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It's no surprise that President Obama wants to score an environmental victory by setting aside millions of acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as protected wilderness.

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Medina "Sunshine" Fe Diaz Camilon Baker, 56, died Jan. 17, 2015, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.
Larry Dean Hogan, 72, died Jan. 2, 2015, in Ketchikan.
7/24/2013
Goal to succeed

Every parent wants his kid to succeed in school.

No one sends his kid to school with the following instructions: Do as poorly as you can, son; then I'll be proud of you.

On the contrary, parents hope junior will spark to learning and do the best he can. Many will do all they can to ensure that happens.

For a young man (or woman) to do well, a good system must be in place. It has been agreed by many educators and others interested in education — including politicians — that the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 didn't create such a system.

The House of Representatives has decided to replace that act with the Student Success Act, voting 221 to 207 in recent days toward that end. Congressman Don Young agreed changes needed to be made in the K-12 education law.

"Most educators throughout the country agree that No Child Left Behind created a flawed system and needed to be replaced with education policy that left more decision making up to individual states, school districts and parents," Young says.

The student Success Act, H.R. 5, will eliminate burdensome regulations and unreasonable standards for many states, including Alaska, he says, and allow for the development of learning systems that are tailored to the particular needs of communities.

The student Success Act would eliminate annual yearly progress standards for states, replacing them with state-determined accountability systems. It also would give states and districts the flexibility to develop school improvement strategies and rewards for schools; and continue to require that states and districts collect and report data on student achievement and high school graduation rates.

The changes also are expected to increase parent engagement in the schools, which is likely as the control is returned to states and districts where education is provided.

Whether it's education or politics, the best system is at the local level and out of federal control. The federal government may oversee that the states and districts do their job, but it should not only allow, but it should encourage, that they do it.

This student Success Act sends the right message: The goal is to succeed.