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Via Telephone
10:52 A.M. EDT

Hi, this is Rob Goad.  I’m a senior Department of Education official.  I’m just going to read a brief statement about the President’s executive order, and then I’ll take a few questions.

So, today, the President is signing an executive order that delivers on his commitment to ensure education decisions are made by those closest to students.  Since our founding, education was intended to be under state and local control.  In recent years, however, too many in Washington have advanced top-down mandates that take away autonomy and limit the options available to educators, administrators, and parents.

Today’s executive order puts an end to this overreach, ensuring that states and localities are free to make educational decisions as required by law.  This executive order makes certain that local leaders will be making the decisions about what happens in the classroom.  Parents will no longer have to worry about the federal government enacting overreaching mandates or requiring states to adopt a federal curriculum at the expense of local education innovation.
This EO takes the next needed step toward identifying and eliminating D.C.-driven regulations that attempt to control what students are or aren’t taught.  Over the next 300 days, this executive order directs Secretary 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 D.C. has overstepped its legal authority.

The Department’s regulatory review task force will manage this process, among other critical regulatory issues, and work with the public to help determine which regulations are inconsistent with federal law.  One-size-fits-all policies never work, especially for individual students with individual and unique needs.  Supporting local control means supporting education better tailored to the students the school serves.  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.

With this executive order, President Trump has reaffirmed his commitment to getting the federal government out of the way and to returning control over education back where it belongs, at the state and local level.

When communities and parents make the educational choices, students win.  Today’s executive order puts us firmly on that track.

With that, I’ll take a few questions regarding the executive order.

Q    Hi, this is Allison at Education Week.  Can you remind me exactly how this executive order would, I guess, change anything?  Because obviously the (inaudible) already included a lot of prohibitions on the Secretary’s role.  Can you walk me through how this is different from (inaudible)?

MR. GOAD:  Sure, yeah.  Well, I think this executive order goes a step beyond (inaudible) by having a comprehensive review of all of the guidance and regulations issued by the previous administration, and then identifying anything that may or may not be consistent with federal law.

Q    And how long did you say the Secretary will have to do this?

MR. GOAD:  Three-hundred days.

Q    Three-hundred days.  And will there be a public report issued at the end?  Or how will the findings be made public?

MR. GOAD:  They will go to the White House, and then, I believe, there will be a public report.

Q    I’m wondering if this is focused just on K-12, or if this will go into sort of the pre-K and higher-ed spaces as well.

MR. GOAD:  It’s just focused on K-12.

Q    I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear your answer to the question about the process.  Can you go through that again?

MR. GOAD:  In regards to the process for —

Q    The report.

MR. GOAD:  So there’s going to be a regulatory review task force that will be reviewing the regulations and guidance issued by the previous administration to confirm if they’re consistent or inconsistent with federal law.  And then there will be a report at the end of 300 days.

Q    And on that regulatory review task force, will those be Ed Department employees?  Or who will be on that task force.

MR. GOAD:  Yes, it’s the same task force that is doing the regulatory review at the Department of Education, which I believe was announced yesterday.  Bob Eitel will be leading that effort.

Q    I’m sorry, can you say the name again?  Who’s leading the effort?

MR. GOAD:  Bob Eitel.

Q    You said at the top that this executive order would empower the Secretary to modify or get rid of any regulations that don’t comply with law.  How will that process work?

MR. GOAD:  So I think at the end of 300 days, and after we have produced a report, we will make those decisions once the report has concluded.

Q    So is she empowered to modify the regulations as needed, or is that going to be a separate process entirely?

MR. GOAD:  The executive order gives her — empowers her to modify anything that is inconsistent with federal law.

Q    Isn’t she already empowered to do those things?  This executive order doesn’t give her those powers, right?

MR. GOAD:  That’s right.  I got time for one more.

Okay.  That’s it, guys.  Thanks so much.

10:58 A.M. EDT