Contact Your Senators To Stop the Repeal of ESSA Accountability and State Plan Regulations
On February 7, 2017, the House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 57, to “disapprove” (repeal) the accountability and state plan regulations under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA is the law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act and is supposed to hold states, districts, and schools accountable for the academic performance of ALL students, with a specific focus on historically underserved students like students with disabilities. Next, the Senate will vote on whether to repeal the ESSA accountability and state plan regulations.
If a disapproval resolution goes to a vote, it is expected that the Senate WILL repeal these regulations. We need a HUGE public outcry to stop this from happening! The vote is expected to happen once the Senators return to D.C. after the President’s Day recess, which goes from February 20-24. However, we are sending this alert now to ensure you have a chance to make your voices heard in case the vote happens sooner. It is likely the Senate will vote on House Joint Resolution 57, instead of introducing its own disapproval resolution. If the resolution passes the Senate, the regulations will be gone and the U.S. Department of Education will not have the authority to issue any “substantially similar regulations.” The repeal of these regulations will have a devastating impact on federal oversight and state implementation of ESSA.
Regulations are critically important because they instruct the states on how to implement the law in a way that meets the purposes of the statute. This is particularly important under ESSA, which says that ALL students are to have a significant opportunity for a fair, equitable and high-quality education. Also, regulations clarify vague or confusing provisions in the law. For example, the ESSA accountability regulations outline acceptable options states can use in the development of their accountability systems, while also leaving the door open for states to define their own options that are equally rigorous. These regulations are essential to ensure that students with disabilities count in a meaningful way in the state accountability systems.
Main concerns about the repeal of these regulations:
A repeal will provide states with too much flexibility and too little oversight.
It will be harder for state advocates to ensure that their ESSA state plans address the needs of all students with disabilities and hold districts and schools accountable for their academic performance.
A successful effort to weaken ESSA accountability could encourage weakening of accountability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senators’ offices. You can also use https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ to find out the name of your Senators and get contact information. If you have trouble getting through to the D.C. offices, contact your Senators’ local offices, which are listed on their websites. If the vote has not occurred by this weekend, seek out your Senators at public events or at their local offices while they are home for the Presidents Day recess (February 20-24). We will post any updates about a vote on the National Down Syndrome Congress Governmental Affairs Facebook page!
Urge your Senators to:
Discourage a vote on the resolution to disapprove of (repeal) the ESSA accountability and state plan regulations.
Vote NO on the resolution to disapprove of (repeal) the ESSA accountability and state plan regulations, if the resolution is brought up for a vote.
Tell your Senators that:
Congress passed ESSA in a bipartisan manner and they should support these regulations, which are necessary to implement the law.
States will still have much flexibility under the regulations, but we need to hold them accountable for students with disabilities.
The U.S. Department of Education should use the normal regulatory process (which includes public review and input) to modify any parts of the regulations the Senators do not support, instead of repealing the entire set of regulations.