E-Update for the Week of December 10, 2018

E-Update for the Week of December 10, 2018

Highlights:

  • On December 6, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Kathy Kraninger as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Kraninger was confirmed with a 50-49 vote along party lines.
  • On November 30, House Republicans selected House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to serve as Ranking Member of the Committee during the 116th Congress.
  • On December 4, the White House announced a plan to improve access and quality of STEM education in the country. The plan has three goals: (1) build a strong foundation for STEM literacy; (2) increase diversity in STEM careers; and (3) prepare the STEM workforce for the future.

Congress:

Senate:

CFPB nominee approved by Senate: The Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Kathy Kraninger as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Kraninger was confirmed with a 50-49 vote along party lines.
December 6, 2018

Murray urges USED to outline plans for new student loan collection contracts: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting the Department release information on how it plans to award new contracts to student loan servicers. The Department is currently in the process of developing changes to the way it collects federal student loans. The letter states, “Servicers should have both a moral and regulatory obligation to operate in the best interest of borrowers,” and calls for the Department to review finalists for contract awards based on their past performance. The letter is here. A press release from Ranking Member Murray is here.
December 6, 2018

Van Hollen introduces bill to fully fund Title I, IDEA: Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced S.3699, the “Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act.” The bill would require Congress fully fund both Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on a “mandatory basis.” Senator Van Hollen stated, “Congress had the right intentions when it passed Title I and IDEA, but we have fallen short on the promises in the law to fully fund these critical programs.” The bill would create a 10-year plan to fully fund the two programs by the end of the plan. The bill is supported by the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and AASA, the School Superintendents Association. A press release from Van Hollen’s office is here.
December 4, 2018

House:

The House was not in session this week due to memorial services for late President George H.W. Bush. The House is scheduled to return on December 10.

Pallone sends second request for more information from HHS on separated children: House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) sent a follow-up letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar regarding the Department’s ability to track, care for, and reunite children who have been separated from their parents at border. “I am deeply disturbed by recent reports that are raising new questions about the efforts of [HHS] to adequately track and care for children in its custody, including children who were reportedly separated after the official end of the Administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy,” wrote the Ranking Member. The letter requests the Department answer questions regarding the number of children still in custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR); how many children were separated from their parents for reasons other than the child’s safety; how long the Department expects the Tornillo facility to remain open; and what the Department is doing to ensure all facilities meet relevant requirements. The letter is here. A press release from the Ranking Member is here.
December 6, 2018

Foxx selected as Education Committee Ranking Member: House Republicans selected House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to serve as Ranking Member of the Committee during the 116th Congress. This was an expected move for House Republicans. “It is an honor to have the trust and confidence of my colleagues to help lead all of us to uncovering and implementing more ways to empower Americans to build successful lives,” stated the Chairwoman. A full statement is here.
November 30, 2018

Administration:

White House:
White House announces plan to improve STEM education access, quality:  The White House announced a plan to improve access and quality of STEM education in the country. The plan has three goals: (1) build a strong foundation for STEM literacy; (2) increase diversity in STEM careers; and (3) prepare the STEM workforce for the future. In order to achieve these goals, the plan highlights that the Administration will focus on developing strategic partnerships, engaging students when disciplines converge, and advancing computational thinking skills. “My Administration will do everything possible to provide our children, especially kids in underserved areas, with access to high-quality education in science, technology, engineering, and math,” stated President Donald Trump. The full plan is here. A press release from the White House is here.
December 4, 2018

U.S. Department of Education (USED):
For-profit college operator closes, USED expresses frustration: Education Corporation of America – a for-profit college operator – announced it will be closing all of its campuses. In response to the announcement, USED stated the decision is “highly disappointing and not best for its students.” The operator had been struggling with financial and regulatory problems, including sanctions from the Department on the company’s federal funding. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) had revoked its approval of the operator’s campuses earlier this week. The operator’s closure affects 19,000 students, according to Department spokesperson Liz Hill. More information from POLITICO is here.

