E-Update for January 26, 2018
- On January 25, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing titled, “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Access and Innovation,” which focused on ways in which higher education institutions can better meet students’ diverse needs.
- On January 25, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing to consider the nomination of Frank T. Brogan to serve as USED Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
- On January 24, the Senate voted to confirm Alex Azar to serve as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) by a vote of 55-43.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
USED Secretary DeVos Approves Six ESSA State Plans: U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos approved an additional six ESSA consolidated state plans: Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, and New Hampshire. In the announcement, USED Secretary DeVos stated, “I encourage states to use their plans as a starting point, rather than a finish line, to improve outcomes for all students.” The remaining 17 state plans are expected to be approved in the coming months.
January 19, 2018
Budget & Appropriations:
Congress Passes CR to End Government Shutdown: Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed a Continuing Resolution (CR) which ended the government shutdown and extends federal funding until February 8, 2018, while members continue to negotiate an agreement on top-level spending caps. The CR also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years. As part of the agreement to end the shutdown, Senate leaders committed to voting on a bill before February 8 to address immigration issues, including protections for Dreamers. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran’s (R-MS) statement is available here.
- Statements on the reauthorization of CHIP from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess (R-TX) can be found here and from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) here.
January 22, 2018
Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on Higher Education Access and Innovation: The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing titled, “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Access and Innovation.” During the hearing, Chairman of the Committee Lamar Alexander (R-TN) spoke about the need to meet students’ diverse needs, such as through competency-based learning, while Ranking Member of the Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) highlighted the need to ensure that new higher education pathways are accessible to all students and are held accountable to ensure quality. Chairman Alexander also noted during the hearing that USED Secretary DeVos has asked to meet with the committee’s leadership to discuss concerns about ESSA implementation. This hearing is one in a series of hearings on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Chairman Alexander’s opening statement can be found here.
January 25, 2018
Senate HELP Committee Considers the Nomination of Frank Brogan: The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing to consider the nomination of Frank T. Brogan to serve as USED Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education. During the hearing, both Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray highlighted the importance of Mr. Brogan’s future role in ESSA implementation. Chairman Alexander added that thus far, USED Secretary DeVos has appropriately balanced ESSA’s “flexibility and guardrails” in the approval of state plans, while Ranking Member Murray expressed her concerns that USED is not complying with the law. Chairman Alexander’s opening statement can be found here.
January 25, 2017
Senate Confirms HHS Secretary Alex Azar: The Senate voted to confirm Alex Azar to serve as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) by a vote of 55-43. Mr. Azar previously served as an executive of a pharmaceutical company and worked at HHS under George W. Bush. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady’s (R-TX) statement is available here and Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray’s (D-WA) statement here. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Walden and Health Subcommittee Chairman Burgess’s statement is available here, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch’s statement here, and Ranking Member of the Committee Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) statement here.
January 24, 2018
House Education & the Workforce Chairwoman Foxx Pens OpEd on PROSPER Act: Chairwoman of the House Education and Workforce Committee Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Ed Feulner, founder of the Heritage Foundation, wrote an article for The Washington Times titled, “Taming the tuition tiger.” The article focuses on the PROSPER Act, which would reauthorize the Higher Education Act. In the article, Chairwoman Foxx and Mr. Feulner explain how the bill would make college more affordable and accessible. Specifically, they state, “Although the PROSPER Act now before Congress doesn’t fully achieve this goal, it does begin reforming the HEA in a way that will lower costs for students and unburden taxpayers.”
January 23, 2018
Trump Administration and Congress Celebrate National School Choice Week: President Donald Trump issued a proclamation in honor of National School Choice Week, stating that “All American children deserve the opportunity to achieve their dreams through hard work and personal integrity.” The proclamation also highlighted the work that has been done so far by the Trump Administration to promote school choice. The proclamation can be found here.
- The White House released an article titled, “Our Students Deserve More Than Just a Paper Diploma,” which focuses on the benefits of school choice. The article states that school choice promotes both opportunity and results, particularly for those who current cannot afford to send their children to the school of their choice. The article can be found here.
- Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a statement commemorating National School Choice Week. In his statement, Chairman Alexander highlighted the benefits of school choice and applauded the recent tax bill for allowing 529 savings accounts to apply to K-12 private and religious school tuition. The statement is available here.
