the standards and assessments debate.

Here’s what they’re saying about the Defending State Authority Over Education Act:

Governor Robert Bentley (R-Tuscaloosa):
“I appreciate Congresswoman Martha Roby’s leadership with this bill.  I am strongly opposed to tying federal dollars to education decisions that should be made at the state level.  Furthermore, I am opposed to any collection of non-academic student or teacher data.  I support Congresswoman Roby’s efforts to join me in continuing to work to ensure the educational needs of Alabama students are met without interference from the federal government.”

House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn):
“I applaud Representative Roby for defending the rights of the state of Alabama against the overreach of President Obama and the federal government when it comes to determining what curriculum and standards are best for our students.  In order to continue our state’s success in job creation and economic development, we must have strict and aggressive academic standards, but those guidelines should be determined by Alabamians, not by President Obama.  Roby’s Defending State Authority Over Education Act ensures that decisions made in Alabama about Alabama students can be made without the fear of retribution from Washington.”

State Senator Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery), Chairman of the Senate Education Policy Committee:
"State legislatures have been struggling against federal intrusion in public education for decades. The U.S. Department of Education has made the problem worse by seeking to control public education through the funding process. Congresswoman Roby's bill is the light at the end of the tunnel. Only Congress can stop the USDE'S encroachment on areas of state authority. Congresswoman Roby’s bill moves the debate from state legislatures to Congress where it belongs."

State Representative Jay Love (R-Montgomery), Chairman of the Education Ways & Means Committee:
“Alabama’s state motto is ‘We Dare Defend Our Rights,’ and that includes defending our right to educate our children without interference or high-handed decrees from so-called experts on the federal level. Instead of tying federal grant funding to public education mandates handed down from Washington, decisions on spending should be made by public officials on the state and local level, who know firsthand the needs of Alabama’s teachers, students and classrooms.”

State Senator Bryan Taylor (R-Prattville):
“Rep. Roby’s Defending State Authority Over Education Act is right on target. For the White House to tie funding and regulatory strings to certain education policies unfairly injects politics into the equation. There's no question the Obama Administration has overstepped its bounds in state education policy decisions. We need Rep. Roby's bill so that our parents, teachers and community leaders can be confident that decisions affecting students are made without the heavy-handed influence of the White House."

Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary:
"Congresswoman Roby's bill is a common-sense proposal in support of high education standards that challenge students. It is not the federal government's job to dictate state standards or curriculum, especially through a carrot and stick approach. The role of determining Alabama's standards should remain with the State Board of Education and their collaboration with local school systems, parents and the business community. Alabama's ability to set high standards gives our students the greatest opportunity to compete in a 21st century global workforce that requires highly-skilled workers."

School Superintendents Association of Alabama Executive Director Eric Mackey:
"School Superintendents appreciate Congresswoman Roby's leadership, insisting that the states and local school systems should maintain primacy in setting education policy, selecting curricula, choosing instructional materials and methods. Congresswoman Roby has always shown exemplary insight and concern for local schools, and she certainly listens to the ideas and concerns of superintendents throughout her district.

“The Defending State Authority Over Education Act clearly outlines the limited and focused role that the U.S. Department of Education should appropriately play. More importantly, it makes clear that state and local communities -- the ones that pay the bulk of education funding -- should also be the primary decision-makers in matters that affect their children's education. We hope the full Congress will pass the Defending State Authority Over Education Act in 2013."

Alabama Association of School Boards Executive Director Sally Howell:
“The Alabama Association of School Boards applauds U.S. Representative Martha Roby for her leadership in recognizing states' authority to determine education standards and high expectations for students.  The Defending State Authority Over Education Act would prevent the U.S. Department of Education and administration from forcing policy decisions by using federal funding and regulatory authority.  Alabama school boards are proud of Alabama's College and Career Readiness Standards and fully support this effort to protect state autonomy and oppose federal overreach.”