Senate Votes to Overturn School Accountability Rule Under Every Student Succeeds Act

Yesterday, POLITICO’s Caitlin Emma and Michael Stratford reported that the United States Senate voted 50-49 to overturn a rule created by the Obama administration under the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act regarding school accountability for student progress. The resolution has already passed the House, and will now advance to the White House to be signed by President Trump.

The Senate vote was strongly opposed by business groups, labor unions and civil rights groups, who all argued that “the rule developed under the 2015 law…is key to efforts to close the achievement gap between poor and minority students and their white, more affluent peers.” Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio joined Senate Democrats in opposing the measure, agreeing with the groups that some federal oversight is critical to ensuring that state and local school officials provide equal opportunity to disadvantaged students. Additionally, the Every Student Succeeds Act remains in place, so repeal of the implementation regulations is likely to “throw states into chaos and confusion while they’re stuck in the thick of designing new plans…” 

This change in measuring school accountability makes California’s upcoming deadline to publish the pilot of its school and student performance indicators even more important. Regardless of changes to the implementing regulations, ESSA requires California — and every other state — to ensure that schools are accountable for all of their students — regardless of zip code or background — and that information is accessible to parents and families.