- USED Secretary DeVos, Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Virginia Foxx (R-NC) wrote an article for RealClear Policy titled, “Every Family Deserves a Choice in Education,” in honor of National School Choice Week. In the article, the authors discuss the merits of expanding access to school choice and highlight the importance of empowering parents to make decisions about their children’s education. The article can be found here.
January 22-26, 2018
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Secretary DeVos Announces New Financial Aid Unit: USED Secretary DeVos announced the new Strategy and Transformation unit within the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) which will focus on improving the delivery of financial aid through the Next Generation Processing and Servicing Environment. A. Wayne Johnson will lead the new office, with James Manning becoming the Acting Chief Operating Officer of FSA. Mr. Manning previously served as Acting Under Secretary.
January 25, 2018
USED Secretary DeVos Delivers Remarks at US Conference of Mayors: USED Secretary DeVos delivered remarks at a meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors in which she urged mayors to get involved in their state’s ESSA plans and be bold in their efforts to transform education.
January 25, 2018
USED Secretary DeVos Announces Appointment of Kent Talbert to Serve as Acting USED Deputy Secretary: USED Secretary DeVos announced the appointment of Kent D. Talbert to serve as Senior Policy Advisor to the USED Deputy Secretary. Mr. Talbert will also serve as acting USED Deputy Secretary until General Mick Zais is confirmed. Mr. Talbert previously worked as a lawyer on educational institution, accreditation, and charter school issues and served as General Counsel of USED under the Bush Administration.
January 23, 2018
USED Approves the Use of PARCC Assessments: USED sent a letter to Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon to notify the Maryland Department of Education that the state’s use of PARCC assessments in 3rd through 8th grades and in high school meets federal requirements regarding how tests must measure students’ mastery of state academic standards. This comes after USED notified Maryland a year prior that more evidence was needed to determine if the PARCC assessments comply with federal law.
January 11, 2018
- On January 30, the President will deliver his State of the Union address.
- On January 30, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Protecting Privacy, Promoting Policy: Evidence-Based Policymaking and the Future of Education” at 10:00 am. More information can be found here.
- On January 30, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Accountability and Risk to Taxpayers” at 10:00 am. More information is available here.
- On February 5-8 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, USED will conduct a second session of the Gainful Employment Negotiated Rulemaking Committee. More information can be found here.
- On February 8, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The Opioid Crisis: Impact on Children and Families” at 10:00 am. More information can be found here.
- On February 7-9, National Advisory Committee meeting on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) will hold a meeting from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. The agenda includes a panel on a student-level data network, among other issues. The notice can be found here.
- On February 12-15 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, USED will conduct a third session of the Borrower Defenses and Financial Responsibility Negotiated Rulemaking Committee. More information is available here.
- February 22 will be Digital Learning Day. The goal of the day is to highlight more examples of how great teaching paired with technology can improve student outcomes. More information is available 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 can be found 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 can be found 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 is available 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 January 26, the Institute of Education Sciences’ WWC released an Evidence Snapshot on KIPP Charter Schools, finding that the schools have a positive effect on math and English language arts achievement for middle and high school students, among other findings. The Snapshot can be found here.
- On January 25, the Institute of Education Sciences’ National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance released a report titled, “National Evaluation of the State Deaf-Blind Projects.” The report details the work being done by 48 State Deaf-Blind Projects funded by USED’s Office of Special Education Programs and makes the case for the importance of technical assistance among direct service providers who work with deaf and/or blind children and youth. The report is available here.
- On January 25, the Institute of Education Sciences’ National Center for Education Research released a summary of a “IES Career and Technical Education Technical Working Group” meeting. The meeting focused on identifying research questions that need to be addressed and strategies for promoting CTE research. The summary can be found here.
- On January 24, the Institute of Education Sciences’ What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) released an Evidence Snapshot on the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) Promise Academy Charter Schools. The snapshot finds that the research done on the HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools has not met WWC design standards and thus, the WWC is unable to make determinations about the effectiveness of the schools. The snapshot is available here.
- On January 23, the Institute of Education Sciences’ National Center for Education Statistics released a Statistics in Brief report titled, “High School Students’ Views on Who Influences Their Thinking About Education and Careers.” The report finds that family members were most influential on students’ thinking about higher education and careers. The report can be found here.
Earmark Elimination Act of 2018
Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Inclusion Act of 2018
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL)
Enhancing Educational Opportunities for Home School Students Act
Sponsor: Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)