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ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.


Our Most Popular Posts This Year Had ESSA, Donald Trump, and ... Betsy DeVos

By Andrew Ujifusa — December 26, 2017 3 min read
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What a time to be alive—and covering education.

This year featured a new president, a new education secretary, and the first year schools began shifting to the Every Student Succeeds Act. It’s been a busy year for us, and to cap it off, we’re highlighting the 10 blog posts we wrote that got the most readership in 2017. Here we go, from the post with the 10th-most views to the post with the most views:

10) DeVos Tells Fox News: ‘There Isn’t Really Any Common Core Any More’

President Donald Trump repeatedly said on the campaign trail in 2016 that he wanted to end the Common Core State Standards. So when U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said this to a TV news anchor in April, she was channeling Trump’s stated desire. But DeVos’ statement wasn’t accurate, since more than three dozen states still use the content standards. The Every Student Succeeds Act also prohibits DeVos from getting involved in states’ decisions about standards.

9) Betsy DeVos: I’ll Look for Unnecessary Programs to Cut at the Education Dept.

Along with promoting school choice, one of DeVos’ big goals this year has been to restrain the federal government’s role in education when it comes to regulations, as well as the size and scope of the U.S. Department of Education. It doesn’t look like her push to significantly slash the department’s budget has the support of Congress, but DeVos has been trying to trim the department’s staffing levels recently.

8) Donald Trump and K-12 Education: Five Things to Watch in 2017

Remember when Trump won the presidential election? In the wake of his upset win, we highlighted Trump’s potential action on the budget, DeVos’ confirmation hearing, and more.

7) New Senate Tax Plan Doubles Teachers’ Deduction for Buying Classroom Supplies

The issue of the educator deduction in the tax-reform bill Trump just signed generated a lot of interest in our readers. The House version of the tax bill eliminated the $250 deduction teachers and principals can take for classroom supplies, while the Senate plan doubled it. In the final bill, it stayed at $250.

6) Trump Budget Would Make Massive Cuts to Ed. Dept., But Boost School Choice

Trump’s first education budget was hotly anticipated, and when it came out, it delivered on two priorities for his administration: cutting back on non-defense domestic spending and boosting K-12 choice. So far, however, Congress has virtually ignored the spending blueprint.

5) What Would Trump’s Proposed Cut to Teacher Funding Mean for Schools?

And about that budget proposal: One of its most prominent features was eliminating Title II, which focuses on teacher preparation and reducing class size. We took a look at how Title II cash is used and what it would mean if that money dried up.

4) Senate Education Committee Delays Vote on Betsy DeVos’ Nomination

Remember the heady days of DeVos’ confirmation process? This post didn’t highlight a substantive new policy or political development—the Senate ended up confirming DeVos with a 51-50 vote. But such was the interest in her nomination that every development related to it was eagerly devoured.

3) Here’s Why Betsy DeVos Will Likely Be Confirmed, Despite Pushback

After her rough ride in the Senate education committee confirmation hearing, there was furious pushback against DeVos’ nomination, and two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Alaska and Lisa Murkowski, voted against her on the Senate floor. But before that final tally, we looked at why DeVos probably would get the job she sought despite the outcry among many teachers and others.

2) House Votes to Overturn ESSA Accountability, Teacher-Prep Rules

Remember when the Obama administration drew up those accountability rules for ESSA? The Republican Congress wasn’t having it. This post highlighted the first major step GOP lawmakers took to overturn them. Eventually, Trump signed this bill, a version of the Congressional Review Act, and the rules were toast.

And now for our most-read post of 2017 ...

1) Trump Education Dept. Releases New ESSA Guidelines

It wasn’t a hot political scoop, but this item’s place at the top of the list shows how much our readers care about ESSA. This post highlighted when DeVos “released a new application for states to use in developing their accountability plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act.” All 50 states and the District of Columbia have turned in their ESSA plans, and DeVos has approved plans from 15 states and the District of Columbia.

Photo: President Donald Trump takes his seat as he arrives for a meeting with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and parents and teachers at a White House meeting. Evan Vucci/AP