E-Update for December 12, 2017
- On December 7, the House of Representatives passed a two-week Continuing Resolution (CR) to continue federal funding until December 22.
- Today, the House Education and the Workforce Committee began a markup of R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.
- On December 4-7, a Negotiated Rulemaking committee convened to debate the rewrite of gainful employment regulations. More information is available here.
House Committee on Education and the Workforce Begins Markup of PROSPER Act: Today, the House Education and the Workforce Committee began a markup of H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act,” which was introduced by the Chairwoman of the Committee Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. On December 11, the committee released an amendment in the nature of a substitute to the PROSPER Act, which is available here. A number of amendments are expected to be considered at the markup.
December 12, 2017
Budget & Appropriations
CR Passes House and Senate Continuing Federal Funding Through December 22: On December 7, the House of Representatives passed a two-week Continuing Resolution (CR) to continue federal funding until December 22. The CR also includes a provision to allow for a redistribution of funds for states that are facing a shortfall under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has yet to be extended since it expired on September 30. The Senate quickly passed the CR the same day as the House by a vote of 81-14 vote and President Trump then signed the CR on December 8. The CR is available here. Prior to the passage of the CR, President Trump and Republican and Democratic Senate and House leadership met at the White House to restart negotiations related to reaching an agreement on top-level spending caps for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and a year-end agenda on December 7. Following the meeting, no announcement was made regarding spending caps and discussions are continuing. Prior to the meeting, Democratic leadership issued a statement regarding their priorities, which is available here. Following the meeting, the White House issued a statement which is available here.
December 7, 2017
House and Senate Conferees to Meet to Discuss Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: On December 13, House and Senate conferees will conduct a conference committee meeting at 2:00 pm to resolve the differences between the House and Senate tax reform bills; however, the meeting is not expected to be webcast. House and Senate conferees can be found here. The conference committee meeting is largely viewed as a formality as members are already working to resolve differences and a final tax reform bill could be posted as early as the end of this week. A vote on a final tax reform bill is expected the week of December 18.
House Education and the Workforce Committee Vice Ranking Member Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), and 45 House Democrats sent a letter to the conferees negotiating a tax reform bill urging them to advance a tax plan that supports public school and investments in higher education on December 8. The letter is available here. Additionally, 31 members of Congress, led by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), sent a letter on December 7 to House and Senate leadership urging them to eliminate during conference negotiations a provision in the House tax reform bill that would require tuition waivers received by graduate students to be taxed as income in the future. The letter is available here
Senate Republicans Introduce SECURE Act: On December 5, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), along with five Senate Republican cosponsors, introduced S. 2192, the “Security, Enforcement, and Compassion United in Reform Efforts (SECURE) Act of 2017,” which would combine changes to legal immigration with a legislative solution for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients. The legislation would offer provisional legal status to undocumented immigrants who meet qualifications similar to those in DACA. Additionally, the bill aims to boost border security, clear backlogs in immigration courts, and tighten enforcement of illegal workplace hiring. The bill is available here.
December 5, 2017
ASPIRE Act Reintroduced in Senate: On December 7, Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) reintroduced S. 2201, the “Access, Success, and Persistence In Reshaping Education Act, or ASPIRE Act,” to improve college access and completion at institutions that serve disproportionately high numbers of low-income students. Specifically, the bill would help set benchmarks for institutions that are low-performing, while also rewarding institutions that are already on the right track when it comes to access and completion for low-income students. The bill would also make additional competitive funding available for completion efforts, with priority for minority-serving institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Full bill text is available here. Section by section summary of the bill can be found here.
December 7, 2017
Senate HELP Committee Holds Nomination for USED Positions: On December 5, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing for Kenneth Marcus to serve as U.S. Department of Education (USED) Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and Johnny Collett to serve as USED Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. During the hearing, Mr. Collett was questioned as to how he will ensure that families of students with disabilities have accurate information and understand their child’s rights when to participate in voucher programs in some states they may be required to waive some federal protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Mr. Marcus was questioned as to how he would ensure that all students, regardless of race or sexual orientation, would be guaranteed their civil rights in the face of increasing reports of hateful rhetoric and act. Committee members also asked Mr. Marcus several questions about Title IX and USED’s plans to rewrite guidance related to campus sexual misconduct cases. Webcast and witness testimony are available here. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) opening statement is available here. Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) statement is available here.
December 5, 2017
Republican Members Send Letter to Speaker Ryan Urging DACA Action: On December 5, 34 House Republicans sent a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) urging a legislative solution for DACA enrollees and requesting that a DACA bill be considered in the House before the end of the year. The letter stated that while the authors agree that President Obama’s executive action was not appropriate at the time of its inception, protecting DACA recipients as soon as possible is “the right thing to do.” The letter is available here.
December 5, 2017
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Releases Q&A Document on FAPE Following Supreme Court Case: On December 7, USED released a question-and-answer document supporting the unanimous March 2017 U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) opinion on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)-related case Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District clarifying the scope of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The question-and-answer document is available here.
