Kirsten Baesler Statement About U.S. House Action on Federal ESSA Rules

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Kirsten Baesler Statement About U.S. House Action on Federal ESSA Rules
BISMARCK, N.D., Feb. 11, 2016 – The U.S. House has voted to block U.S. Department of Education regulations to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal education law that Congress approved in December 2015.

This action will not affect the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction’s plans to comply with the ESSA. The law gives state and local education officials more flexibility to craft education policy than we have had in more than 25 years.

In writing our compliance plan, we have focused on what the law allows, which supersedes the Education Department’s proposed rules. We believe our plan complies with federal law.

Federal agencies often write regulations to implement laws passed by Congress. After the approval of the ESSA, the Department of Education proposed a number of rules to accompany the new law.

The U.S. House’s vote this week blocked two of the rules because members believed they were a bureaucratic power grab that went against the intent of ESSA, and infringed on the rights of states and local schools to shape their own education standards. The vote did not affect the law itself.

Last year, as the rules were being developed, we expressed similar concerns to the Department of Education. We outlined some of our objections in an August 2016 letter to John B. King Jr., who was then the Secretary of Education. The letter is posted on the NDDPI website.

The first draft of our ESSA plan is posted. I have been encouraging public comment about the plan. North Dakotans who wish to comment may send an email to, and a form that may be used to provide feedback is posted here. An assortment of ESSA resources can also be found on NDDPI’s website here.