Under the cover of the 2016 presidential election noise, Barack Obama’s administration tried to sneak in additional rules on teacher education that the American Council on Education called “costly, complex and burdensome.”
The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education had recommended they not be adopted, because there was no evidence they worked, it was an overreach for the federal government and they essentially would “punish” those involved.
But the Obama education managers approved them anyway.
Now, the rules are on their way out.
William Estrada of the world’s premiere homeschooling organization, the Home School Legal Defense Association, explained that bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate have used the Congressional Review Act to reject “a massive Obama-era attempt to control how teachers are educated.”
President Trump already has indicated he will sign the repeal.
The Review Act allows Congress, within certain time frames, to review an administration’s outgoing attempts at imposing rules and reject them.
Estrada called the rejection of the rules a “stunning victory.”
“Two years ago, we wrote about dangerous proposed regulations from the U.S. Department of Education. The Obama administration was attempting to dictate how public school teachers are trained and what they are taught,” he explained, “After HSLDA and many others filed public comments opposing these proposed regulations, nothing happened for several years. Then on Halloween, October 31, 2016, – nine days before the 2016 presidential election – the Obama administration released their final teacher preparation regulations.
“HSLDA and many others believe that these midnight regulations promulgated by the Obama administration under cover of the election were a direct attack on state and local control over education. Although they would not have affected homeschoolers directly, these teacher prep regulations, just like the Common Core, would have greatly increased the federal role in education. And whenever the government expands its power into education, freedom – including for homeschoolers – will one day be threatened,” he explained.
The AACTE, a national coalition of organizations representing teachers, state leaders and local school leaders, said it opposed the Obama plan as “a costly and burdensome unfunded mandate.”
It cited the federal overreach, the absence of evidence the changes would make a difference, the fact that it essentially was a “test and punish” program and the system’s lack of workability.
“These regulations would extend the ‘test and punish’ accountability model into higher education,” the organization had told Obama’s managers. “Research has demonstrated that using approaches such as value-added methodology to measure teacher effectiveness is fragile at best.”
The ACE said, “The rules will worsen existing challenges and undo much of the progress made by states and institutions to improve program quality.”
HSLDA said the rules would immediately impact teacher prep programs and ultimately likely would even affect homeschoolers.
“He (Obama) created a de facto federal standard for teacher preparation,” the group explained. “College programs that did not meet a state’s requirements for at least two of the previous three years would have lost federal aid.
“We believe that the regulations could have one day been used to control what colleges and universities teach students who are pursuing education and teaching majors.”
HSLDA pointed out that using the Congressional Review Act, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the regulation. H.J. Res. 58, the regulation repeal resolution, was passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 9 by a vote of 240-181. Two hundred thirty-five Republicans voted to repeal, joined by five Democrats.
Then on March 8 the Senate passed H.J.Res. 58 by a wide margin of 59-40. Fifty-one Republicans voted to repeal, joined by eight Democrats.