Please contact your Senators TODAY and tell them to vote NO on Resolution to Rollback ESSA Accountability Regulations this week!
ISSUE: Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) with broad bipartisan support in late 2015. Implementation is not yet underway as states were given time to develop their plans. Unfortunately, last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to overturn important regulations made final in late 2016 that assure state accountability systems under the ESSA include key components advocated for by COPAA. If the Senate also votes to overturn the regulations and that bill is signed by President Trump, states will then only be held to ESSA’s statutory language which could result in reduced accountability for all students, including students with disabilities.
Senators need to hear from you TODAY!
COPAA worked intently on the ESSA reauthorization as a partner with business, civil rights, disability organizations and many members of the Senate on the bipartisan passage of the law in 2015. Our goal was to help create a new law that both provided greater flexibility to states and also assured states would develop and implement meaningful accountability systems so that schools and districts will help all students achieve substantive outcomes. The outcomes that we know predict future success and that ESSA supports are: grade level proficiency in reading and math; graduation from high school; matriculation into college and becoming employed. The ESSA statute and the accountability regulations provide the perfect conditions for states to accomplish this.
COPAA testified before the House and the Senate in February and May 2016 about the importance of the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) role in issuing regulations to implement the ESSA. In the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood and Elementary Education COPAA’s Legal Director, Selene Almazan stated: “…via Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council the role of the US Department of Education is vital in the implementation of the ESSA and its provisions. The Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether to grant deference to a government agency’s interpretation of a statute that it administers. In this case the ESSA.”
With the Republican Congressional leaders’ desire to further limit the authority of the U.S. Department of Education on February 9, the House passed House Joint Resolution 57 (HJ Res 57) which invokes a little used mechanism under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) allowing Congress to revoke regulations made within about a six-month window. The ESSA accountability regulations fall into this timeframe which has made them a Congressional target. In the Senate, Chairman Alexander has introduced S.J. Res. 25 which mirrors the House resolution. The Senate will vote tomorrow on this issue. If passed and signed by the President, ED is then prohibited from issuing any further regulations on the specified parts of the law until Congress takes further legislative action.
COPAA believes this resolution is extremely harmful because:
1. Use of the CRA to revoke regulations that fall within the authority of ED sets a damaging precedent of undermining the agency’s authority to regulate; and,
2. The ESSA regulations and the substance therein are essential to assuring that every state develop meaningful accountability systems so that all students have every opportunity to achieve college and career ready standards, schools are identified for support and intervention is provided when student subgroups need it.
Call or Email your Senators:
· Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the office of your Senators
· Identify yourself as a constituent and the organization that you represent (if any)
· Find your Senator’s email address: https://www.congress.gov/members
Suggested email or phone call comments could include:
I’m connecting with you to urge a NO vote on the resolution coming forward under the Congressional Review Act that would eliminate the accountability regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Students with disabilities are at great risk of being made invisible in state accountability systems without essential regulations that assure every group of students will matter when schools are identified as in need of intervention and support. My child/children with a disability deserve to attend a school that is held to the same high expectations as all others in my state and the ESSA regulations will help guide states in the design of a rigorous and meaningful accountability system.
SHARE A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR CHILD/A CHILD WITH A DISABILITY AND WHY ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE OUTCOMES OF ALL STUDENTS MATTERS.
ESSA was passed on a strong bi-partisan vote. Please support the implementation of ESSA and vote NO on the resolution that will revoke the accountability rules that support all students. Our children are depending on strong state accountability systems so they can succeed no matter where they attend school.
Thank you for taking 5 minutes to raise your voice on this important issue! Please share with your networks.
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Protecting Rights. Creating Opportunities. Changing Lives.
The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA) is an independent, nonprofit unparalleled peer-to-peer network of attorneys, advocates, parents and related professionals dedicated to protecting and enforcing legal and civil rights of students with disabilities and their families at the national, state and local levels.
COPAA is premised on the belief that every child has the right to high-quality education and an equal opportunity to achieve his or her full academic potential. States, school districts and schools have an obligations under federal and state law to ensure that each student receives an individualized education that prepares them for work, college, and participation in his or her chosen community.
We work to increase the quality and quantity of advocate and attorney representation. We believe the key to accessing individualized, effective educational programs is assuring that students with disabilities and their parents are equal members of the educational team.