E-Update for August 26, 2016

E-Update for August 26, 2016

Highlights

  • On August 19, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Representative Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), and USED Secretary John King held a roundtable in Cleveland, Ohio to discuss college access and affordability with local students and campus leaders.
  • On August 19, USED Secretary King issued a statement on the importance of increasing educator diversity, following the release of a Brookings Institution report which outlines the current lack of educator diversity in our nation’s public schools and potential solutions.
  • On August 23, the National Labor Relations Board decided that student assistants working at private colleges and universities are covered under the National Labor Relations Act. This decision allows student assistants to unionize.

U.S. Congress

Senator Brown, Representative Fudge, and USED Secretary King Hold College Roundtable: Senator Sherrod Brown, Representative Marcia L. Fudge, and USED Secretary John King held a roundtable discussion at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, to discuss college access and affordability. During the roundtable discussion, local students and campus leaders shared their college experiences and offered ideas for increasing college access, making college more affordable, and improving outcomes for all students.
August 19, 2016

Administration

K-12 Education:

USED Secretary King Issues Statement on Educator Diversity: USED Secretary King issued a statement on the need to increase educator diversity in today’s public schools, following the release of a report on today’s lack of educator diversity from the Brookings Institution. Secretary King said in part, “We must do more to support teachers of color at all points across the teacher pipeline so students today can benefit from and become the teachers and mentors of tomorrow. Today’s report shows the startling results if we choose to do nothing.” The report identifies four key areas to address in order to increase educator diversity: college attendance and completion for minority students, minority students’ interest in pursuing a teaching career, hiring practices, and teacher retention. The Brookings Institute report is available here.
August 19, 2016

USED’s Absences Add Up Campaign Releases Study on Chronic Absenteeism: The Ad Council, one of USED’s partners in the Absences Add Up campaign, released a study on chronic absenteeism which finds that many parents do not realize that their children’s absences can lead to academic consequences. The study found that nearly half of parents think that it is okay for their children to miss three or more days of school per month without failing behind in school when in fact students can fall behind after missing only two days per month. The Absences Add Up campaign, a partnership between USED, Ad Council, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, works to reduce chronic absenteeism, in part by educating parents and students on the importance of attendance for students’ success.
August 23, 2016

USED’s Office of Civil Rights Settles Discipline Case with Lodi Unified School District: USED’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced that the Lodi Unified School District in California has entered into a resolution agreement to end the racially discriminatory impact of the district’s discipline policies, which were found to have a disproportionately harsh impact on African American students. USED Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherin E. Lhamon commented, “I thank Lodi Unified School District for its renewed commitment to civil rights, ensuring that its discipline policies and practices keep students in the classroom learning critical content rather than lessons in discrimination.”
August 24, 2016

USED Settles Students with Disabilities Case with SC Department of Education: USED reached an agreement with the South Carolina Department of Education after finding the state in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). USED found that the state had failed to maintain state financial support for special education and related services under IDEA from 2010 to 2013. The SC Department of Education agreed to appropriate additional state funds for special education, which will be used to help increase reading proficiency for students with disabilities.
August 25, 2016

Postsecondary Education:

USED Under Secretary Ted Mitchell Speaks with The Chronicle of Higher Education on Innovation in Higher Education: USED Under Secretary Ted Mitchell spoke with The Chronicle of Higher Education about the importance of using innovation to help colleges better serve adults, working people, and others who he refers to as the “new normal students” of today. Under Secretary Mitchell explained, “we have to understand that the college student of today is not the college student of my generation or your generation…we need to do things differently. We need to innovate.”
August 19, 2016 

USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid Updates its Data Center: USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid updated its Data Center which provides key performance data on the student loan portfolio. For the first time, the Data Center will include metrics on applications received for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Additionally, new data reveal that more borrowers are enrolling in income-based repayment plans as new defaults and delinquency rates continue to fall.
August 22, 2016

USED Bans ITT Educational Services from Enrolling New Title IV Students: USED banned ITT Educational Services, Inc. from enrolling new students using federal financial aid funds and increased financial oversight for the for-profit educational provider. USED asserted that these actions are intended to protect students and taxpayers after the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) found that ITT was not in compliance with ACICS Accreditation Criteria. Regarding the decision, USED Secretary King stated, “Our responsibility is first and foremost to protect students and taxpayers.”
August 25, 2016

