Two Democratic lawmakers urged Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act as Congress intended, and only approve state plans that meet all of the law’s provisions.
“We are concerned that inconsistent feedback and a lack of enforcement of the law’s equity-focused provisions will hinder states’ ability to identify and address persistent achievement gaps, harming our nation’s most vulnerable students,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a letter to DeVos.
“While the Department’s state plan review and approval process thus far has failed to adequately address all of the above-listed requirements, we urge careful scrutiny of compliance with these requirements moving forward,” the two wrote. “We remain concerned with the quality and integrity of plan components addressing educational equity, and we will continue to exercise our constitutional duty to conduct oversight and closely monitor the plan approval process.”
Over the weekend, DeVos urged states to “really push and go up to the line, test how far it takes to go over it” regarding their state plan submissions.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia submitted ESSA plans to the Department of Education in April and May.
While DOE provided feedback to states missing certain provisions of the law in their plans, it then approved state plans that do not comply with all of the law’s federally required guardrails.
As the rest of states submitted their plans for Monday’s deadline, Scott and Murray reminded DeVos she must follow the law to ensure no students fall through the cracks.