Additionally, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) released a statement regarding the operator’s closure. “We have repeatedly warned about the risks low-quality, for-profit education companies and irresponsible accreditors pose to students and taxpayers across the country. Today’s announcement is another painful reminder of those risks,” the Chairman stated. Chairman Scott’s full statement is here.
December 5, 2018

USED Inspector General warned gainful employment rule needed ‘adequate replacement’: Inspector General provided a report to Congress that outlines the Office of the Inspector General having disagreed with the Department’s plan to eliminate the gainful employment rule, “without adequate replacement to ensure accountability.” The gainful employment rule required for-profit colleges and schools to demonstrate the majority of their students were able to find employment that allowed them to pay back loans for attending. Schools that did not were prevented from accessing federal student aid. The Inspector General report also indicated that the for-profit college industry continues to require a large amount of Department resources when investigating fraud and abuse, supporting the Office’s position the Department needs to have a system of accountability in place. Due to the Department’s failure to finalize a regulation by November 1, it is forced to enforce the Obama era rule. The full report is here.

Additionally, POLITICO reported the Department is unable to enforce the gainful employment rule due to a data sharing dispute between USED and the Social Security Administration. “The Social Security Administration has determined that they cannot share data for purposes other than to administer the Social Security Act,” stated Cynthia Hammond, an official with the Department. The full POLITICO article is here.
December 3 and 5, 2018

DeVos signs MOU with Switzerland to expand, improve apprenticeship programs: USED Secretary DeVos signed an agreement between the United States and Switzerland to encourage businesses, policymakers, and educators in both countries to support apprenticeship programs. The agreement signing was also attended by U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and adviser to the president Ivanka Trump. During the ceremony, Secretary DeVos encouraged the business community to visit educators to better understand how the education system can better prepare the workforce. Further, the Secretary highlighted the work of the Swiss government in supporting workforce training programs, and discussed how the two countries would share information and practices on apprenticeships. An article by Inside Higher Ed is here. An article by EdWeek is here. A blog post from the Department on the Swiss Apprenticeship Program is here.
December 3, 2018

U.S. Department of Agriculture:

New school lunch standards released, significant roll back of Obama-era standards: The U.S. Department of Agriculture published in the Federal Register a final rule on Child Nutrition Programs regarding milk, whole grains, and sodium levels in school lunches. The new rule rolls back many of the standards that were introduced and supported by former first lady Michelle Obama. The rule will allow schools to serve flavored, low-fat milk; will require that only half of weekly grains be whole-grain-rich; and will provide schools an extension for reducing the sodium content in meals. “These common-sense flexibilities provide excellent customer service to our local school nutrition professionals, while giving children the world-class food service they deserve,” stated Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. The final rule is here. A press release from the Department is here.
December 6, 2018

Publications (Congressional and Administration):

  • On December 6, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a report titled, “Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education: School Year 2015-16 (Fiscal Year 2016).” The report analyzed state-level revenues and expenditures for K-12 schools and districts. Key findings of the report include an increase in both revenues and expenditures for the third consecutive year; total revenues increased by 4 percent, local revenues increased by 3.7 percent, state revenues increased by 4.9 percent, and federal revenues increased by 1.1 percent; and national per pupil expenditures increased by 2.8 percent to an average of $11,841. The full report is here.
  • On December 4, NCES released a report titled, “New Data on Postsecondary Graduation Rates, Outcome Measures, Student Financial Aid, and Admissions.” The report examined data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Key findings of the study include 60 percent of full-time, first-time students completed a 4-year degree within 6 years of enrollment; and, 46 percent of full-time, first-time students enrolled at 2-year institutions graduated within 100 percent of normal time. The full study is here.

