March 09, 2017

Van Hollen Statement in Opposition to Resolution to Disapprove of the Education Accountability Rule

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen submitted the following statement to the congressional record in opposition to the Resolution to Disapprove of the Education Accountability Rule:

"Mr. President, one of the most significant bipartisan accomplishments of the last Congress was the Every Student Succeeds Act, the long-overdue reauthorization of K-12 education law. The Every Student Succeeds Act returned more flexibility to states while ensuring accountability to ensure that every child gets a quality education.

"Today, however, the Majority has brought before the Senate a measure that would take a step backwards. This Congressional Review Act resolution would repeal Department of Education regulations that the Department put in place to give states and school districts clarity about their responsibilities under the law and guidance to ensure that students receive their guaranteed civil rights protections. The regulations resulted from of a year of stakeholder feedback. States are already using this guidance to write their state plans.

"If we pass this resolution today, we would pull the rug out from under the very local stakeholders that we promised to empower with the Every Student Succeeds Act. Passing this resolution would disrupt their planning process and interfere with their operations. This resolution would also hurt our most vulnerable students by weakening accountability and protections for students with disabilities and students of color.

"As the National Disability Rights Center has said:

'To rescind these regulations would not only be a disservice to the spirit of ESSA and diminish the efficacy of the law, but would also serve to undermine the equity of educational opportunity for all students, including students with disabilities.'

"The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights concurred, arguing:

'The underlying accountability and state plan regulation will help states, districts, and schools to faithfully implement the law and meet their legal obligations to historically marginalized groups of students . . . .'

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also opposes repealing this regulation, saying:

'Just as we believe the Every Student Succeeds Act incorporates our principles, we believe the [accountability] regulations do as well. And they provide states with the clarity they need to move forward.'

"The Every Student Succeeds Act was the result of years of painstaking work and bipartisan compromise. The implementing regulation was the product of stakeholder input. We should not undermine that important progress and throw our education system into chaos with this resolution. I urge a no vote."