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LULAC Disappointed with Education Department's Rollback of Community Outreach Requirements for ESSA Implementation

March 13, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the U.S. Department of Education released a new application for states to use in developing their accountability plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act. The application does not require stakeholder engagement, eliminating a key provision aimed at ensuring community participation in the accountability process for ESSA. Guidelines under the Obama Administration required that states conduct timely and meaningful engagement in the development of state accountability plans. Trump does away with that required engagement under the new application.

"Over 50 percent of our students in the K-12 public school system are students of color," said LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. "Our families care deeply about accountability and oversight issues because we want to ensure that Latino students receive the best quality education. Not consulting with diverse stakeholders, civil rights groups, educators, and others when developing state accountability plans shuts out important feedback and is a disservice to the accountability process."

Guidelines under the Obama administration required engagement with a comprehensive list of stakeholders including school districts, civil rights groups, employers, and institutions of higher education. The newly released application says that states "may" but "are not required" to submit documentation detailing how they have engaged stakeholders in the process. The application changes come on the heels of a congressional vote to strike down Obama-era rules developed last year. Congress voted to invoke its authority under the Congressional Review Act to nullify Obama's guidelines.

"LULAC has been working in multiple states to inform the community about the new education law and ensure that our community is involved in any stakeholder discussions," said Rocha. "The new application does not make engagement a priority, and we are concerned that the accountability plans will not reflect the priorities or address the needs and concerns of our families. We encourage everyone to remain vigilant and hold states accountable to engaging in stakeholder outreach to create a quality education system for all students.”

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The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.lulac.org.

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