President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to start pulling the federal government out of K-12 education, following through on a campaign promise to return school control to state and local officials.
The order, dubbed the “Education Federalism Executive Order,” will launch a 300-day review of Obama-era regulations and guidance for school districts and directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to modify or repeal measures she deems an overreach by the federal government.
“For too long the government has imposed its will on state and local governments. The result has been education that spends more and achieves far, far, far less,” Mr. Trump said. “My administration has been working to reverse this federal power grab and give power back to families, cities [and] states — give power back to localities.”
He said that previous administrations had increasingly forced schools to comply with “whims and dictates” from Washington, but his administration would break the trend.
“We know local communities know it best and do it best,” said Mr. Trump, who was joined by several Republican governors for the signing. “The time has come to empower teachers and parents to make the decisions that help their students achieve success.”
Ms. DeVos and Vice President Mike Pence were on hand for the ceremony, which was attended by about 25 people, including teachers, lawmakers and the governors.
The executive order is not expected to have an immediate impact on school districts. Policy changes will follow a report on the findings of the review.
The review will be spearheaded by the Department of Education’s Regulatory Review Task Force, according to the order.
Ms. DeVos already has authority to modify or repeal regulations that are deemed a violation of federal law. The order, however, creates a review for identifying those areas and makes clear her mandate from the president to take action.
Reducing the federal government’s role in K-12 is part of Mr. Trump’s reform agenda, which also includes the expansion of school choice programs.
Among those at the signing ceremony were Govs. Kay Ivey of Alabama, Gary Herbert of Utah, Paul LePage of Maine, Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Terry Branstad of Iowa, who also is Mr. Trump’s nominee for ambassador to China.
Also in attendance were Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, the Republican chairs of the two chambers’ education committees.