The U.S. Senate recently voted to approve two resolutions to rescind education regulations. The resolution to rescind the Teacher Preparation regulations was the first to be approved. Those regulations relate to requirements for college and university teacher preparation programs. Later in the week the Senate voted to approve the resolution to rescind the regulations for Accountability and State Plans. The U.S. House passed similar resolutions earlier in the year.
The next and final step in the process is for President Trump to sign off on these two resolutions, which he has indicted he will do. The action to rescind these two regulations, which republicans have argued represent federal government overreach, has been both praised and criticized by various special interest groups.
For State education agencies (SEAs), the rescinding of Accountability and State Plans regulations represent the most significant challenge. SEAs have been crafting their ESSA State Plans and accountability systems according to the statute and regulations. Now, with the regulations being rescinded, SEAs will be dependent only on ESSA statutory language.
A couple areas to watch will be the timeline for implementation of accountability for identification of schools for the new school improvement categories of Comprehensive Support and Improvement and Targeted Support and Improvement. The original timeline set forth by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) placed identification of schools during the 2017-2018 school year. Based on feedback when the regulations were being developed, USED extended the dates of submission of ESSA State plans and accountability determinations. The extension moved the timeline for when SEAs must make their first accountability determinations to identify schools for these two school improvement categories to the 2018-2019 school year. Those dates were included in the final regulations that are now being rescinded.
Deadlines for submission of ESSA State Plans, however, have not changed. A letter issued by the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, shortly after her Senate confirmation, indicated that she is keeping to the ESSA State Plan submission dates of April 3rd and September 18th. Thus, it will be impossible for most SEAs to make school accountability determinations on USED’s original timeline of the 2017-2018 school year because the majority of states have indicated that they won’t submit their ESSA State Plans until September 18th, which is after the start of the 2017-2018 school year. So the timeline of making school accountability determinations for the first time under ESSA will likely remain as the 2018-2019 school year.
It is important to note that the action to rescind these regulations currently has no impact on parent notices that are required under ESSA for the 2017-2018 school year. Parent notices for school accountability determinations won’t be needed until the 2018-2019 school year. TransACT will continue to work with the ESSA National Advisory Board throughout the 2017-2018 school year to develop the appropriate notices needed in this area. TransACT is committed to keeping up with what is happening on the federal education level and reporting to you any impact that these actions might have on parent notices.
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