Congress, President to Repeal Obama-era Accountability Regulations

U.S. Capitol.jpgOn Thursday (March 9), the U.S. Senate by a vote of 50-49 approved a resolution (H.J.Res. 57) to invoke its authority under the federal Regulatory Control Act to repeal the Accountability and State Plan regulations promulgated last November by the Obama Administration under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  (The Regulatory Control Act allows congressional disapproval of previously promulgated federal regulations under certain conditions.)

Earlier, the U.S. House of Representatives had approved the measure 234 – 190 on Tuesday (March 7). The measure heads to the White House, where President Trump is expected to approve it, effectively repealing the regulations issued under the former Administration.

Those Accountability regulations, which reflected an activist imprint of President Obama’s Department of Education on the implementation of ESSA, were originally set to take effect on January 30th, but the U.S. Department of Education postponed the effective date to March 21st. As a result, the regulations have not yet taken effect.

The regulatory package included over twenty regulations that addressed all matters relating to accountability and set requirements for State Plans, which States have been working to develop and finalize over the last year. One Republican, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), voted against the repeal, which was otherwise approved on a party-line vote.

In a Dear Colleague Letter dated November 29, 2016, the Obama-era Department of Education had notified state education agencies that it would accept consolidated state plans on two dates: April 3 or September 18, 2017. At the same time, the Department of Education also released a Consolidated State Plan Template that states were required to use if they submit a consolidated state plan.

With regard to those items, the Department of Education has announced that the Trump Administration will maintain previously announced state plan application deadlines. (For Wisconsin this means the state will continue to have until September 18, 2017 to submit its consolidated state plan.)

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education is expected to release a new Consolidated Plan template within the next few weeks. Using that template, Wisconsin will have to provide the federal government with certain assurances that it will meet requirements under ESSA in order to continue receiving federal education funding under Title I. The deadline for providing those assurances had been set for April 3.