E-Update for January 27, 2017

E-Update for January 27, 2017

Highlights

  • The U.S. Department of Education (USED) is seeking individuals to serve as state plan peer reviewers as required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The multi-disciplinary peer review teams will consist of educators, state and local educational agency (SEA and LEA) personnel, and researchers. Applications are due today.
  • On January 26, DeVos sent a letter to Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) vowing to enforce the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • On January 24, Senate Democrats introduced a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which includes funding for school construction and modernization projects and reauthorizes the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds program.
  • During the week of January 22-28, advocates of school choice recognized National School Choice Week, highlighting school choice as a vehicle for providing parents with a diversity of education options for their children.

U.S. Congress

Legislative Outlook:

Congressional Republicans Discuss Legislative Agenda: House and Senate Republicans attended a retreat in Philadelphia to discuss their legislative agenda. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) outlined three major issues that Republicans are planning to act on this year: (1) a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by April; (2) a supplemental appropriations bill, including funding for a wall along the southern border; and (3) the approval of a tax reform package prior to August recess. A video of Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s press conference at the retreat is available here. A video of President Donald Trump’s address at the conference can be found here.
January 25-26, 2017

House Majority Leader McCarthy Discusses Plan to Roll Back Regulations: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal detailing how House Republicans plan to roll back some of the regulations from the Obama Administration. In the op-ed, Rep. McCarthy highlighted: (1) the passage of the REINS Act, which requires new regulations costing $100 million or more to be approved by Congress before taking effect; (2) the passage of the Regulatory Accountability Act, which will increase transparency in the rulemaking process and require agencies to choose the least costly option, unless they can show a costlier option is needed to protect the public; and (3) the House’s plans to repeal specific regulations using the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
January 25, 2017

Nomination of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education:

Betsy DeVos Vows to Enforce IDEA: DeVos sent a letter to Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) vowing to enforce the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In the letter, DeVos noted that she is committed to enforcing all federal laws and protecting the rights of students with disabilities. DeVos also said that she will bring a sense of urgency to helping students with disabilities.
January 26, 2017

Senate Democrats Request Second Hearing for DeVos: Senate Democrats sent a letter to Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) requesting a second hearing for DeVos. In response, Chairman Alexander released a statement that there would not be a second hearing for DeVos, and noted that members have had additional opportunities to question DeVos through private meetings and written questions.
January 23, 2017

DeVos Reaches Ethics Agreement: DeVos reached an agreement with government ethics officials that will require her to divest from assets that pose a potential conflict of interest.
January 19, 2017

School Choice:

Chairman Alexander and Chairwoman Foxx Commemorate National School Choice Week: In a statement commemorating National School Choice Week, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN) emphasized his belief that the answer to inequality is providing students more opportunities to attend a better school. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Foxx (R-NC) also released a statement, noting that innovative charter schools, magnet schools, homeschooling, and scholarship programs extend the promise of school choice to many families. Chairman Alexander’s statement can be found here and Chairwoman Foxx’s statement here. The resolution designating January 22-28 as National School Choice Week can be found here.
January 24, 2017

Chairman Alexander Releases Statement Supporting S. 235, the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Individuals and Communities through Education Act: HELP Committee Chairman Alexander released a statement in support of Senator Tim Scott’s (R-SC) introduction of S. 235, the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Individuals and Communities through Education (CHOICE) Act. The Act would: (1) allow IDEA funding to follow students with disabilities to the school of their choice; (2) create a Department of Defense (DoD) pilot on at least 5 bases without DoD Education Activity schools to provide scholarships to students in military families for elementary school and high school; and (3) clarify that Washington, D.C. students previously attending private school are not excluded from participating in the Opportunity Scholarships Program, so long as they meet the requirements of being low-income. The CHOICE Act can be found here.
January 26, 2017

Senate Democrats:

Senate Democrats Introduce Infrastructure Plan: Senate Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), introduced a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. The plan includes $75 billion for school construction and modernization projects and reauthorizes the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds program to support investments in certain school districts with low-income students.
January 24, 2017

House Education and the Workforce Committee:

