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FreedomWorks Foundation drove more than 21,000 responses against new rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Education that would implement parts of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that was passed by Congress in December 2015 and signed into law by President Barack Obama. The comment period for the proposed rules ended on Monday, August 1.
State education officials have decried the proposed rules as overly prescriptive. As noted in multiple hearings conducted by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the proposed rules leave a loophole open that could allow the federal government to resume trying to impose Common Core on the states contrary to the intent of the ESSA.
“The response from our activists shows that the American people are ready and willing to hold federal regulators accountable. Through the tools provided by FreedomWorks Foundation, our grassroots activists have made clear that these regulations seeking to circumvent federal law are unacceptable,” said Ken Cuccinelli, general counsel of FreedomWorks Foundation’s Regulatory Action Center. “The Department of Education should take the hint and leave control of education decisions with the states.”
Responding to these deficiencies, FreedomWorks Foundation engaged its grassroots activist community to comment on the proposed rules during the public comment period. Ultimately, more than 21,000 responses flooded in from activists across the country.
FreedomWorks Foundation also partnered with the Home School Legal Defense Association to assist them in mobilizing their membership to engage in the comment period. Through such partnerships, FreedomWorks Foundation brings organizations and communities with various focuses together to engage in the regulatory process on those issues where the missions of our diverse organizations overlap.
FreedomWorks’ activist comments focused on their continuing opposition to Common Core mandates and also generally called for less federal meddling in local education. These twin goals were also among the stated goals of Congress when it passed the ESSA last year. Unfortunately, the proposed rules departed in significant ways from the intent of Congress.
The Department of Education must now consider and address the comments submitted by the public. Given the tens of thousands of public comments, it is clear that the department needs to modify its proposed rules to better conform to congressional and public will. The American people have sent a clear message in opposition to the Department of Education’s meddling. The department should follow the law passed by Congress, and not try to circumvent it. The executive branch must listen to the people.
FreedomWorks Foundation seeks to engage and educate Americans across all demographics on the principles of smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, personal liberty, and the rule of law. For more information, please visit www.FreedomWorks.org/Foundation, or contact Jason Pye at JPye@FreedomWorks.org.