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Committee Leaders Act to Rein in Federal Role in Education, Block Flawed Regulations

Guthrie, Rokita introduce joint resolutions of disapproval on teacher preparation and accountability rules

Leaders of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce introduced resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to block implementation of two flawed Obama administration regulations. Both rules from the former administration expand the federal role in education and diminish the ability for state and local leaders to make decisions affecting their students and schools.

H. J. Res. 58 — introduced by Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) — would stop a rule related to teacher preparation programs. Finalized in October 2016, the rule significantly expands the federal government’s involvement in teacher preparation and may lead to fewer teachers serving some of our nation’s most vulnerable children.

“Teachers play a vital role in helping students learn and succeed, both in and out of the classroom,” Chairman Guthrie said. “Unfortunately, as it did so often, the Obama administration acted unilaterally, overreached, and took a one-size-fits-all approach to how teachers are prepared for the classroom. As a result, the rules finalized by the Department of Education ignore the principles guiding recent bipartisan education reforms and would actually make it more difficult for state and local leaders to help ensure teachers are ready to succeed. This resolution will roll back those misguided rules and give us the opportunity to examine teacher preparation in the context of higher education reauthorization.”

H. J. Res. 57 — introduced by Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) — would address a regulation implementing accountability provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act. The bipartisan law empowers states to develop systems for holding schools accountable to parents and taxpayers. However, the regulation dictates prescriptive accountability requirements and violates prohibitions on the Secretary of Education’s authority.

“Last Congress, Republicans and Democrats worked in a bipartisan way to advance reforms that will help all children receive the education they deserve. However, the Obama Department of Education worked in a very partisan manner to implement those reforms,” Chairman Rokita said. “We are committed to holding both the former and current administrations accountable to students, parents, and local leaders, and this resolution is one way we can do just that. It puts a stop to an overreaching rule that diminishes the authority of state and local education leaders — something Congress expressly prohibited with the Every Student Succeeds Act.”

In reaction to the resolutions, Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) applauded both measures and thanked the chairmen for their work to deliver commonsense education reforms.

“For years, the Obama administration’s approach to education prevented state and local leaders from delivering the excellent education all children deserve," Chairwoman Foxx said. "Even after Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act with overwhelming bipartisan support, the administration insisted on using rules and regulations to unilaterally push its failed education agenda. These congressional resolutions send a signal that those days are over. I commend Representatives Rokita and Guthrie for pushing back on the flawed policies of the past and moving us closer to a more positive, more responsible federal role in education.”

BACKGROUND: Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress may pass a resolution of disapproval to prevent, with the full force of the law, a federal agency from implementing a rule or issuing a substantially similar rule without congressional authorization. The resolutions introduced by Chairmen Guthrie and Rokita would block the teacher preparation and accountability rules from taking effect and prevent future administrations from promulgating similar rules.

To read the teacher preparation resolution, click here.

To read the accountability resolution, click here.

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