September 15, 2017
DACA Set to End, US ED Reviewing Regulations, ESSA State Plan Deadline
Process and Protest: To advance educational excellence and equity, we must prioritize the needs of our most vulnerable students and communities. To accomplish this goal, we need clear processes for the deliberation and development of policy, and we need to take opposition to current and proposed policies and practices – protest – into account as a healthy part of those processes. This Newsbrief gives our sense of important and timely federal educational news within this process and protest context.
In This Newsbrief:
- DACA Undone
- US ED to Rescind Regulations and Guidance
- ESSA State Plan Deadline Monday
Last week, President Trump announced that, in six months, he will rescind the executive order that created the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) Program. Established by President Obama in 2012, DACA allowed individuals who had come to the U.S. as undocumented immigrant children to remain in the country legally, to work, and go to school. These individuals, known colloquially as “DREAMers,” had to register with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Approximately 800,000 people registered and many renewed their status multiple times. If President Trump follows through with his decision to end DACA, and Congress fails to act to protect DREAMers in the meantime, these young people will be subject to immediate deportation in six months.
Read our colleague Guy Johnson’s position on President’s decision to end DACA on the Opportunity Institute blog.
In the wake of his decision, the President has urged Congress to take action on DREAMers, and has indicated he may reconsider the issue if Congress does not act. A number of states and advocacy groups have announced they are ready to defend the rights of DREAMers, including bringing litigation on their behalf. Still, policymakers in many states are divided about how to proceed. The U.S. House and Senate are taking up a number of immigration-related bills.
- What is DACA and Who are the Dreamers (The Guardian | September 14)
- Five Myths About DACA (Washington Post | September 7)
- Education Leaders React to Trump’s Decision to End DACA (Education Dive | September 5)
Be a Part of the Process:
- Get Informed:
Track the status of immigration-related bills in the House and Senate. Read the Migration Policy Institute’s analysis of different legislative scenarios for undocumented youth.
- Make Your Voice Heard:
Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-2311 to speak with your Congressional member about DACA and related “DREAMers” bills in the House and Senate, as well as about protections for undocumented students in the United States.
- Take Local Action:
Contact your state educational agency (SEA) and local school board about the future of undocumented students where you live.
US ED to Rescind Regulations and Guidance
Claiming that most federal regulations are unnecessary, President Trump issued an executive order earlier this year directing all federal agencies to review existing regulations and guidance and to make recommendations for repeals, replacements, and modifications. In keeping with this executive order, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has convened a Regulatory Reform Task Force at the U.S. Department of Education (US ED).
US ED’s Task Force has issued an initial progress report. A notice in the Federal Register gives the public the opportunity to submit comments regarding which regulations should be protected, repealed, or changed. The deadline for the submission of comments is September 20, 2017.
- Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Blog (United States Department of Education)
- Stop U.S. Department of Education from Rescinding, Replacing or Modifying Critically Important Regulations and Guidance (National Down Syndrome Congress | September 8)
- Civil Rights Groups Commandeer Education Department Call for Regulations to Kill (Politico | August 11)
Be a Part of the Process:
- Make Your Voice Heard: Provide your comment to US ED, before 11:59 PM ET Wednesday, September 20, 2017. Additional background on what is at stake can be found here, and a sample comment letter can be found here.
ESSA State Plan Deadline Monday
This Monday, September 18th, the majority of states will submit education plans to the U.S. Department of Education (US ED). These Consolidated State Plans are required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Monday marks the second of two deadlines. Seventeen states submitted their state plans to US ED for the first deadline, which was in April, and many of those plans have already been approved by US ED.
The process for US ED’s review and approval of state plans has undergone several significant changes this year, creating uncertainty for states and stakeholders alike. Congress overturned clarifying ESSA accountability regulations in March, slightly before the first submission deadline, and US ED changed its process for providing feedback in July. States that are submitting their plans on Monday can expect US ED to respond by having a conversation with state officials, followed by an official feedback letter, but it is unclear what force that feedback is intended to have. Of the plans submitted in April, a few still have not been approved, while others contain elements that appear contradictory to ESSA statutory requirements. To add further complexity to the process, several states have announced their intentions to ask US ED for waivers for specific provisions of their plans.
- ESSA: Four Takeaways on the First State Plans to Win Approval (Education Week | September 12)
- All Eyes on DeVos as Deadline Looms for State ESSA Plans (Politico | September 6)
- Analyzing State ESSA Plans for English Learner Accountability: A Framework for Community Stakeholders (Migration Policy Institute | August 2017)
Be a Part of the Process:
- Get Informed: Read your state’s ESSA plan and learn more about US ED’s review of your state’s plan.
- Make Your Voice Heard: Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-2311 to speak with your Congressional member about US ED’s enforcement of the statutory language of ESSA.
- Take Local Action: Contact your state educational agency (SEA) and local school board to express your opinion.
What Else is Happening in Our Network?
- The Alliance for Excellent Education has created a series of toolkits to support state and district leaders who are working to ensure that students develop “deeper learning” skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. Topics include: assessing for deeper learning, high school opportunities, and infrastructure for deeper learning. (September 12, 2017)
- The Center for American Progress released a report on the critical importance of building a more diverse and selective teacher workforce. The brief includes recommendations for state leaders and policymakers and for traditional and alternative teacher preparation programs. (September 14, 2017)
- The Urban League has created an interactive online tool showing 10 Characteristics of Preschool-Age Children: A State and Local Data Tool to Inform Policy and Action. In addition to providing basic state level demographics of 3-5 year olds, it summarizes state and local characteristics, including whether children are enrolled in early education, whether their families are low-income, or whether their parents are immigrants. (September 2017)