The Senate voted 59 to 40 Wednesday to overturn Obama administration regulations meant to ensure that new K-12 public school teachers are ready for the nation’s classrooms.
The House has already approved the measure, and the White House has indicated that President Trump intends to sign it.
“This regulation actually makes the assumption that bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., are competent to micromanage teacher training programs in America,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “That’s absurd.”
The regulations, which stemmed from the Higher Education Act, require each state to issue annual ratings for teacher-prep programs within their borders. Poor-performing programs would lose eligibility for some federal student aid.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) argued that the regulations would help prospective teachers make informed choices about which training programs to pursue. “It helps make sure students can make informed decisions about the quality and preparedness of their education,” Murray said.
More than five years in the making, the regulations were championed by some education-reform advocates, but they drew broad criticism, including from Republicans, teachers unions and colleges.
The Senate is also expected to vote this week to nullify another set of education regulations, which lay out how states must carry out a federal law that holds public schools accountable for serving all students. The House has already approved undoing those rules, which advocates say are necessary to protect the interests of historically disadvantaged students.
The effort to undo the two sets of education regulations is part of a broader push by the Republican-led Congress to repeal Obama-era regulations that the GOP considered to be executive overreach.