As we continue to navigate the unchartered waters of a new administration in Washington, D.C. and today’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education, becoming even more engaged and diligent in our efforts to share the overwhelming success students achieve through public education.
Secretary Of Education Betsy DeVos
The vote today was as close as anticipated with a historic tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, reflecting a first ever event to formalize a cabinet level position. The significant attention and controversy regarding the confirmation is in stark opposition to minimal attention on education throughout a very turbulent presidential campaign that included comments often suggesting elimination or severely reducing the effect of the Education department.
Another interesting area of focus with impact for states is the proposed ‘skinny budget’ of the FY18 budget expected to be released by President Trump, even before the OMB Director has been confirmed. While it is also unusual to bypass the opportunity to establish budget priorities in the beginning of a new Administration this is clearly another example of business operating under a very different approach.
While it is too early to identify ‘trends’, clearly the executive branch is beginning to exercise its powers to overturn regulations, which on Tuesday included regulations regarding ESSA accountability and teacher preparation. This was achieved through a Congressional Review Act (CRA) – another first as it relates to educational regulations. While IL and other states have begun submitting state plans, it is not clear at this point how the Department of Education will oversee or influence the roll out of ESSA. We do speculate that nothing is predictable at this point. The current status of Illinois’ plan, the potential connection to funding reform and federal influence makes for a complex road ahead to navigate.
Fed Ed Priorities
FED ED is working diligently on establishing new relationships with new staff and federal legislators through an engaging approach of educating and engaging new legislators and education representatives, while continuing to advance important FED ED priorities.
We also know we have to approach some issues differently. We are scheduling more face-to-face meetings here and in DC. We are working closely with other coalitions and organizations as we strengthen our message and resolve for public education. We also need to speak loudly and frequently on what is most important for our students, our districts, FED ED. Thank you for your continued support and advocacy.