NAICU Washington Update

NAICU Submits Comments on Teacher Preparation Regulations

February 11, 2015

On January 30, NAICU submitted comments to the Department of Education on the proposed regulations for teacher preparation programs. NAICU’s comments reflect its concerns about federal over-reach into state and institutional responsibilities to prepare, certify, and license teachers for our nation’s K-12 schools.

Generally, the NAICU comments cover four main areas of concern, with additional extensive section-by-section analysis. Those concerns are that the regulations:

  • Set federal standards for the teaching profession;
  • Require states to use these standards in evaluating teacher preparation programs;
  • Create a four-tier rating system of all teacher education programs that is not anticipated in law; and
  • Determine eligibility for Title IV student aid using the rating system.

The comment period on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) closed February 2, with more than 4,500 comments submitted to the Department. [See December 17, 2014 Washington Update for more information on the proposed regulations.] A review of the comments reveals the Department received many more comments in opposition to, rather than in support of, the proposal. The Department is required to read, consider, and respond to all comments submitted to a proposed regulation. Comments are publicly available for review at; search for “teacher preparation” to find all the related materials.

OMB Comments on Cost and Burden

Also included in the original proposed rule was a request for separate comments to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the cost and burden of implementing the regulations. Any regulation whose 10-year cost exceeds $100 million would be deemed “economically significant,” bringing greater scrutiny to the entire regulatory package. The cost and burden to implement regulations are often underestimated by the federal government, and this proposed rule was no exception. The official estimate for the total ten-year cost of the proposed regulations was between $42 and $42.1 million.

But in one particularly detailed comment on this cost, the State of California estimated their price tag for implementing the regulations at $233 million in initial data development and assessment costs, and $485 million in ongoing annual implementation costs.

NAICU also submitted comments to OMB, which were due on January 2, on the cost burden, highlighting the potential economic impact of the regulations on the diverse range of member institutions, particularly small institutions without specialized programmatic accreditation.

The Department plans to have a final regulation issued by September 2015, with an implementation timeline that would set July 2020 as the first time the link between program rating and TEACH Grant eligibility would be effective. NAICU opposes these regulations and appreciates all the member institutions that took the time to write on these proposed rules.

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