Senate Passes Bill to Undo ESSA Rules on Accountability

March 15, 2017

On March 9, 2017, the Senate voted 50–49 to undo the Obama administration's rule [PDF] for holding schools accountable for student performance under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—despite strong opposition. The Congressional Review Act resolution, which has already passed the House, now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it into law.

Background

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows Congress to overturn regulations set out by the executive branch. When regulations are overturned, the administration cannot issue new regulations until new authorizing legislation has passed—leaving states and local jurisdictions to implement ESSA without regulatory guidance. Opponents of the measure—including Democrats, business, labor, and civil rights groups—believe that this move will cause confusion for states as they design new state plans, whereas others feel that the rule is an example of executive overreach.

Given the rules of the CRA, the passage of this bill was inevitable; therefore, ASHA did not request its members to take action on this joint resolution.

In February, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos wrote a letter advising chief state school officers to continue finalizing their state ESSA plans for review by the Department of Education. The Department plans to issue further guidance on how to proceed.

Resources

ASHA is in the process of determining the information that will best assist members as they work with the local education agencies and state departments of education to develop accountability standards. For more information, contact Catherine D. Clarke, ASHA's director of education and regulatory advocacy, at 202-624-5953 or [email protected].


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