E-Update for February 16, 2018
- The President released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Budget Request, which calls for level funding for Title I State Grants and Special Education State Grants, an increase for Child Care and Development Block Grant funding by $150 million, an increase for Head Start by $22 million, and a number of proposals to reform campus-based-aid programs and to simplify student loan repayment and student loan programs.
- This week, the Senate considered a series of amendments in an attempt to reach consensus on a bipartisan immigration reform proposal, including a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA) fix; however, no proposal passed the Senate.
- Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that they are seeking public input regarding the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965. Ranking Member Murray also announced that she was soliciting personal stories inform the reauthorization process.
Budget & Appropriations
Fiscal Year 2019 President’s Budget Request Released: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the FY2019 President’s Budget Request and a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. The budget request for USED calls for a new Opportunity Grants program, which would increase options that empower families to choose a private or public school, to be funded at $1 billion, while level funding Title I State Grants and Special Education State Grants. For early childhood education funding, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services budget request would increase Child Care and Development Block Grant funding by $150 million, increase Head Start by $22 million, and eliminate the Preschool Development Grants program. The President’s budget request would also maintain funding for the Pell Grant program; however, the Federal Work Study program would be reduced by nearly half and the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant program would be eliminated. The budget also includes a number of proposals to reform campus-based-aid programs and to simplify student loan repayment and student loan programs, as well as reforms to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. More information, including budget request and supplemental materials, here. U.S. Department of Education (USED) appendix here and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appendix here. Infrastructure plan here and Presidential Memoranda here.
February 12, 2018
Senate Considered Immigration Reform; No Proposal Passes: This week, the Senate considered a series of amendments in an attempt to reach consensus on a bipartisan immigration reform proposal, including a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA) fix, that could overcome procedural hurdles in the Senate, which require the support of 60 Senators to pass. Specifically, the Senate considered four amendments ranging from the Trump Administration’s immigration framework; a bipartisan proposal to provide an estimated 1.8 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, while spending $25 billion on border security; a proposal to extend certain undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship that did not include funding for a border wall; and a proposal related to sanctuary cities. None of the amendments received sufficient support to pass the Senate leaving next steps related to a DACA fix unclear.
Week of February 12, 2018
REAL Act Introduced: Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced S.2423, the “Restoring Education and Learning (REAL) Act,” which would reinstate Federal Pell Grant eligibility for individuals incarcerated in Federal and State penal institutions. The bill is co-sponsored by 15 Senate Democrats. About 12,000 prison inmates are currently using Pell Grants under an Obama-era pilot program, known as “Second Chance Pell.”
February 14, 2018
Senate HELP Committee Leadership Seeking Comments on HEA Reauthorization: The Senate HELP Committee announced that it is seeking comments for the Committee’s consideration regarding the reauthorization of HEA. Comments are due by Friday, February 23, 2018, and should be sent to HigherEducation2018@help.senate.gov. Press release here. Additionally, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that is soliciting personal stories from “current, former, and future students and their families about what they think Congress should tackle when it comes to higher education.” Her office will accept stories by email at HigherEdStories2018@help.senate.gov through February 23. Press release here.
Week of February 12, 2018
House Democrats Oppose State Waivers of Medicaid Work Requirements: On February 14, 172 House Democrats sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar opposing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) January 11 announcement that states will be allowed to seek waivers to adopt Medicaid work requirements as a condition for eligibility, as well as the subsequent approval of two such waivers from Kentucky and Indiana. The members expressed concern that these types of waivers will “impede rightful access to care for Americans” and contradict the purpose of the law. Letter can be found here.
February 14, 2018
House Education and the Workforce Committee Holds Hearing on Management of Native American Schools: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled, “Examining the Government’s Management of Native American Schools.” During his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) spoke of the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) concerns over the Bureau of Indian Education’s (BIE) ability to “effectively manage the schools under its jurisdiction,” and the BIE’s subsequent placement on the GAO’s High Risk List in 2017. Minority press release is available here. Subcommittee Chairman Rokita’s opening statement is available here. Ranking Member Jared Polis’s (D-CO) opening statement is available here. More information can be found here. Additionally, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Inspector General (IG) released a report this week that shows that the BIE is failing to ensure that proper background checks are being conducted for employees in BIE schools. The report can be found here.
February 14, 2018
PROPSER Act Text Filed in the House; Bill Discussed on C-SPAN: House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) was a guest on C-SPAN’s Newsmakers, where she discussed H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act.” The PROSPER Act is the Republican plan for reauthorization of the HEA, which passed out of the House Education and the Workforce Committee on a partisan vote in December 2017. During the C-SPAN segment, Chairwoman Foxx discussed the importance of streamlining the financial aid process, as well as the need to prepare all students for the workforce and eliminate the skills gap. More information and video are available here. This week, the text of H.R. 4508, the PROSPER Act, including amendments that were adopted in Committee during markup of the bill, was filed in the House. The bill can be found here.
February 13, 2018
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Releases FY2018-22 Strategic Plan: This week, USED released its Strategic Plan for FY 2018-22 and FY 2017 Annual Performance Report and FY 2019 Annual Performance Plan. These documents describe policy and operational priorities for the agency and detail the Department’s strategic goals and objectives, including FY 2018-19 agency priority goals. The Strategic Plan can be found here and the Annual Performance report and Plan here.
Week of February 12, 2018
Administration Proposes USED Organizational Structure Overhaul: Politico reported that the Trump Administration is proposing a major overhaul of USED’s organizational structure, seeking to eliminate or consolidate more than a half-dozen offices at the agency. For instance, the plan calls for merging the two offices that oversee postsecondary education and career and technical education into “a single Office of Postsecondary and Lifelong Learning,” and would completely eliminate the Office of the Undersecretary of Education. According to the document, Department officials are working on a “plan for phased implementation” of the proposal. The reorganization proposal is a response to President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) from March 2017 directing agencies to develop a reorganization plan. Politico article is available here.
February 15, 2018
Florida High School Shooting Prompts Discussion of School Shooting Hearings: A mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead and at least 15 wounded. The suspected gunman, former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, had been expelled last year from the school. On February 15, in response to the shooting, USED Secretary DeVos made a statement that Congress should hold hearings on school shootings. Neither the House or Senate education committees has a hearing scheduled to address the issue at this time. President Trump also spoke about the tragedy, stating “No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school,” and offering his condolences to the victims’ families. Remarks are available here. House Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott’s (D-VA) statement is available here. Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray’s (D-WA) statement is available here. On February 16, all 17 Democrats on the House Education and the Workforce Committee urged Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to hold hearings on school shootings as well in a letter. The letter can be found here.
February 14, 2018
Four States Express Interest in Innovative Assessment Pilot: As of February 12, four states have told USED that they intend to apply for a pilot program created by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that would give them flexibility to experiment with innovative assessments, including Arizona, New Hampshire, Hawaii and Louisiana. The pilot allows up to seven states or seven groups of states working together to participate. The deadline to express interest was February 2, and states have until April 2 to submit applications.
February 12, 2018
USED Conducts Third Borrower Defense Negotiated Rulemaking Committee: On February 12-15, USED conducted a third session of the Borrower Defenses and Financial Responsibility Negotiated Rulemaking Committee. The agenda is available here. On February 12, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) attended the session, criticizing USED’s efforts to rewrite the “borrower defense to repayment” rule. Rep. Takano stated that USED is “on the verge of betraying the students and taxpayers that it is supposed to serve,” and that the previous rule was “a reasonable and overdue response to this long record of fraud and deception in the for-profit education sector.” Politico article here.
Week of February 12, 2018
USED No Longer Investigating Transgender Student Complaints Regarding Restroom Choice: USED confirmed that the Trump Administration is no longer investigating complaints filed by transgender students denied access to the bathroom of their choice, with USED Press Secretary Liz Hill stating that “Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity.” The shift comes after USED rescinded guidance aimed at protecting the rights of transgender students in February 2017. The letter is available here, and Politico article here. On February 12, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) issued a statement expressing her disappointment with the shift, stating, “Choosing to ignore the rights of transgender students and to not enforce Title IX when it comes to their protection is an unambiguous step backwards for civil rights in this country.” Statement here. USED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) had a 23 percent drop in complaint of civil rights violations from 2016 to 2017, and in fiscal year 2017, 58 percent of complaints were still pending after 180 days.
February 12, 2018
- On February 21 and 22, USED will host identical webinars regarding new flexibility for school districts to create equitable, student-centered funding systems under a pilot program authorized by ESSA. Pre-registration is not required. The webinars will be recorded and posted — with slides — on the pilot web page. Pilot web page here. Links to webinar registration here and here.
