By Lee Posey
NCSL has been working to stop federal regulations that would impose new requirements on teacher preparation programs by defining the indicators state would use to assess their performance.
The regulations would also define “high quality” for the purpose of determining a program’s eligibility to award federal TEACH grants. NCSL recently scored an important win on the issue.
Here’s the history of NCSL’s advocacy on these regulations.
In 2014, U.S. Department of Education drafted a proposed rule that NCSL commented on when it was released, and when it was later reopened for additional comments on implications for programs delivered remotely. In both instances, NCSL stated that rules went well beyond the statutory requirements of the Higher Education Act.
NCSL called on the department to withdraw the proposed rule and continue to work with the profession and Congress to improve teacher preparation. When the Final Rule was released in October 2016, NCSL was part of a broad coalition—including the National Governors Association and the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education—that issued a statement reiterating concerns about “a federally mandated framework that requires student learning outcome measures and links such performance to Title IV federal student aid eligibility.”
Because the regulations went into effect November 2016, they couldn’t be delayed by executive order. Under the Congressional Review Act, however, Congress may pass a resolution of disapproval to nullify the rule and prevent a federal agency from reissuing the same regulation in the future, or promulgating one that is very similar unless the new regulation is “specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the original rule.
Just such a resolution, H.J. Res. 58, was introduced by Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) in the new Congress. NCSL sent a letter of support for this action, which you can read here. On Tuesday, Feb. 7, H.J. Res. 58 passed the House by a vote of 240-181.
Now the Senate will have to act. The timing of expected Senate action is up in the air, as the Senate is currently in executive session considering Cabinet nominees, but NCSL will continue its efforts to block these misguided federal regulations.
Lee Posey is federal affairs counsel with NCSL's Education Committee.