E-Update for the Week of January 22, 2019

E-Update for the Week of January 22, 2019

Highlights:

  • On January 17, the website – regulations.gov – used to submit public comment on notices and proposed regulations published in the Federal Register crashed. Due to the website’s malfunction the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced it would extend the deadline to submit public comments on the Department’s proposed rule regarding Title IX (sexual harassment prevention and response) until January 30.
  • On January 16, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) announced the Democratic members of the Appropriations Subcommittee for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS). The Subcommittee will be chaired by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and will include Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).
  • On January 10, the House Democratic Steering Committee announced new nominations for the House Education and Labor Committee. The nominations include Reps. Josh Harder (D-CA), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Andy Levin (D-MI), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Joe Morelle (D-NY), Illhan Omar (D-MN), Kim Schrier (D-WA), Donna Shalala (D-FL), Haley Stevens (D-MI), David Trone (D-MD), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), and Susan Wild (D-PA).

Congress:

House:

Labor/HHS House appropriators announced: House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) announced the Democratic members of the Appropriations Subcommittee for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS). The Subcommittee will be chaired by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and will include Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ). A statement by Chairwoman Lowey is here.
January 16, 2019

New House Education and Labor Committee members announced: The House Democratic Steering Committee announced new nominations for the House Education and Labor Committee. The nominations include Reps. Josh Harder (D-CA), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Andy Levin (D-MI), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Joe Morelle (D-NY), Illhan Omar (D-MN), Kim Schrier (D-WA), Donna Shalala (D-FL), Haley Stevens (D-MI), David Trone (D-MD), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), and Susan Wild (D-PA). A press release from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is here.
January 10, 2019

Administration:

Partial Government Shutdown:

As of January 18, the federal government has been partially shut down for 28 days. The following are impacts on related issue areas of interest.

School Lunches: POLITICO published an article titled “Next shutdown victim: School lunches.” The article describes the impact that the partial federal government shutdown is having on local schools and districts. Due to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) being closed, schools and districts are not receiving refunds from the National School Lunch Program, which provides reimbursements for schools to serve meals to low-income students. The article highlights how schools are attempting to reallocate other funds in their budgets such as maintenance, transportation, and after-school programming in order to continue serving school meals. According to a USDA spokesperson, the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program are all fully funded through the end of March. The full POLITICO article is here.
January 17, 2019

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and Other Nutrition Programs: POLITICO published an article titled “States warn food stamp recipients to budget early benefit payments due to shutdown.” According to the article, USDA directed state agencies to allocate February SNAP benefits earlier than normal due to the partial government shutdown. States were to request and distribute funds for February by January 20. The distributed funds will maintain access to SNAP and WIC, and other nutrition program benefits, through the month of February.  States have been attempting to notify benefit recipients and warn for them to budget funds appropriately as there will not be any additional disbursements in the month of February. While the USDA was able to fund the programs through February, the Department has not yet announced what will happen to benefits if the partial government shutdown is to persist beyond the scheduled February disbursement date. The full POLITICO article is here. A statement by the USDA is here.
January 15, 2019

Nominations:

Darling nomination for Commissioner on Children, Youth, and Families resubmitted to Senate: TheWhite House announced the nomination of Elizabeth Darling to be Commissioner on Children, Youth, and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Darling’s nomination had to be submitted due to the Senate not confirming her nomination during the 115th Congress. The White House announcement is here.
January 16, 2019

U.S. Department of Education:

Public comment website crashes, USED extends Title IX comment period to January 30: The website – regulations.gov – used to submit public comment on notices and proposed regulations published in the Federal Register crashed. Due to the website’s malfunction the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced it would extend the deadline to submit public comments on the Department’s proposed rule regarding Title IX (sexual harassment prevention and response). The Department announced comments will be accepted until January 30, a two-day extension from the original deadline. Comments can be submitted here.
January 17, 2019

USED to examine inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in schools: USED announced it will be examining the impacts of restraint and seclusion practices in school and potential inappropriate use. The initiative will be led by the Office of Civil Rights and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). “This initiative will not only allow us to support children with disabilities, but will also provide technical assistance to help meet the professional learning needs of those within the system serving students,” stated USED Secretary Betsy DeVos. The initiative will have three components: reviewing compliance of schools in using restraint and seclusion on children with disabilities; collecting and analyzing seclusion and restraint data submitted through the Civil Rights Data Collection, including the provision of technical assistance to schools to improve data quality; and supporting schools by providing technical assistance on the legal requirements on using restraint and seclusion and considering how “current investments may be utilized to provide support and training” to schools and districts. A press release from the Department is here.
January 17, 2019

USED rejects OIG report, will not fine Western Governors University: USED announced it was rejecting a recommendation from the agency’s inspector general regarding Western Governors University. The inspector general had determined the university was in violation of federal student aid regulations, particularly the university’s lack of meeting the requirement for distance education programs to provide “regular and substantive interaction between teachers and students.” The inspector general reported the university had more than 50 percent of its courses that failed to provide enough faculty-student interaction. The inspector general recommended the Department force the university to repay $712 million that it had received in student loans and Pell grants. The Department stated that “particularly in light of a lack of clear guidance from the Department at the time of the audit period, [Western Governors University] efforts to comply with the governing law and regulations were reasonable and undertaken in good faith.” A statement by the Department is here.
January 11, 2019

USED provides advice on student loans for furloughed federal workers: USED published on the Homeroom blog, advice for furloughed federal employees to pay their federal student loans in light of the partial government shutdown. The article recommends federal employees postpone payments through deferment or forbearance; or enroll in or update an income-driven repayment plan. The full post is here.

