Sen. Rounds backing A-PLUS Act for education policies

WASHINGTON — Sen. Mike Rounds has co-sponsored a bill to give authority to states when it comes to establishing education requirements.

The Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS) Act would let states opt out of participation in programs required by the Department of Education. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, also introduced a version of the bill in 2017.

The goal of the A-PLUS Act is to give states access to federal funds without following the programs required by the Department of Education, instead using the policies set up by the individual states. If it follows the format of previous versions, the bill will also lay out guidelines to ensure that states are using the funding effectively and maintaining a high standard of education.

Rounds said in a news release that he sees this bill as an important step in removing the Department of Education entirely.

“Our legislation provides flexibility by allowing local governments to opt out of onerous federal guidelines and requirements,” Rounds said. “We have to get Washington out of the way, especially when it comes to raising our youth. While the votes are not there today to successfully eliminate the Department of Education, this is a good step to bring education decision-making back to state and local governments.”

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