Two rules meant to ensure schools across the country are accountable to providing good education to every student are being dismantled by Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that removing the Obama-era rules would shift education standards away from “Washington bureaucrats.”
But Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said that the laws are necessary to allow every child the same opportunities to receive a sound education. She also suggested the dismantling of the rules provides newly appointed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos a “blank check…to promote her anti-public schools agenda.”
“Eliminating this rule will give Secretary DeVos more power over our higher-education programs — a risk we should not be willing to take without learning more about Secretary DeVos’s vision for our higher education system,” Murray added.
The Senate on Wednesday voted 59-40 to end rules on teacher preparedness. States were previously required to issue ratings for teacher preparedness programs, and federal aid to schools with poorly performing teachers would be withheld. On Thursday, the Senate voted 50-49 to end accountability measures for schools.
Both bills ending the rules have already been passed by the House of Representatives, and now go to President Donald Trump’s desk, who is expected to sign them into law.
According to the National Council of La Raza, a Latino civil rights organization, the regulations were desperately needed. Under the rules, “states were given considerable leeway to create their own accountability plans. However, ensuring equity requires a strong federal responsibility to step in when schools consistently fail to meet the needs of low-income and minority children, according to the NCLR.
Chris Walker has been writing about political issues for the past decade, including for sites such as Elite Daily, AMERICAblog, and Mic. You can follow him on Twitter @thatchriswalker.