The fight will never end for supporters of public education
Friday, March 17, 2017 10:01 AM
By Chris Reykdal
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal says Washington educators and school boards must be foremost in deciding education policies.
On Feb. 9, Betsy DeVos was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as our nation’s 11th secretary of education. A few hours after the confirmation, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal certain rules for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The rules clarify how ESSA will be implemented in regard to teacher preparation programs and how schools and districts measure success.
The Senate must now vote on the repeal. If the Senate votes in favor of the repeal, the DeVos administration will write its own rules.
Although we don’t know what rules the new administration will write, we do know the rules cannot be “substantially similar” to what previously existed.
The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is in the process of refining our state’s plan for ESSA. In January, we announced that we will delay our submission to the federal government until September. This will give us time to adjust our plan to the new administration’s changes, given that we don’t know how they might adjust current ESSA deadlines.
As state superintendent, I will do everything I can to ensure that Washington educators and our local school boards will remain in the driver’s seat when it comes to education decisionmaking and education policy. OSPI will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Education, and we will defend the right of every child to attain a high-quality public education.
As Washington Sen. Patty Murray said on the Senate floor, “We believe that a commitment to strong public schools is part of America's core. The idea that every student, in every community, should have the opportunities that strong public schools offer. This is a notion that is embedded in our values – it’s who we are – it’s in our blood.”
With educators, parents, students and advocates together, we will continue to fight for what is best for our students. Public education is the great equalizer, and I will run through walls to make sure it stays that way.
State Superintendent of Pubilc Instruction Chris Reykdal issued this statement in response to the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education and Congress’ repeal of certain federal education rules.