Along with five other presidential higher education associations, ACE responded April 28 to the Department of Education’s (ED) request for comments on how its proposed regulations for teacher preparation programs deal with distance education.
The long-awaited rules have been delayed several times and are now expected to be released this fall. ACE submitted comments in February 2015 on the overall regulatory proposal, which centers on the creation of a federally mandated state-level testing and evaluation system of teacher preparation programs.
The Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), published in the Federal Register on April 1, addresses a narrow but significant portion of the proposed rules: the handling of state reporting and TEACH Grant eligibility for programs that are provided through distance education.
Unfortunately, as with the broader NPRM, the approaches taken in the supplemental NPRM will result in significant new administrative burdens for institutions and substantial confusion for students and financial aid offices. The comments discuss three broad areas of concern: TEACH Grant eligibility determinations, institutional burdens with respect to state reporting, and the lack of clarity in key provisions.
While the associations strongly share ED’s goals of improving teacher preparation, they believe the proposals contained in the supplemental NPRM would undermine those aims and reiterated the request made in the 2015 comments that this effort be abandoned.