Opinion

5 Ideas For Betsy DeVos To Devolve Education Policy From Washington To The States

With the confirmation hearing of Secretary of Education-Nominee Betsy DeVos just days away, critical decisions involving the future of our executive branch are still far from over.

The mix up of leadership in Washington is undoubtedly a tremendous opportunity to continue education reform that has been happening over the last year, but with a twist. With help from DeVos – a known state education reformer – conservative lawmakers across the country now have the chance to take the reins away from the federal bureaucracy and shape meaningful state policy for students in their states.

With this spirit in mind, members from our conservative education reform coalition, Conservative Leaders for Education, have fashioned five ideas on how we can work with Betsy DeVos to keep Washington out of our state education systems.

  1. Rethink ESSA Accountability Rules: In order for states to have full control of education policy, federal requirements on assessments for school improvement and state approved lists for school intervention options must be removed. Additionally the Department of Education needs to streamline peer review to give more states deference. ESSA already provides the basic requirements for peer review.
  1. Create State Leaders Advisory Panel: Comprise a group of conservative leaders and other top education officials to review regulations and provide thoughts on revisions and any unfunded federal mandates that should be removed. Many groups including CL4E have opposed the implementation of the Supplement, not Supplant rule on state fund allocation. Review of the Maintenance Effort requirements in Perkins funding could also provide states with additional flexibility.
  1. Collaborate with CL4E Members: Members can coordinate state visits with Secretary-Nominee DeVos to include meetings with state legislatures, school site visits, and education town halls with parents and community members. DeVos can utilize the conservative leader base to see to it that states remain in control of education policy.
  1. Support States with High Standards: States need to continue to provide quality education for students. There is no need to reopen the Common Core fight. Forty-two states have adopted high standards through local initiatives. States have set their standards high and the Department of Education’s focus needs to keep Washington politics out of local policy.
  1. Explore Teacher Preparation and Development Programs: States need to continue to provide educators with proper teacher preparation and effective professional development programs. The Department of Education can work with local leaders to help grow these programs through the effective use of data to drive individual instruction.

CL4E is in full support of Secretary of Education-Nominee Betsey DeVos’s confirmation in the Senate and is looking forward to achieving these goals and many more over the next four years. To learn more about our principles and our efforts visit our website at www.ConservativeLeaders4Ed.org