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Protecting State and Local Control Over Education

For years, the federal government took a Washington-knows-best approach to education, and during the past eight years, things only got worse. The federal role grew to unprecedented levels as the Obama administration issued mandate after mandate to exert control over the nation’s K-12 classrooms, colleges, and universities. It was a one-size-fits-all strategy that failed to help students receive a high-quality education.

That’s why in recent years Republicans have worked to deliver solutions — like the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act — that reduce the federal role in education and empower parents, states, and local leaders to do what’s best for their students. That important effort continues today.

Led by Reps. Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Congress will take action to rein in two rules that threaten to pull education in the wrong direction. Both members have introduced resolutions that together will put a stop to the Obama administration’s prescriptive accountability regulation and block the implementation of its teacher preparation regulation. Finalized during the waning days of the last administration, the rules ignore both the letter and intent of current law and will create harmful consequences for students and teachers.

With members set to vote later this afternoon, state and local education leaders are speaking out to explain why the Obama rules are flawed and why this congressional effort to rein them in is so important:

  • Accountability for education rests with the states, regardless of federal regulations. In relation to the teacher preparation regulations, today’s actions … deliver states from unfunded mandates that would have hampered higher education institutions from preparing the next generation of teachers.
    National Governors Association
  • In my view, more needs to be done to ensure teacher preparation programs are adequately preparing the next generation of teachers. Unfortunately though, [the Department of Education] promulgated an overly complicated rule that would impose a significant financial burden on states and education programs. Accordingly, it is appropriate that Congress block this rule. – Peter McPherson, president, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

  • Foisting an onerous federally-mandated state rating system for teacher preparation programs is an unacceptable political intrusion into matters academic … With the repeal of the teacher preparation regulations, we can engage in a robust discussion around the best policies and practices for preparing America’s teachers.American Association of State Colleges and Universities   

  • The Council is very concerned that some provisions of the federal ESSA regulations would restrict instructional judgments by school districts and classroom teachers that Congress never envisioned when it crafted the legislation.Council of the Great City Schools

  • In the midst of a serious teacher shortage, and a significant decline in enrollment in teacher preparation programs, the final teacher prep regulations constitute a flawed and unworkable structure, would prove significantly costly and burdensome to those charged with implementing them, would decrease the likelihood of every student having access to a fully prepared and profession-ready teacher…
    Alliance for Equity in Higher Education
  • We applaud Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Representatives Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) for their effort to include the final regulations on the ESSA accountability regulations and teacher preparation programs in the Congressional Review Act disapproval resolutions. In both cases, the final regulations reach beyond the intent of the underlying statute, constructing unnecessary barriers to state and local leadership.AASA, The School Superintendents Association

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in recent years, it’s that a one-size-fits-all approach to education is flawed and misguided. With a new Congress and a new administration, House Republicans are working to keep the promises we’ve made to the American people to reduce the federal role and empower parents and state and local leaders. That’s what today’s action is all about.