Obama Education Rules Swept Aside by Congress

March 13, 2017

With all the attention paid to President Trump’s lightning-rod secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, and her advocacy for private school vouchers, little public notice has been paid to the action on education in Congress — where lawmakers have broader power than Ms. DeVos to make changes to the nation’s school system.

Now, Congress has done exactly that, voting to repeal crucial regulations associated with the Every Student Succeeds Act, one of President Barack Obama’s final legislative achievements.

When Mr. Obama signed the act in December 2015, many Democrats and Republicans alike celebrated the supposed end of what they saw as an era of federal overreach into local schools. The measure, known as ESSA, took a more collaborative approach than its predecessor, No Child Left Behind.

Many critics viewed No Child, passed under President George W. Bush, as well as Mr. Obama’s first-term education policies, as punitive. The policies pushed for test scores to be used to remove underperforming teachers and to shut down struggling schools. They were also unpopular because they led to an explosion in the number of tests students took each year.

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