The New York Times reports that Congress has approved legislation “to repeal crucial regulations associated with the Every Student Succeeds Act, one of President Barack Obama’s final legislative achievements.” The Times focuses on the bipartisan effort to approve ESSA in 2015 and contrasts that bill with its predecessor, NCLB. The piece explains that it is “customary for federal agencies to issue detailed regulations on how new laws should be put into effect,” but notes that “some lawmakers from both parties saw” ED’s regulations “as unusually aggressive and far-reaching, and said they could subvert ESSA’s intent of re-establishing local control over education and decreasing the emphasis on testing.”
The NEA shared reports about President Trump’s recent address to Congress, in which he indicated that he “remains serious about his campaign-trail pledge to expand school choice,” urging Congress “to ‘pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious, or home school that is right for them.’” However, the piece reports, the Trump administration has yet to release any concrete details about its plans, and “it remains tough to say what other policy proposals might be on the president’s K-12 priority list.” The piece contrasts this with President Obama and President George W. Bush, “both of whom were knee-deep at this point in their presidencies in the education initiatives that would define their K-12 legacies.”
The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to overturn the regulations governing Obama’s teacher-preparation programs. Education Week quoted Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), the bill’s sponsor, saying, “This regulation actually makes the assumption that bureaucrats in Washington are competent to micromanage teacher-training programs in America.” Senate HELP ranking Democrat Patty Murray “said the rules would ensure that prospective teachers have more and better information about teacher-training programs” and “would protect teacher preparation from the as-yet unknown approach that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would take.”
The House version with these changes passed last month and President Trump is expected to sign the bill. With the change, states will not be required to report on the “success rate of teacher-training programs, partly on the basis of graduates’ employment and evaluations of their work.” It also will mean that funding of federal Teach Grants to prospective teachers no longer will be tied to this reporting.
The National Council on Teacher Quality, which was involved in brokering these new rules, criticized the bill, with reports quoting: “Repealing these rules would tell the institutions that they will not be held accountable for how well they train teachers.”