Education Desk: DOE Taking Flexibility Out Of ESSA, Smith Says

Sep 28, 2016

When Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, it represented something rare these days -- a new law with bipartisan support. That’s largely because it replaced No Child Left Behind, which was almost universally unpopular.

But writing regulations for the new law fell to the federal Department of Education -- the same agency that enforced No Child Left Behind. In a recent column for US News and World Report, Illinois superintendent Tony Smith complained the DOE was perpetuating the same practices in the new regulations.

“The Department is continuing to legislate No Child Left Behind, and take an approach that really deeply distrusts states," Smith said. “All the language looks great, and that’s why I’ve been so outspoken about why the federal department is, I think, missing it. They’re continuing to write rules and legislate in an old framework while there’s an opportunity to be inclusive and engage right now.”

Smith made those remarks while testifying before the House committee on school curriculum and policies last week.

The Illinois State Board of Education is drafting a plan to implement the new Every Student Succeeds Act. Educators have hailed the new law for the flexibility it provides.