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DeVos Scraps More ‘Out-of-Date’ Federal Directives to Schools

By Andrew Ujifusa — October 27, 2017 2 min read
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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has announced that she is withdrawing still more of what the U.S. Department of Education called “out-of-date” guidance and other documents involving schools’ approaches to various issues, some of them stemming back more than a decade.

The Friday announcement rescinds guidance documents from the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, covering areas such as the now-defunct School Improvement Program, flexibility from the now-replaced No Child Left Behind Act, using Title I funds for schoolwide purposes, and other matters. The documents date from 1996 to 2015.

Importantly, however, the Trump administration did not appear to scrap the Obama administration’s Every Student Succeeds Act guidance on areas like evidence-based interventions for low-performing schools, and the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, better known as Title IV of ESSA. As of mid-day Friday, the department had not released any documents it was rescinding from the department’s office for civil rights.

Click here to read the full list of guidance and other directives that DeVos has decided to rescind.

It’s been a busy seven days for DeVos when it comes to tossing out directives from prior administrations.

A week ago, the department swept aside prior special education guidance and regulations. Some of those documents were old, and the department said that they had been superseded by subsequent actions. However, the move still caused an uproar in much of the special education community. DeVos’ agency quickly responded to the outcry, providing explanations for why it had rescinded the documents.

With her proposals to expand school choice stymied in Congress, cutting back on federal guidance and regulations to public schools has been one of DeVos’ biggest priorities. That’s in part because President Donald Trump has told his department and agency heads to reduce Uncle Sam’s footprint.

In June, DeVos’ Education Department requested input from the public on cutting back federal directives in education that drive up costs, create too much paperwork, and in general create an unnecessary burden on schools. That emphasis extends beyond just K-12. As we wrote about DeVos’ tenure leading the department after six months, amid struggles to push school choice and hire key staff: “DeVos has arguably been able to do more—and get more Republicans on board with her agenda—on higher education. For example, she and her team have been slowly scaling back, pausing, or moving to overhaul Obama-era student financial aid regulations.”

In a speech to principals in September, DeVos said they should be able to focus on people, not paperwork.

Read the list of rescinded guidance and other documents.

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Alyson Klein, Assistant Editor contributed to this article.