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On December 6, the National Education Policy Center published a policy brief titled, “How School Privatization Opens the Door for Discrimination.” The brief analyzes relevant federal and state laws regarding discrimination and how they may be applied in school settings. The brief argues that voucher and charter school programs “open the door to discrimination” due to three factors: (1) federal law defines discrimination differently in public and private spaces; (2) state legislatures have neglected issues of discrimination when developing voucher laws; and (3) private and charter schools are able to determine what programs to offer which can lead to excluding certain populations. The full brief is here.
  • On December 5, the Data Quality Campaign published a report titled, “Time to Act.” The report analyzed how states are making progress toward sharing education data with parents, and what are persistent barriers to success. Key findings of the report include reporting that 91 percent of parents are interested in receiving information about their child’s social-emotional learning; that 95 percent of teachers use a combination of academic data and nonacademic data to understand student performance; and that in 2017 only 28 states reported a measure of student growth on school report cards. The full report is here.
  • On December 5, the Learning Policy Institute published a report titled, “Essential Building Blocks for State School Finance Systems and Promising State Practices.” The study analyzed school finance reform efforts and identified five “essential building blocks.” Those building blocks include: (1) regular program allotment should always cover all costs associated with providing a standardized, quality education; (2) special student programming should reflect the special education needs of certain student groups; (3) other special program allotments or costs should include career and technical education and high-quality pre-kindergarten programs; (4) facilities funding should be structured to ensure adequate building and maintenance is possible; and (5) other key funding areas to include are transportation, technology, and innovation or improvement funds. The full report is here.

Upcoming Events (Congressional & Administration):

  • On December 12 at 2:00 pm, the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) will host a webinar titled, “How Administrators Can Communicate the Need for Evidence-Based Decision Making.” The webinar will focus on how WWC resources can support the use of high-quality research evidence in decision making. More information and registration are here.
  • On January 14-16, February 19-22, and March 25-28, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Accreditation and Innovation Negotiated Rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announce the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announcement is here.
  • On January 17-18, February 12-13, and March 11-12, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee for the Accreditation and Innovation rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announce the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announcement is here.
  • On January 17-18, February 12-13, and March 11-12, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Faith-Based Entities Subcommittee for the Accreditation and Innovation rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announce the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announcement is here.
  • On January 17-18, February 12-13, and March 11-12, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the TEACH Grants Subcommittee for the Accreditation and Innovation rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announce the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announcement is here.

Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):

  • On December 10 at 11:45 am, Third Way is hosting an event titled, “Training Disrupted: The Future of Workplace Credentials.” The event will examine how to expand access to modern and high-quality credentials and training for U.S. workers. More information and registration are here.
  • On December 11 at 2:00 pm, the Forum for Youth Investment is hosting a webinar titled “Governance Matters: Organizing for Success.” The webinar will highlight findings from a Wallace Foundation investment in Out-of-School-Time (OST) systems. The webinar will focus on how governance and management of OST systems are vital to their success. More information and registration are here.
  • On December 11 at 9:30 am, the Institute For College Access and Success (TICAS) is hosting an event titled, “Of Metrics and Markets: Measuring Post-College Employment Success.” The event will feature a panel discussion around the importance of developing clear, accurate, and accessible information on the returns of higher education programs. More information and registration are here.
  • On December 12 at 10:30 am, Higher Learning Advocates are hosting an event titled, “Bridging the Education-Workforce Divide: Upskilling America’s Workforce!” The event will examine workforce development policies to consider if they are encouraging or creating barriers for institutions and stakeholders to collaborate, and how both federal and state funding streams can support these efforts. More information and registration are here.

Legislation:

H.R.7204
A bill to strengthen student achievement and graduation rates and prepare young people for college, careers, and citizenship through innovative partnerships that meet the comprehensive needs of children and youth.
Sponsor: Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)

H.R.7209
A bill to amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to require a certain percentage of COPS grant funds to be used for the salaries and benefits of school resource officers, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI)

H.R.7214
A bill to direct the Secretary of Education to establish a pilot program to award competitive grants for the integration of cybersecurity education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. James Langevin (D-RI)

S.5
A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to pay individuals who are owed educational assistance under the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance program the amounts of educational assistance that they are entitled to by law, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)

S.3699
A bill to require full funding of part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Sponsor: Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

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