Full Steam Ahead on ESSA Implementation

by: Myrna Mandlawitz, LDA Policy Director
With members of Congress out of Washington until after Labor Day, the legislative side of government has quieted somewhat. The slack has been taken up by the administrative branch, specifically the Department of Education, which is moving full steam ahead to get regulations written and approved for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The first group of proposed regulations were issued around Memorial Day, with public comments due to the Department on August 1. Proposed regulations focused on ESSA accountability, data, and consolidated state plan provisions. The Department posed five key questions, but also solicited comments on any sections of the draft.

The next set of proposed regulations were released by the Department after the Fourth of July (Might the next set come after Labor Day?). The subject of those regulations is academic assessments. The draft reflects the consensus agreement reached by the negotiated rulemaking team earlier this year. These rules include specific information about assessing students with disabilities in general, such as appropriate accommodations and the use of assistive technology, as well as specifics on assessing students with significant cognitive disabilities. LDA is reviewing these proposals now. Comments are due on September 9.

The regulatory process can be quite cumbersome. The Department must respond to each public comment received before developing the final draft regulations. The proposed rule and the final draft must meet the approval of the Office of Management and Budget, and even the congressional committee of jurisdiction gets a comment period. After all these steps, the Department may opt to reissue a proposed rule if, for example, they have not received sufficient public comment.

Since each of the steps in the regulatory process can take significant time, the Department and the White House are anxious to get everything in place before there is a change in administration. LDA will keep you posted throughout this ongoing process.

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