New Education Law: Bipartisan No More
Republicans are fuming over what they perceive as complete disregard for the intent of the reform law.
Republicans on Capitol Hill and conservative education policymakers are accusing the Obama administration of breaking its promises on education reform, saying recently released federal guidelines for how states and school districts should implement the bipartisan law are overreaching and encroach on local authority.
“The administration has decided that rather than try to find a middle ground or to work in a spirit of cooperation that they are going to push their own policy preferences to the max,” says Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank. “Many administrations have done the same, but to do this on the heels of a bipartisan compromise, it’s left a bitter taste in a lot of people’s mouths.”
The White House was quick to push back on that assessment.
“This bill is a result of consensus that this law needed to be reformed and refined,” said Cecilia Munoz, assistant to the president and director of the Domestic Policy Council, to a group of reporters Thursday. “We needed to get away from the one-size-fits-all approach, and I’m quite confident that that coalition is not going to break up.”
She continued: “The details matter a lot, but the consensus around what we needed to accomplish, what we in fact accomplished by passing the law and what we believe we are accomplishing with these regulations is quite strong.”
The Education Department released on Thursday a series of proposed regulations to the new education law aimed at providing more specificity for how states and school districts should design their accountability systems. The proposals were met with criticism from GOP lawmakers, who were quick to warn that they were not in line with the foundation of the law – namely to provide more flexibility to states and school districts.
“I am disappointed that the draft regulation seems to include provisions that the Congress considered – and expressly rejected,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., a key architect of the law. “If the final regulation does not implement the law the way Congress wrote it, I will introduce a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to overturn it.”
While Alexander’s staff is still going through the 192-page package of regulations, one of the major proposals conservative policymakers have complained about is a tightening of the indicators states and districts are allowed to use – in addition to test scores – to show student success and school quality.New Education Law: Bipartisan No More | US News: