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Already-Delayed Teacher-Prep Regs Pushed Back

Rumors have it that the U.S. Department of Education was set to release new proposed regulations this week requiring teacher-preparation programs to do a better job identifying weak programs. But they have yet to appear in the Federal Register.

Earlier this year, the White House promised we'd see new regulations, which have been overdue since 2012, by summer. So what gives?

Some background: Title II of the Higher Education Act requires states to identify "at risk" and "low performing" programs and/or institutions, but gives the states a lot of latitude; many never dinged a single one. So the feds wanted to re-regulate this part of the law to require certain measures.

The Education Department initially wanted to craft these with negotiators from the field, but that failed after higher ed. representatives objected to proposals to use the student achievement of K-12 taught by program graduates as part of the ratings mix. They also didn't like the idea that poor-performing programs would be prohibited from offering TEACH grants, which help subsidize candidates who agree to teach in high needs fields in low-performing schools. 

Why the continued delay?: This is still pretty unclear, although the Department has had a bunch of other rules to crank through, mostly related to federal financial aid. A recent wave of anti-standardized-testing sentiment might also be making the agency trigger-shy.

Are there going to be any big surprises?: If you've been paying attention this far, probably not. Sources say that the proposed rules are going to look pretty similar to the drafts the Education Department circulated a few years back, with one important exception: They could give more time for states to set up the new identification systems and for consequences to kick in. 

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