NAACP Legal Defense Fund Statement on Senate Vote Eliminating Critical Public Education Safeguards

Vote Overturns Key ESSA Regulations 

Today,  a majority of the Senate voted to eliminate critical regulations meant to ensure that states meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and requiring states to develop plans that hold schools and districts accountable for the success of all students, particularly historically underserved low-income students and students of color. This action dismisses consideration of the twenty-one thousand public comments from educators, parents, advocates, and other stakeholders, as well as the work and expertise of the U.S. Department of Education in crafting these rules. The joint resolution now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. 

States are already in the process of developing their plans, which could be submitted to the Education Department for approval as early as April. These plans must still meet the requirements of ESSA, and it is of the utmost importance that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos scrutinize state plans to ensure they are consistent with the law. 

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) sent a letter last week to the Senate about the importance of preserving the ESSA regulations. LDF will continue to hold states accountable for complying with critical civil rights laws and push the Department to fulfill its responsibility to deliver on the promise of education equity and diversity.


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative.