House Freedom Caucus Seeks to Dump Obama Transgender, Nutrition Rules
Shortly after top Republicans in the Senate released a list of President Barack Obama's regulations they will consider for elimination, a conservative GOP faction in the House of Representatives has its own set of Obama-era rules they want tossed overboard.
The House Freedom Caucus has crafted a "recommended list of regulations to remove" in the first 100 days of President-elect Donald Trump's administration, according to the Washington Post.
Here are a few items from that list that impact public schools:
- Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010: "The regulations have proven to be burdensome and unworkable for schools to implement," the document states. These standards, implemented in 2012, have been linked to healthier school lunches, but Republican lawmakers have disliked them for some time. Members of Congress have sought compromise on this issue in recent years, such as in a Senate agriculture committee bill that got some traction—the Senate bill, for example, would delay restrictions on sodium, provide financial assistance for kitchen upgrades, and create new requirements for verifying student eligibility for free and reduced-price meals in schools.
- Teacher Preparation Issues: This is a reference to the teacher-preparation regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education earlier this year. The rules call on states to collect data on teachers they've trained, and to track whether they're working in high-needs schools, among other things. The Senate Republican Policy Committee has also put teacher-prep rules on its hit list.
- Office for Civil Rights' Transgender and Nonconforming Students Regulations: In May, the education department issued guidance to school districts and institutions of higher education telling them to allow transgender students to use the restroom and locker rooms matching their gender identity. (The guidance is not legally binding.) Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. has said the guidance clarifies that gender identity is protected under Title IX. But Republicans in Congress have strongly criticized the guidance, saying the federal government is sticking its nose into school operations, where it doesn't belong. Opposition to this guidance was included in the official Republican Party platform.
The final Every Student Succeeds Act accountability rules weren't included in the House list, although the Senate Republican Policy Committee did say it wants those rules considered for elimination. Neither list contains the controversial ESSA "supplement not supplant" spending rules, which GOP lawmakers have also heavily criticized.
Read the House Freedom Caucus' full list below: