The U.S. Senate, by a 50 to 49 vote yesterday, all but sounded the death knell for Obama administration regulations governing how states must carry out school-accountability requirements under federal law. President Donald Trump said he will sign the measure, which was backed by all but one Senate Republican (and earlier won approval in the House).
So, what exactly does this mean for states and schools, and what happens now?
The Every Student Succeeds Act—the nation’s main federal law for K-12 education—remains in place. (ESSA replaced No Child Left Behind last year—eight years overdue, thanks to historic levels of inter-party squabbling over the broad, as well as the fine, print.) The overturned regulations set requirements for accountability under ESSA, including what factors could be used to judge school quality, how low-achieving schools would be identified for extra support, and how states should handle circumstances where large numbers of students “opt out” of statewide testing.
As Education Week reported Thursday, “Without the rules, the requirements for accountability and state plans will be found in the language of ESSA itself.” (An earlier story by reporter Alyson Klein walks through in greater detail what ESSA says and what the Obama rules said on key issues.)