December 7, 2017
Administration on Children and Families (ACF):
ACF Releases Federal Register Notices Regarding Head Start DRS and CCDF: During the week of December 4, ACF released two Federal Register notices. The first was released on December 8, requesting public comment on several specific changes being considered for the CLASS Condition of the Head Start Designation Renewal System (DRS). The CLASS is a condition of the Head Start DRS and is an observational measurement tool for assessing the quality of teacher-child interactions and classroom processes in three broad domains that support children’s learning and development: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. The Federal Register notice can be found here.
ACF released a second notice on December 8 requesting public comment on the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Plan for States for FFY 2019-2021. This Preprint introduces the process and criteria for requesting additional time to complete background check requirements for interstate check components and for addressing the backlog of completing background checks for existing providers. Due to challenges faced by States in implementing portions of the comprehensive and unprecedented background check requirements, the Office of Child Care (OCC) has re-examined the implementation deadline to give States an opportunity to apply for additional time (up to two years, in one year increments) to meet the most challenging parts of the background check requirements as long as specific milestones are met. The Federal Register notice can be found here.
December 8, 2017
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights:
USCCR Holds Briefing on Students of Color with Disabilities and School Discipline: On December 8, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a public briefing on “The Intersection of Students of Color and Students with Disabilities, and School Discipline Policies.” The Commission’s examined school districts’ compliance with federal laws designed to ensure the safety of students of color with disabilities against discrimination, and whether laws adequately protect these students from discriminatory disciplinary actions and policies.
December 8, 2017
- On December 20, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will conduct a hearing at 2:00 p.m. on “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education.” During the hearing, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos will testify in her first appearance before the Committee. More information is available here.
- On December 13, the House and Senate conferees will conduct a conference committee meeting at 2:00 pm to resolve the differences between the House and Senate tax reform bills. More information is available here.
- On December 13, the Senate HELP Committee will hold off the Senate floor at a time TBD an executive session meeting to report the nominations off the floor for Kenneth Marcus to serve as USED Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and Johnny Collett to serve as USED Assistant Secretary for or Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. At this time, the committee may also consider the nominations of Mick Zais to USED Deputy Secretary and Jim Blew to serve as USED Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. More information is here.
- On December 7, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a report titled, “Beginning College Students Who Change Their Majors Within 3 Years of Enrollment.” The report uses data from the 2012/2014 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study to examine how the rate at which students change major varies with their degree program and field of study. The report is available here.
- On December 5, NCES released a report titled, “Reading Achievement of U.S. Fourth-Grade Students in an International Context.” The report focuses on the performance of U.S. students relative to their peers in other education systems in 2016, and on changes in reading achievement since 2001. The report is available here.
- On December 5, the Regional Education Lab (REL) Southwest published a report which examined the construct validity of the New Mexico Kindergarten Observation Tool, an observational measure of students’ knowledge and skills completed by the kindergarten teacher at the beginning of the year. The report is available here.
- On December 4, NCES published data showing that the national high school graduation rate has reached a new all-time high at 84.1 percent for the 2015-2016 school year. The data also show that four-year graduation rates were up across the board for student subgroups. The data can be found here.
A bill to authorize the full funding of part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by making certain spending cuts to the Department of Defense.
Sponsor: Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow for the deferment of certain student loans during a period in which a borrower is enrolled in a drug treatment program.
Sponsor: Rep. Thomas MacArthur, (R-NJ)
A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to expand the military student identifier program to cover students with a parent who serves in the reserve component of the Armed Forces.
Sponsor: Rep. Luis J. Correa (D-CA)
A bill to provide loan forgiveness to borrowers of Federal student loans who agree to delay eligibility to collect social security benefits, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Thomas A. Garrett Jr. (R-VA)
A bill to establish an Anti-Bullying Roundtable to study bullying in elementary and secondary schools in the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Daniel Donovan (R-NY)
A bill to support students in completing an affordable postsecondary education that will prepare them to enter the workforce with the skills they need for lifelong success.
Sponsor: Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
A bill to reauthorize title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
Sponsor: Rep. David Price (D-NC)
A concurrent resolution expressing support for the use of public-private partnerships to bring computer science education to more K-12 classrooms.
Sponsor: Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA)
A resolution recognizing the 150th Anniversary of Morehouse College and its contributions to the United States and the world.
Sponsor: Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
A bill to amend title 9 of the United States Code with respect to arbitration.
Sponsor: Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to improve college access and college completion for all students.
Sponsor: Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE)
A bill to establish additional protections and disclosures for students and co-signers with respect to student loans, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
A bill to establish a new higher education data system to allow for more accurate, complete, and secure data on student retention, graduation, and earnings outcomes, at all levels of postsecondary enrollment, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
A bill to strengthen border security, increase resources for enforcement of immigration laws, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)