- On February 22, Digital Learning Day will be held. The goal of the day is to highlight more examples of how great teaching paired with technology can improve student outcomes. More information here.
- On February 26, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a case which challenges the constitutionality of fees being paid by government employees who are represented by, but do not belong to, a union. More information here.
- On March 1-3, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will hold its 2018 Quarterly Board Meeting. During the session, NAGB will hear from the Ad Hoc Committee on Postsecondary Preparedness, review the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessment for grades 4 and 8, receive a briefing from the Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and discuss the schedule and subject areas for the NAEP, among other activities. Notice here.
- On March 12-15 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, USED will conduct a third session of the Gainful Employment Negotiated Rulemaking Committee. More information here.
- On April 11-12, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute will conduct a summit to assess the American education landscape in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the seminal report: “A Nation at Risk.” The steering committee for the summit includes Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and former USED Secretaries John King, Arne Duncan, Margaret Spellings and Richard Riley, among others. Summit information here.
- On May 22-24, NACIQI will hold its Spring 2018 meeting at which time the performance of accrediting agencies currently undergoing review and evaluation for purposes of recognition by the USED will be discussed. The specific list of accrediting agencies, including the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (which was terminated last year under the Obama Administration and is seeking reinstatement), can be found in this notice. Written comments about the recognition of a specific accrediting or State agency must be received by February 16.
- On February 13, the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) published an intervention report titled “MyTeachingPartner™ Pre-K,” which is a professional development program for early education teachers that incorporates a video library, interactive training, a college course, and trained coaches to provide teachers with the knowledge and skills to engage in more effective student interactions. The report shows that as of February 2018, no studies of MyTeachingPartner™ Pre-K meet WWC group design standards, and therefore WWC is unable to draw any conclusions based on research about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the program. Report here.
- On February 13, the WWC released an intervention report titled “National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certification.” The NBPTS certification is a highly selective professional certification awarded to accomplished teachers who have completed three full years of regular teaching service and can demonstrate that their teaching practices meet the NBPTS standards. The WWC reviewed the research on NBPTS certification and found that NBPTS-certified teachers had mixed effects on mathematics achievement and no discernible effects on English language arts achievement for students in grades 3 through 8. Intervention report here.
- On February 9, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a user’s manual for the National Household Education Surveys (NHES) Program of 2016 Data File. The manual provides documentation and guidance for users of the NHES:2016 data files, which include data from the Early Childhood Program Participation survey, the Parent and Family Involvement in Education survey, and the Adult Training and Education Survey. The survey program collected information about early childhood care, parental involvement in education, school choice, homeschooling, certifications and non-degree credentials, and adult training. Manual here.
A bill to direct the National Science Foundation to support STEM education research focused on early childhood.
Sponsor: Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV)
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: Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
A bill to amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to improve nutrition in tribal areas, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
A bill to provide for the establishment of a Department of Education program to award grants to secondary schools that establish a project to encourage students in their junior and senior school years to experience career and technical education courses at a community college, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. David Loebsack (D-IA)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to support innovative technology partnerships.
Sponsor: Rep. Ann M. Kuster (D-NH)
A resolution providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 620) to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to promote compliance through education, to clarify the requirements for demand letters, to provide for a notice and cure period before the commencement of a private civil action, and for other purposes, among other issues.
Sponsor: Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)
A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to establish a new career counseling program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
A bill to ensure that certain incidents involving a covered employee that are reported to the title IX coordinator at an eligible institution of higher education have been reviewed by the president of the institution and not less than 1 additional member of the institution’s board of trustees, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Gary C. Peters (D-MI)
Restoring Education and Learning (REAL) Act
A bill to reinstate Federal Pell Grant eligibility for individuals incarcerated in Federal and State penal institutions, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)
A bill to amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to support community college and industry partnerships, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
A bill to better support our early childhood educators and elementary school and secondary school teachers, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
A bill to provide relief from removal and adjustment of status of certain individuals who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States before reaching the age of 18, improve border security, foster United States engagement in Central America, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)
A resolution designating the week of February 5 through February 9, 2018, as “National School Counseling Week.”
Sponsor: Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
A resolution designating the week beginning February 11, 2018, as “National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week”.
Sponsor: Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)