Saturday, May 28, 2016

Lawyers’ Committee Responds to U.S. Department of Education’s Move to Provide Needed Guidance for States on School Accountability Standards

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr.

New regulations will clarify states’ responsibilities under new federal education statute

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 26, 2016 – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s issuance of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to clarify the accountability provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

“The challenges that we face in public education today require that the U.S. Department of Education do more to ensure that school districts are meeting the needs of students across the nation,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The proposed federal guidelines will help to breathe life into the law, ensuring that states, districts and parents are provided the clarity and tools necessary to provide all students with a high quality education.”

Some of the most important provisions of the proposed regulations would require states to:
  • Select indicators of academic progress that are evidence-based and can be used to compare subgroups of students, including racial subgroups;
  • Include all public charter schools in their accountability systems;
  • Define schools as “consistently underperforming” that fail to meet the states’ own definitions of success for two or more years; and
  • Identify schools for comprehensive and targeted support for the 2017-2018 school year.
The Lawyers’ Committee plans to review the proposed regulations carefully and prepare comments for the Department’s review.
Civil rights groups have consistently urged Department of Education Secretary John B. King, Jr., to issue regulations to clarify ESSA’s accountability provisions. Under federal law, agencies have the authority to define ambiguous terms in the statutes Congress has tasked them with implementing.

About the Lawyers’ Committee
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Formed over 50 years ago, we continue our quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and community development; employment; voting; education; environmental justice; and criminal justice.  For more information about the Lawyers’ Committee, visit


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