Rescinding Obama’s education regulation

By Sen. Lamar Alexander - (R-Tenn.)

This week, I led a group of ten senators in introducing a resolution to rescind an Obama administration education regulation that violates the 2015 law I helped write to fix No Child Left Behind.

On Nov. 29, 2016, the United States Department of Education released its final regulation for implementing the accountability provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act – and the rule specifically does things or requires states to do things that Congress said in our law fixing No Child Left Behind that the Department can’t do. In other words, the Department’s regulation specifically violates the law. It’s not a matter of just being within the authority granted by the law. We said to the Department, ‘You can’t tell states exactly what to do about fixing low-performing schools. That’s their decision.’ This rule does that. And we said to the Department, ‘You can’t tell states exactly how to rate the public schools in your state,’ but this rule does that.

The resolution to rescind the regulation is co-sponsored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).

This is really a question of whether you believe that the United States Congress writes the law or whether you believe the U.S. Department of Education writes the law. I believe under Article I of our Constitution the United States Congress writes the law, and when it’s signed by the president, then that’s the law and that the regulations have to stay within it — and that is especially true when Congress has prohibited the Department from doing these things that the rule does.

And this isn’t a trivial matter. The whole issue around the bill fixing No Child Left Behind was to reverse the trend to a national school board and restore to states, classroom teachers, and parents decisions about what to do about their children in public schools. Teachers, governors, school boards all were fed up with Washington telling them so much about what to do about their children in 100,000 public schools. So this rule, which contravenes the law specifically, goes to the heart of the bill fixing No Child Left Behind, which received 85 votes in the United States Senate.

As always, let me know if I can be helpful to you.

By Sen. Lamar Alexander


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