Federal Update: ESSA implementation
Date Posted: 4/14/2016
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) remains in focus at the federal level as the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and Congress continue to implement the new law. The ESSA negotiated rulemaking committee met in its second session last week, while the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) hosted U.S. Secretary of Education John King this week for an ESSA oversight hearing. The ESSA negotiated rulemaking committee, tasked with finding consensus on federal rule language that will govern the assessment and ‘supplement, not supplant’ portions of the new federal education law (more on that and the committee's first session here), met in its second session over the course of three days last week. The committee failed to reach an agreement on the rule language for either topic (although it did agree on one portion of the assessment language: computer adaptive testing), triggering the scheduling of an additional session. The committee will have one more chance when it meets in its third and final session next week, but there seems to be growing skepticism that the committee will be able to reach consensus. If they cannot, ED will be able to proceed with formulating its own versions of the rules. Rulemaking was also a topic of the HELP committee hearing that took place on Tuesday. Members of the committee were there to discuss ESSA implementation with Secretary King and took the opportunity to press the Secretary on a host of rulemaking and regulatory issues. Lawmakers primarily weighed in on provisions affecting funding and assessments; the civil rights aspect also remains a primary topic of debate. Lawmakers continue their push to ensure the intent of Congress is reflected in all aspects of ESSA as it is implemented by ED. Secretary King has said that he hopes to finish all regulatory work by the fall. That is an aggressive timeline, but make sense as the Secretary hopes to finalize everything before a new President takes over the department in January. We will have more on Teach the Vote as ESSA implementation continues.
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