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Shifting Political Landscapes: Retirements & Resignations – What Do They Mean for Teacher Preparation?

The fall is ushering in more than a change in the weather in Washington this year. Multiple unpredicted changes in leadership have D.C. buzzing about what it all means.

  • U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) resigned from Congress as of October 30, 2015.
  • U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan resigned as of December 2015.
  • Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Rep. John Kline (R-MN) will not seek re-election next year.

This shifting landscape has certainly affected the predictability of outcomes for actions in Congress and from the Executive Branch on education moving forward – if any of that was predictable before all these resignations and retirements were announced!

All of these changes will affect work on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization. Members of the House will be preoccupied with electing their new leadership for the next couple of weeks. The outcome of that election is likely to be a swing in a more conservative direction, which does not bode well for ESEA considering House conservatives balked at passing H.R. 5 (the House ESEA reauthorization bill) this summer. Conferees have not been appointed and momentum could slow down, which would also affect the potential for Higher Education Act reauthorization. The presidential election year looms not too far off on the calendar, and already much focus and energy is turning to who will take over the White House in 2017.

In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Education is moving forward on releasing its final rule for the regulations for teacher preparation programs. In fact, the Department transmitted its final rule to the Office of Management and Budget on September 16, beginning the last step in the process of completing the regulation. In order to have the regulation enforceable in 2016, the final rule must be released by November 1.

What Are the Next Steps for You?

As of right now, we expect the final regulation out by November 1 (we will let you know if that changes!). If you have not shared your comments with your senators and representative, please do so now. If you have done that recently, you should reach out to their staff and let them know the final regulation has been transmitted to OMB and that we expect the release by November 1. You might review the AACTE concerns document and our overview of the regulations to get back up to speed on what the Department proposed.

AACTE will continue to monitor this situation. Once the final regulation is released, we will analyze it and share a summary and other resources with membership and partners. Meanwhile, please contact me with any questions at dkoolbeck@aacte.org.

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Deborah Koolbeck

Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE