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Education Accountability Regulations Revoked

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The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to roll back Department of Education regulations issued last November by the Obama administration. The regulations laid out how states and districts should measure school performance under the Every Student Succeeds Act — or ESSA — which replaced No Child Left Behind.

The U.S. House used the Congressional Review act to overturn the executive branch regulations. That resolution of disapproval passed the Senate and is now on its way to the president to be signed into law.

Proponents say the initial regulations amounted to federal overreach. U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso of Wyoming both voted in favor of rolling back the rules, and Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said she 100 percent agrees with the senators’ actions.

"We feel like we have enough guidance in the ESSA congressional act, as well as through the conversations and networks that we have both at the federal and state level, to enact this act without rules and regulations," said Ballow.

She added that Wyoming has long exceeded mandated school performance measures even in eras of stronger federal control.

"Every spring we put forth a school performance report that takes into account not only what we are required at the federal level, or what we were required to measure under no child left behind, but also some various aspects of what we as a state saw as being important," explained Ballow. 

But opponents are concerned that by removing these federal regulations, and putting power solely in the hands of states and districts to determine accountability systems -- that it will be harder to ensure equality in education nationwide. Civil rights groups cited particular concern for children of color, students with disabilities, English-language learners, and students from low-income families.

The Congressional Review Act has been used to revoke several Obama era executive regulations, including the Stream Protection Rule.

For more information on ESSA in Wyoming visit the Wyoming Department of Education

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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