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

NLRB Issues Decision on Status of Student Assistants under the National Labor Relations Act: The NLRB issued a decision that student assistants working at private colleges and universities are statutory employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act, thus allowing student assistants to unionize. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued a statement criticizing the NLRB’s decision, arguing that colleges may end undergraduate assistant programs as a result. Chairman Alexander’s statement is available here.  A statement from Republican leadership of the House Education and the Workforce Committee is available here.
August 23, 2016

National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI)

NACIQI Holds Meeting to Consider Compliance Report and Applications for Renewal of Recognition: NACIQI conducted a meeting to consider a compliance report for the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and the applications for renewal of recognition for the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC); American Osteopathic Association, Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation; Council on Occupational Education (COE); and Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission (TRACS).  At this meeting, NACIQI recommended that recognition of all of the above accrediting bodies be renewed. NACIQI provides recommendations to USED regarding the establishment and enforcement of criteria for recognition of accrediting agencies or associations, as well as the recognition of specific accrediting agencies or associations.
August 23, 2016

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

CFPB Releases Report on Student Loan Complaints: The CFPB released a midyear report on student loan complaints which details consumers’ complaints about servicing problems, including prolonged delays and wrongful rejections, which may make it difficult to get lower student loan payments tied to their income. The delays and rejections could also lead to increased interest charges and cause some consumers to lose eligibility for certain federal benefits and protections. In response to the complaints, the CFPB also published a prototype “Fix It Form” to help servicers address consumers’ concerns and improve their services. The report is available here. The “Fix It Form” is available here.
August 18, 2016

CFPB Takes Action Against Wells Fargo Bank: The CFPB took action against Wells Fargo Bank for its private student loan servicing practices that increased costs and unfairly penalized certain student loan borrowers. The CFPB found that Wells Fargo Bank failed to provide important payment information for consumers, charged illegal fees, and failed to update inaccurate credit report information. In response, Wells Fargo Bank has committed to improving their student loan servicing practices, correcting errors on credit reports, and improving consumer billing disclosures, in addition to providing consumer refunds for illegal late fees.
August 22, 2016

Upcoming Events

On August 30 and September 8, USED will hold webinars to provide technical assistance to applicants that are considering applying for the Preschool Pay for Success Feasibility Pilot. Register here.

Publications

IES Releases Guide for Implementing High School Academic Interventions: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released a self-study guide for implementing high school academic interventions. The guide provides a template for data collection and guiding questions for discussion to promote reflection about district and school strengths and challenges in planning for implementation of academic interventions and identifying areas for improvement. The guide is intended to help practitioners at the state, district, and school level determine how to evaluate the implementation process, including which types of evidence to collect, and ultimately, ensure strong implementation of interventions.
August 2016

IES Releases Report on Retention, Attrition, and Mobility of Teachers and Administrators in West Virginia: IES released a report on retention, attrition, and mobility among teachers and administrators in West Virginia to help inform policy and program decision making around increasing teacher and administrator retention rates to improve student achievement in the state. Among the findings, IES found that attrition rates were highest for beginning teachers and for teachers and administrators in districts with greater percentages of students who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, among other findings.
August 2016

The Hamilton Project Releases Report on the Long-Term Impact of the Head Start Program: The Hamilton Project’s Economic Analysis on the impact of Head Start on long-term outcomes finds that the program leads to a number of positive outcomes, including: improved educational outcomes such as high school graduation and college attendance and completion, increases in positive parenting practices, and positive social, emotional, and behavioral development which results in increased adulthood measures of self-control and self-esteem.
August 19, 2016

PBS Newshour Airs Special on Compensation Issues in the Early Childhood Workforce: As part of its regular series “Making the Grade,” PBS aired a special last week on the compensation issues facing the early childhood workforce. The special, entitled “Why are early childhood educators struggling to make ends meet?,” demonstrated the low wages in the early childhood field, drawing on research by the Center for the Study of Care Employment and personal stories from child care and pre-kindergarten teachers.
August 16, 2016

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