House Education and the Workforce Committee Adopts New Oversight Plan: The House Education and the Workforce Committee held an organizational meeting, which included adoption of its oversight plan for the 115th Congress. The plan includes information on the general oversight responsibilities of the Committee – including ESSA implementation, USED’s student loans portfolio, higher education regulations, and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). More information on the Committee meeting can be found here and the Committee rules here. Statements from Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (R-NC) can be found here and here, respectively.
January 24, 2017

House and Senate Appropriations Committees:

Senate Appropriations Committee Announces Subcommittee Members: The Senate Appropriations Committee announced members for each of its Subcommittees, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Subcommittee, with Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) leading the Subcommittee.
January 24, 2017

Administration

USED Delays Regulations: The Federal Register issued a pre-publication notice in accordance with the memorandum of January 20, entitled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,” which called for delaying regulations that have been published in the Federal Register, but have not yet taken effect by 60 days. Through the notice, USED delays the effective dates of the following regulations until March 21, 2017: ESSA Accountability and State Plans; Open Licensing Requirement for Competitive Grant Programs; and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
January 27, 2017

President Trump Issues National School Choice Week Proclamation: President Trump issued a proclamation in honor of National School Choice Week, in which he stated, “Because the education of our young people is so important, the parents of every student in America should have a right to a meaningful choice about where the child goes to school.” President Trump also encouraged both states and the federal government “to expand school choice for millions of additional students.”
January 26, 2017

Attorneys General Ask to Join Defense of Decision to Terminate Federal Recognition of ACICS:  A group of attorneys general from Massachusetts, Illinois, Maine, New York, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. asked a federal judge to let them join the defense of the Obama Administration’s decision to terminate the federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Universities (ACICS).
January 25, 2017

Upcoming Events

On January 31, the Senate HELP Committee will hold an executive session meeting to consider the nomination of Betsy DeVos to serve as USED Secretary. The executive session will take place at 10:00 a.m. at 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building. More information and full video of the meeting will be available here.

On February 2, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education will hold a hearing entitled “Helping Students Succeed Through the Power of School Choice.” The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. at 2175 Rayburn House Office Building. More information and full video of the hearing will be available here.

Publications

IES Releases Final Report on School Improvement Grants: USED’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released a final report on the implementation and effectiveness of the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. The report found that overall, across all grades, implementing SIG-funded models had no significant impacts on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment.
January 20, 2017

Legislation

S. Res 26
A resolution designating the week of January 22nd-28th as “National School Choice Week”.
Sponsor: Tim Scott (R-SC)

S. 206
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow the Secretary of Education to award job training Federal Pell Grants.
Sponsor: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

S. 208
Official title: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit fully refundable, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Angus King (I-ME) Cosponsor: Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)

H.R. 674
A bill to require each agency to repeal or revise 1 or more existing regulations before issuing a new regulation, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)

H.R. 675
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to expand the coverage of qualified tuition programs and increase the limitation on contributions to Coverdell education savings accounts.
Sponsor: Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-NC)

H.R. 647
A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to award grants to eligible entities to establish, expand, or support school-based mentoring programs to assist at-risk middle school students with the transition from middle school to high school.
Sponsor: Rep. André Carson (D-IN)

H.R. 691
A bill to expand opportunity through greater choice in education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN)

S. 229
A bill to provide for the confidentiality of information submitted in requests for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

S. 235
A bill to expand opportunity through greater choice in education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)

H.R. 283
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow without penalty any 529 plan distributions used for student loans payments.
Sponsor: Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)

S. 148
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a tax credit for qualified elementary and secondary education tuition.
Sponsor: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

S. 185
A bill to amend the Head Start Act to authorize block grants to states for prekindergarten education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) Cosponsor: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

H. Res 57
A resolution supporting the contributions of Catholic schools.
Sponsor: Rep. David Lipinski (D-IL)

H.R. 413
A bill to establish an Early Federal Pell Grant Commitment Program.
Sponsor: Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI)

H.R. 414
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow an individual to qualify for both teacher loan forgiveness and public service loan forgiveness, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI)

H.R. 415
A bill to amend GEAR UP to require that schools receiving funding under the program provide students with access to academic and mental health counseling services, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI)

H.R. 416
A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to strengthen accountability of authorized public chartering agencies and reduce charter school authorizing misconduct.
Sponsor: Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI)

Share this post