Trump’s First 100 Days in Education: How Does He Stack Up to Obama, Bush on K-12?

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Trump’s First 100 Days: How Does He Stack Up to Obama, Bush on K-12?

Have you been waiting for President Donald Trump to work with the Republican-controlled Congress and get rolling on a big K-12 education initiative? If so, you might be getting a little bit antsy. But is that unusual during the first 100 days or so of a presidential administration?

Here’s a quick sketch of some of the bigger things the Trump administration has gotten done so far on public school policy after nearly 100 days in office:

• The president and Congress overturned accountability rules for the Every Student Succeeds Act. These rules were finalized late last year by the Obama administration.

• The president and Congress overturned rules governing teacher-preparation programs in higher education. These rules also were finalized late last year by the Obama administration.

The Trump administration rescinded Obama-era guidance designed to ensure transgender students could access restrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identities.

• The U.S. Department of Education released a new template states could use for describing their ESSA plans, which have started to roll in.

For his first 100 days in office, Trump pledged to work with Congress to enact a major expansion in school choice and end the Common Core State Standards. That major choice expansion hasn’t happened. The Trump administration will hit the 100-day mark on April 29.

Part of your perspective on this question might depend on how you frame what Trump and the GOP Congress have done.

The move to overturn the Obama-era ESSA accountability regulations isn’t the same as passing a signature K-12 policy bill. But Trump’s decision to toss those rules overboard, after GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and GOP Rep. Todd Rokita of Indiana pushed the measure to overturn them through Congress, could have a huge impact on how states approach the main federal law governing public schools. And it adheres to a conservative principle of limiting Washington’s role in state and local decisions about K-12. (That last point could also be said about rescinding the transgender guidance.) So politically, from a GOP perspective, ditching the ESSA rules is a significant accomplishment.

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