House Votes to Limit Federal Accountability Measures,...

Policy & Government

House Votes to Limit Federal Accountability Measures, Teacher-Preparation Regulations

Feb 8, 2017

RULES, THEY ARE A CHANGIN’: Shortly after Vice President Mike Pence’s historic, tie-breaking vote on Tuesday that confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the House of Representatives approved two measures aimed at dismantling implementation rules for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Higher Education Act (HSA). The bills—Senate and House Joint Resolution 57 and H.J. 58—could reverse the Department of Education’s rule on accountability and state education plans, and remove some requirements for teacher preparation programs, respectively.

H.J. 58 targets the HSA’s teacher-preparation regulation, which requires states to collect and report teacher preparation program quality, with the potential to drop federal student aid for poorly-performing programs. If signed into law, H.J. 57 would overturn an ESSA accountability rule that requires States to “file plans with the Education Department relating to K-12 performance metrics,” according to the Journal.

Regarding H.J. 57, an official White House statement reads: “While school accountability is important, the Administration is committed to local control of education and this rule places additional burden on States and constrains them in areas where the ESSA intended broad flexibility.” But civil rights advocates disagree, saying that federal accountability measures and oversight “are necessary to keep schools from hiding the poor performance of disadvantaged students,” the Washington Post reports.

Both votes passed Tuesday fall under the Congressional Review Act, which gives lawmakers 60 days to revoke regulations after enactment. Before the rules are officially nullified, the Senate must next approve H.J 57 and H.J. 58, then the president must sign the measures into law. It is likely President Trump will approve the changes if they make it past the Senate. According to the White House statement: “If these bills were presented to the President in their current form, his advisors would recommend that he sign them into law.”


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