On Wednesday, the House Education Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, chaired by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), convened a hearing entitled, “Supplanting the Law and Local Education Authority Through Regulatory Fiat” to examine the Title I Supplement Not Supplant (SNS) regulatory proposal recently released by the U.S. Department of Education. This proposed rule would change the longstanding requirement that federal funds supplement—not supplant—state and local funds. Concerns have been raised that the Title I SNS proposed rule does not adhere to the letter and intent of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and will have significant consequences for students and schools.
NSBA recently released a statement to join Members of Congress and education advocates in urging the Department to minimize the emphasis on federal compliance by providing an opportunity for state leaders and local school board members to focus on the academic success of students. During the hearing, the witnesses raised several issues with the Education Department’s Title I SNS proposal, including its departure from ESSA reforms that restore state and local governance of K-12 education. Some of the key points made by the witnesses are as follows:
- Steve Canavero, Superintendent of Public Instruction for Nevada: The proposal conflicts with “a key principle of ESSA, which is to empower states and districts to set the best path for student achievement based on their needs.”
- Ryan Owens, Executive Director of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration: “Prescriptive regulations like these are not the solution...These regulations create new administrative burdens, encourage compliance driven decision-making, and rob communities of their ability to govern their schools.”
- Nora E. Gordon, Associate Professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy: “The Department of Education’s proposed rule takes an entirely different approach to SNS than ESSA’s language … The approach that [the department] takes has important negative policy and practical implications for Title I and other low-income schools, as well as for public schools in general.”
Given these concerns, Chairman Rokita reaffirmed “Congress’s commitment to ensuring the law is implemented as Congress intended—providing states and local districts with the flexibility they need to ensure every student has access to a quality education.”