Inhofe Votes for CRA to Prevent Further Teacher Shortages in Oklahoma

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today voted in favor of H. J. Res 58, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution of Disapproval to block the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) final rule relating to teacher preparation programs under the Higher Education Act. The final rule takes authority away from states that has been provided under existing law and imposes federal requirements and criteria on how states are to evaluate the performance, effectiveness and quality of teachers and teacher preparation programs.  Inhofe was an original cosponsor of S. J. Res 27, the Senate companion to this CRA resolution.

 The state of Oklahoma already suffers from high teacher shortages and the need to fill vacancies left by annual retirees is growing—this rule would have made matters worse. By voting for this CRA to block the final DOE rule, my colleagues and I are preventing the federal government from enforcing an unfunded mandate that places arbitrary criteria on teach prep programs at our universities. Not only does the rule add red tape and increase costs with no return on those investments, but it could dissuade students from enrolling in education programs and pursuing careers in teaching, ultimately leading to more drastic teacher shortages in our K-12 programs. By passing this CRA today, the Senate took an important step in protecting our university students enrolled in teacher prep programs as well as K-12 students who depend on graduates from these programs as their teachers.”

 Dr. Steve Turner, president of Northeastern State University praised the passage of this CRA resolution:

 "Northeastern State University applauds Sen. Inhofe's support and leadership in passing H.J. Res. 58.  The rules related to teacher preparation programs as initially put forward by the US Department of Education would have proved to be a very costly unfunded mandate and represented an overreach by the USDOE. As one of Oklahoma's largest producers of teachers, NSU is committed to quality instruction and we know our graduates have an obligation to improve student performance in the classroom. I have every confidence that NSU's College of Education will continue its ongoing efforts to improve the quality and rigor of the programs."