President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to review the federal role in education – and whether it's overstepped its legal authority in K-12 programs – in an aim to shift power to states and local communities.
"The time has come to empower parents and teachers to make the decisions that helped their students achieve success," Trump announced at the White House. "That's what this executive order is all about. ... Thomas Jefferson put it best when he said 'I believe the states can best govern our home concerns.'
"With this executive order and many actions that we've taken in less than 100 days, we've provided our states and communities with control over the matters that are most important to them."
In an earlier conference call with reporters, senior Department of Education official Rob Goad said the order directs Secretary Betsy DeVos "to review and, if necessary, modify and repeal regulations and guidance issued by the Department of Education with a clear mandate to identify places where [Washington] has overstepped its legal authority."
The review will take place over the next 300 days, he said, after which a report will be issued. But he said DeVos will be able to "modify anything that is inconsistent with federal law."
The order doesn't give any new authority to DeVois, who already has powers to revise or withdraw policies from previous Department of Education leaders, the Washington Post reported.
"States should have the freedom and flexibility to advance creative and innovative ideas to determine the best ways to provide the highest-quality education possible to every student," Goad said.
The Post noted complaints of federal overreach intensified during President Barack Obama's administration as the department wielded billions of dollars in stimulus funds to push states toward adopting new teacher evaluations and Common Core academic standards.
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