Update on Proposed Federal Regulations

Please join me for a free webinar next week for AACTE members to discuss these issues: Monday, October 26, at 11:00 a.m. EDT or Tuesday, October 27, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

On September 16, the U.S. Department of Education transmitted its draft of its final rule (which is not publicly available) for the teacher preparation program regulations to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The next step in this process is that OMB will review the draft and work with the Department to craft the final rule. The final rule then will be released by OMB.

At this point in time, OMB will take meetings with stakeholders only on the proposal as drafted in December 2014. AACTE organized a group of 10-12 higher education and PK-12 national associations and met with OMB on October 7, 2015, to express our concerns as a profession with the proposed regulations, in particular focusing on the cost and burden of implementation.

Although AACTE and other organizations originally expected the final rule to be released by November 1, it was recently revealed that the Department expects a release in December. The Department reportedly does not view the timeline for implementation and enforcement of the regulations as defined by Title IV of the Higher Education Act (where the TEACH grants are authorized); if a rule were connected to Title IV, the rule would have to be final by November 1 to be implemented by July 2016. Given this interpretation by the Department, the final rule could still be implemented next year, possibly in July.

Be assured that your efforts are beginning to pay off. The delay in the release of the final rule is believed to be due to the vast number of responses received by the Department during the public comment period and issues raised that need to be given appropriate consideration.

In addition, in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate appropriations bills that fund the Department of Education, language prohibiting the promulgation and enforcement of the teacher preparation program regulations has been included. To ensure that this language remains in whatever work comes out of Congress in December, we ask that you keep up the efforts to share your comments and concerns with members of Congress.

If you have not already done so, we urge you to share your comments on the proposed regulations with your senators and representative to ensure that Congress is also fully aware of your position and that of your colleagues and partners.

If you have already sent your comments to your elected officials in Congress, we now urge that you follow up with a phone call or a meeting request either with the elected official or with the staffer who handles education issues to share your concerns on the proposed regulations and how it will affect your programs and your ability to produce profession-ready teachers for the community.

Note that members of Congress have recess periods in November—see the House calendar and Senate calendar—during which they are likely to be in your neighborhood. This is a good time to meet with them or their staff.

Please utilize the resources on our web site to assist you in this process, and contact AACTE with any questions at regs@aacte.org.

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Deborah Koolbeck

Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE