Will Congress throw a major monkey wrench at pending Kentucky laws and school accountability programs?
As the Kentucky Board of Education prepares to hear proposals for a major revision to the state’s assessment and accountability program this Tuesday, and as the Kentucky legislature mulls Senate Bill 1, which is in part a reaction to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Education Week reports that the major enabling regulation for ESSA is in trouble in Congress.
Education Week says:
“If these regulations are overturned, President Donald Trump’s administration would be prohibited from issuing ‘substantially similar’ regulations on these two issues if there isn’t a new law signed.”
Apparently, not only the regulation supporting ESSA but also another federal regulation regarding teacher preparation are under review in Washington.
If these regulations are overturned, EdWeek says:
“Without any regulations at all, states will be in limbo and uncertain how exactly to craft state plans that pass muster with a Trump Education Department.”
Kentucky’s own Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., the chairman of the House education subcommittee on higher education and the workforce, is spearheading the attack on the teacher preparation rules, which were actually created by the Obama administration before the former president left office.
Guthrie is quoted as saying:
“[T]he 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.”
Incredibly, the liberally oriented National Governors Association has come out in support of Guthrie’s actions, complaining of excessive federal interference with the states’ rights to govern education programs.
So, standby on pending education action in Kentucky. Very shortly, we might be back at square one, yet again.
Maybe the best course of action would be for Kentucky’s legislators and the board of education to just do what they think is in the best interests of Kentucky’s children and largely ignore the problematic material in the federal law and regulations. Since it sounds like Congress intends to turn more authority back to the states, anyway, that do-what-is-best-for-students approach could save us time and trouble later.
And, if the feds do interfere, it might be time to drag them into federal court and ask what part of the US Constitution allows Washington to interfere with state education rights in the first place. It might just be that even the National Governors Association would join that lawsuit.