Bipartisan Education Politics a Thing of the Past
House Republicans voted to block Obama-era education regulations.
hen Congress passed a sprawling rewrite of the federal education law at the tail-end of 2015, it was hailed as a "Christmas miracle."
Drafted, negotiated and passed by members on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers, the Every Student Succeeds Act, which overhauled the widely reviled No Child Left Behind by returning much of the authority over education to states, stood out as a shining example of bipartisanship in an ever-partisan, log jammed political system.
A little more than a year later, that milieu of goodwill in the education sphere has seemingly evaporated.
“We have been able to work together well for the past two years, and it’s because we have worked in good faith and across party lines to make sure we have what we needed to proceed,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, said prior to the committee vote that cleared billionaire school-choice advocate Betsy DeVos, now Secretary of Education, for consideration by the full Senate.
Confirming DeVos in spite of staunch Democratic opposition, she warned committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., was “a massive break with that strong bipartisan record, and it will dramatically impact our ability to work together in good faith going forward.”
Alexander, for his part, accused Democrats of unfairly holding up DeVos' confirmation process.
While DeVos' contentious confirmation garnered the lion’s share of media attention, across the Capitol and out of the spotlight House Republicans were moving on something just as noteworthy: They passed two, separate resolutions that would block the Department of Education from implementing rules set by the Obama administration.
The first resolution, which comes as states begin implementing the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, prevents the Department of Education from dictating prescriptive requirements for how they measure that achievement, using metrics such as school ratings, timelines for interventions for failing schools and student participation in state assessments.
“By blocking implementation of the Obama administration’s accountability rule, we are giving states the certainty they need to move forward with their own efforts to implement the law,” said Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., who authored the resolution.
Citing similar concerns of federal overreach, the second resolution negates an Obama-era regulation that dictates specific requirements states must use to determine the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs.
Democrats blasted the adoption of the resolutions, which passed the House on a party-line vote Tuesday afternoon.
“This resolution will cripple the Department of Education, and it will leave states like Colorado blind on how to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act,” said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo. “After months of bipartisan work on a new education law, it’s both Bipartisan Education Politics a Thing of the Past | Education News | US News: