U.S. Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued the following statement after the Senate passed H.J.Res. 58, a resolution to overturn the Obama Administration Department of Education's rule regulating teacher preparation programs.
"This is a win for kids because Washington's good intentions can't excuse garbage rules," said Sasse. "Every single member of the Senate wants good teachers for our kids, but that's not what the rule was about. Nearly 700 pages were written around the crazy idea that Washington bureaucrats are competent to micromanage thousands of teacher training programs across the country. Our schools, teachers, kids, and communities will have some space to breathe and room to succeed when we've reversed this absurd micromanaging."
"Overturning this regulation says that states -- not a distant department in Washington, D.C.--are responsible for evaluating whether a college's program gives teachers the skills they need to help their students learn," said Alexander. "The department's regulation also would force states to evaluate teachers in a way that Congress specifically prohibited in the bill to fix No Child Left Behind that got 85 votes in the Senate. I look forward to President Trump's signature."
On October 31, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education published a final rule in the Federal Register that establishes new requirements for teacher preparation programs.
The new rule hits states with new federal mandates for how states judge teachers. Like No Child Left Behind, these new mandates override state and local responsibility with Washington-based systems that rely heavily on student test scores. Some education advocates worry that the rule's increased burden hits schools who are already feeling the impact of teacher shortages and creates a disincentive for talented teachers to go to the very schools that need them most.
Today's legislation, which already passed the House of Representatives on February 7, simply overturns the rule. Senator Sasse was the lead sponsor in the Senate. The resolution passed by a bipartisan vote of 59-40 and now heads to the President's desk.