NASBE: General Session with Congressman Todd Rokita

NASBE President/CEO, Kris Amundson, welcomes members. NASBE New Member Representative on the Board of Directors, Byron Ernest introduces his Congressman, Todd Rokita (R-IN). Congressman Rokita is the Vice Chair of the House Budget Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. As a member of the US House of Representatives, he co-authored ESSA.

Congressman Rokita: thanks SBEs for their honest feedback on ESSA, shares thoughts on ESSA. Says, "accountability is a good thing; it's up to states to decide what that looks like". Explains some of the disagreements over accountability rulemaking under ESSA; US/ED still has rulemaking authority. Focus will shift to Higher Education Act next (HEA).

Amundson: Concerned that the new template has now "unwound" some of the intent of ESSA on stakeholder engagement - further than the law allows - we will have some more to say about this.

Rokita: Says he will support NASBE on this issue.

Q: On FERPA - is there a bill moving forward?

Rokita: Intend to move a FERPA Bill, I will be the author. Open to your suggestions.

Q: More about "choice" legislation. Have seen great work on ESSA. Have a concern that choice legislation will be restrictive in other ways - beyond "charters" and "vouchers". What do you see and what is your view on choice?

Rokita: I'm a "states rights guy", so why would I be for a federal mandate on choice? President referenced $20 Billion figure, so how does that $20 billion look? Probably in tax credits. Not seeing a Title I transfer.