Relatedly, on January 15, sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos urging her to direct student loan servicers to provide information to federal employees on how to manage their student debt during the partial government shutdown. The letter is here.
January 11 and 15, 2019

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

HHS OIG finds children separated at border long before policy announcement: The Office of the Inspector General for the HHS released a report titled, “Separated Children Placed in Office of Refugee Resettlement Care.” The report examined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “zero-tolerance” policy and the impact it had on children of immigrant families. The report found that the separation of children from families had begun in the summer of 2017, a year prior to the formal announcement of the “zero-tolerance” family in June 2018. According to the report, the DHS had detained thousands of children and put them in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), prior to the Department needing to identify and reunite parents and their children due to a June 26, 2018 court order. The report recommended the Departments “improve communication, transparency, and accountability for the identification, care, and placement of separated children.” The full report is here.

A statement by House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is here. A statement by Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) is here. A statement by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) is here.
January 17, 2019

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On January 18, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released a report titled, “Barriers to Expansion of NC Pre-K: Problems and Potential Solutions.” The report analyzes data from North Carolina and the state’s efforts to expand early education programs. Key findings of the report include identifying that 47 percent of eligible children now receive early education services in the state; that increased expansion of pre-K slots led to increased requests; and that state reimbursement rates have remained at 2012 levels, adding a barrier to expansion. The full report is here.
  • On January 17, the Century Foundation released a report titled, “Students from Low-Income Families and Special Education.” The report analyzed data to determine if there were differences in identification for special education services based on socioeconomic status. Key findings of the report include identifying that low-income students were more likely to be identified for special education services in more subjective categories such as emotional disability and intellectual disability; and that low-income students with disabilities were more likely to be placed in separate classrooms than their non-low-income peers. The full report is here.
  • On January 16, the Vera Institute of Justice released a report titled, “Investing in Futures: Economic and Fiscal Benefits of Postsecondary Education in Prison.” The report analyzed recidivism rates of incarcerated adults and if their ability to receive a postsecondary education impacted the rates of reoffending. Key findings of the report include identifying that the majority of those incarcerated are academically eligible to participate in a postsecondary education; that approximately 463,000 people who are incarcerated would be eligible for Pell Grants, if the ban on their use were lifted; and that postsecondary education increases employment rates of formerly incarcerated persons by approximately 10 percent; and that expanding access to postsecondary education would result in states saving $365.8 million annually on recidivism impacts. The full report is here.
  • On January 15, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report titled, “Working-Family Tax Credits Lifted 8.9 Million People out of Poverty in 2017.” The report analyzed the impacts of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) on American families living people the poverty line. Key findings of the report include identifying that the combination of the programs increased the incomes of 29.1 million people in 2017, which allowed for 8.9 million people to rise above the poverty line; and that of the 8.9 million people who rose above the poverty line, 4.8 million of them were children. The full report is here.

Upcoming Events (Congressional & Administration):

  • 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. The meeting will be held at the USED Potomac Center Plaza (PCP) Auditorium. 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. The meeting will be held at the USED Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) Building Barnard Auditorium. 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 January 20 through January 26, National School Choice Week events will occur across the country. The week is an effort to recognize all K-12 options, including traditional public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online academies and homeschooling. More information is here.
  • On January 23 at 2:00 pm, the Alliance for Excellent Education will host a webinar titled, “Making Equity a Priority: Lessons Learned in Planning and Implementing Personalized Learning for All Students.” The webinar will feature Jerry Alemendarez of Colton Joint Unified School District in California and Dr. Kim Buryanek of Sioux City Community School District in Iowa. The two will discuss their efforts to leverage technology to address inequities within their districts’ underperforming schools. More information and registration are here.
  • On January 24 at 3:00 pm, Mathematica is hosting a forum titled, “Nothing About Us Without Us: How the Need for Cultural Responsiveness is Changing Research.” The forum will discuss the urgency within the research community on ensuring evaluation and assessment practices are sensitive to the cultures of all students and how such sensitivity should be provided for evaluating all evidence-based policies and programs. More information and registration are here.
  • On January 24 at 5:45 pm, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will hold an expert debate titled, “A Federal Right to Education?” The event will feature a panel discussion on the Supreme Court decision in the Rodriguez case and will further explore the federal role in public education. More information and registration are here.

Legislation:

H.R.607
A bill to require the Attorney General and the Secretary of Education to conduct a survey of all public schools to determine the number of school resource officers at such schools.
Sponsor: Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA)

H.R.608
A bill to direct the Attorney General and the Secretary of Education to develop and implement best practices for occupation-specific education for school resource officers.
Sponsor: Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA)

H.R.621
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit kindergarten through grade 12 educational expenses to be paid from a 529 account.
Sponsor: Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO)

H.R.625
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to expand eligibility for participation in the Federal Pell Grant program to certain trade schools.
Sponsor: Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA)

H.R.640
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Higher Education Act of 1965 to facilitate the disclosure of tax return information to carry out the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Lloyd Doggett

H.R.653
A bill to provide grants to eligible entities to establish, expand, or support dual or concurrent enrollment programs offering career and technical education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD)

H.R.662
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require institutions of higher education to disclose hazing incidents, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)

H.R.672
A bill to require the Secretary of Education to provide a deferment for certain student loans of Federal employees subject to a lapse in discretionary appropriations, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. David Loebsack (D-IA)

S.145
A bill to expand opportunity through greater choice in education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator John Hoeven (R-ND)

S.153
A bill to promote veteran involvement in STEM education, computer science, and scientific research, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

S.155
A bill to improve the financial literacy of secondary school students.
Sponsor: Senator Doug Jones (D-AL)

S.157
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit kindergarten through grade 12 educational expenses to be paid from a 529 account.
Sponsor: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Share this post