When President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office one of the first actions he can take to show that he is serious about his campaign promise to send power over education back to the states is to provide direction to Betsy DeVos, who will likely be confirmed as Secretary of Education, with a simple instruction – Approve all state assessment/accountability plans that states submit for approval under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
The Every Student Succeeds Act gives the Secretary of Education broad authority to approve or disapprove these plans. If the Secretary claims that any part of the plan submitted by the state fails to fulfill the requirements of the Act – that is, that in the Secretary’s opinion, it fails “to [prepare students to] graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce without remediation” then the Secretary can deny the plan.
This of course pressures states into keeping Common Core or, at the very least, rebranded standards rather than risk having their plans disapproved for using different standards or aligned assessments.
President-elect Trump can direct the Secretary of Education to act as a rubber stamp in order to maximize the flexibility states can have under the Every Student Succeeds Act until further, long-term action can be taken.
The second step is to order the Secretary to rescind every single “Dear colleague letter” sent by the U.S. Department of Education under President Obama.
These are stop-gap measures mind you, but they are actions that can happen immediately.