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Resolution to Rescind the Teacher Prep Regs Awaits President’s Signature

Your advocacy and that of your colleagues, partners, and students has paid off: A joint resolution to rescind the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations for teacher preparation programs has passed both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and now awaits the president’s signature.

Since the initiation of negotiated rule making in 2011, these regulations have been contentious – even negotiated rule making did not reach consensus. In October 2016 when the final rule was released, a coalition of 35 organizations, including AACTE, signed a statement highlighting concerns with the final product. (For highlights of what the regulations entailed, you can read AACTE’s overview of the final rule or watch our webinar overview.)

In the final rule, the U.S. Department of Education responded little to the nearly 5,000 comments submitted during the public comment periods in 2014 and 2016; many of the concerns raised by AACTE during the public comment remained after the final rule was released (see AACTE’s concerns document here).

Regulations like these can be rescinded through three processes only: congressional action, legal action, or by reopening the negotiated rule-making process. Advocacy continued by the profession and key stakeholders – including PK-12, state governments, state-level organizations, and higher education – to engage members of Congress in taking action on these regulations. Now, Congress has responded, passing the joint resolution to rescind these regulations with bipartisan support and sending it to the president to be signed into law.

What’s Next?

The accountability structures in place for educator preparation at the state and federal levels remain, including such things as annual data reporting by institutions and states under Title II. None of that has changed. The joint resolution only ends the new requirement of a state-based rating system for preparation programs, which was tied to access to TEACH grants for their students.

As this advocacy campaign comes to a close, there’s still more work to be done, including but not limited to engagement on the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and funding for education. To augment and strengthen your advocacy skills, visit the AACTE Advocacy Center.

To learn more about what’s happening in the federal government, please attend my free monthly Federal Update webinars (for AACTE members only). This month’s webinars are scheduled for March 21 and 22; register here.

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Deborah Koolbeck

Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE