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Already-Delayed Teacher-Preparation Rules Pushed Back

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The U.S. Department of Education has again delayed its release of proposed regulations requiring teacher-preparation programs to do a better job of identifying weak programs.

Earlier this year, the White House promised the new regulations, which have been overdue since 2012, by this past summer.

The Higher Education Act requires states to identify "at risk" and "low performing" institutions, but gives the states a lot of latitude: Some states have never penalized a single one. So Education Department officials planned to re-regulate this part of the law to require certain measures and toughen up the requirements.

The department initially wanted to craft the rules with negotiators from the field, but that failed after higher education representatives balked at proposals to use the achievement of K-12 students taught by program graduates as part of the ratings mix. They also objected to the notion of prohibiting poor-performing programs from offering federal TEACH grants, which help subsidize candidates who agree to teach in high-needs subjects in low-performing schools.

Why the delay continues is still unclear, although the department has had many other rules to issue, mostly related to federal financial aid. A recent wave of anti-standardized-testing sentiment might also explain its trigger-shy attitude.

The proposed rules are widely expected to resemble the drafts the Education Department circulated a few years back, with one important exception: They could give more time for states to set up the new identification systems and for consequences to kick in.

Vol. 34, Issue 10, Page 4

Published in Print: October 29, 2014, as Already-Delayed Teacher-Preparation Rules Pushed Back
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