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Advocacy Groups Unhappy With List of ESSA Negotiators

By Alyson Klein — March 15, 2016 1 min read
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Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education released its list of members of the “negotiated rulemaking committee.” The committee will help write the rules for the Every Student Succeeds Act when it comes to assessment and supplement-not-supplant (the wonky provision of the law that governs how state and local dollars interact with federal funds).

But the list already has its share of critics—both among advocates for educational practitioners and those who represent parents or particular groups of students.

On the one hand, a collection of more than a dozen advocacy groups, including those who represent students in special education, and particular groups of students, wrote a letter to Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., and Ann Whalen, who is filling the duties of assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education, to say they worry they think the ration of representatives for practioners to representatives for parents and particular groups of students is out of whack.

Signatories to the letter include two prominent groups representing Latinos, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), as well as the Civil Rights Project, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, and the National Down Syndrome Congress.

And another advocate had a very different set of concerns.

“It seems very odd that the group is overwhelmingly urban and also that all the civil rights groups are represented by registered lobbyists whereas the education groups are all represented by practitioners,” the advocate said. “This will create an enormous imbalance given that we are debating policy provisions and we have folks on one side who eat, breathe and live policy (some of whom are lawyers) and on the other hand we have a variety of school personnel who interact with the law on a much more practice-based level.”

As a reminder, here’s the list of negotiators:

This F.A.Q. from the department explains how negotiators are chosen.

What do you think of the list? Comments section is open! And read the full letter below: