Polis Statement on U.S. Department of Education’s Closed-Process for ESSA Implementation

WASHINGTON: Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Education’s new application template for states to develop their accountability plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Department of Education’s guidance follows the U.S. Senate’s passage of H.J. Res 57, a resolution to overturn key accountability protections in ESSA. The new template removes a key requirement that states consult stakeholders when drafting the state plan.

"Eliminating the requirement for public input is the perfect illustration of the Trump administration’s attempt to shutter transparency and remove the public from policymaking,” Polis said.  “When Congress wrote and passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, we did so with public input from a diverse group of stakeholders. Federal guidance should be no different. This template doesn’t require any input from the people it would directly affect. This means that states won’t have to consult with teachers, district leaders, or the civil rights organizations in the community when they write their K-12 accountability plans. Republicans already moved to undermine civil rights by undoing key accountability regulations, and this is another attempt to shut out the civil rights community. Apparently, Republicans would rather have education planning occur in secret behind closed doors that involve community members."

Polis serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce. He is the Ranking Member on the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee and a member of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee.

Polis is a former Chair of the Colorado State Board of Education, and the founder and former superintendent of The New America School - a network of charters schools in several states serving new immigrants and English-language learners - as well as the Academy for Urban Learning for homeless and at-risk youth. He was one of seven House Democrats chosen to serve on the conference committee to reauthorize the Elementary Student Succeeds Act. The district he represents includes Colorado State University, University of Colorado Boulder, and several community colleges.