State Authorization Lawsuit: Court and Ed Department Need to Work Together to Avoid Causing More Confusion for Students and Institutions


As one of my favorite columnists, Dave Barry, used to say, “I am not making this up!”  Maybe what I am about to share isn’t as exciting to you as last week’s release of “Avengers: Endgame” or Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” episode, but I kid you not, we are living in real life plot twisting times with the Federal Regulations for State Authorization.

Just two weeks ago, we reported that we thought that maybe we were seeing the end to the Federal Regulations Groundhog’s Day loop.We shared that after roughly 10 years the negotiated rulemaking consensus brought the potential for some actual logical and enforceable state authorization Federal regulations that showed protection for students and a reasonable process for institutions.

…..but then the next plot twist came! What will be the ending now? Can we predict the next plot point? Are there clues from previous federal regulation episodes that we can re-watch to help us reach the final episode of this state authorization drama?

Most importantly…what real life consequences does this unfolding drama have on institutions and students?

The Facts

On Friday, April 26, 2019,  two online news sources, Courthouse News Service and in PoliticoPro (a subscriber edition) reported that a California judge planned to side with the plaintiff in the case brought by the NEA & the California Teachers Association challenging the delay of the State Authorization Federal Regulations that were to be effective July 1, 2018. In plain English, it means that U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler intends to find that the delay of the regulations was illegal. Important plot point: there is no written ruling as of this date.

Judge Beeler is reported to have shared that her decision is due to the Department of Education’s failure to offer negotiated rulemaking in regard to the delay and that the 15 day public comment period was not sufficient to create the delay of the effective date.  The Judge is also reported to have said that she is considering putting the ruling on hold for 30 days to give the Department time to prepare for implementation of the regulations. In reading the two articles mentioned, it is not clear if that is 30… (Continue reading)