E-Update for the Week of July 23, 2018
- On July 17, the Senate confirmed Jim Blew as the Assistant Secretary of Education for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education (USED) by a party line vote of 50-49. On July 16, the Senate confirmed Scott Stump as the Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education at USED by a vote of 85-0.
- On July 24, the House Democratic leadership of the Education and the Workforce Committee is expected to introduce the Aim Higher Act, which will be the Democratic version of a comprehensive bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). The Aim Higher Act is intended to contrast the HEA reauthorization proposal authored by House Republicans that was considered in committee in December – H.R. 4508, the “PROSPER” Act.
- On July 19, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) that establishes a National Council for the American Worker, which will create a national strategy to train and retrain workers for high-demand industries. Further, the EO forms an advisory board to help implement a results-driven job-training program in classrooms and workplaces across the country.
Murry, Wyden Request Clarification on Tax Burden for Student Debt Relief: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) David Kautter, requesting clarification on whether students, who received debt relief after the closure of Corinthian Colleges, owe taxes on said relief. The press release is here. The letter is here.
July 18, 2018
HELP Committee Democrats Request Hearing on HHS Care for Separated Children: Ten Democratic members of the Senate HELP Committee sent a letter to Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) requesting a hearing on the efforts of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to care for children separated from their parents at the southern border. The letter reads in part, “…we believe the Committee has a responsibility to examine the standards of care, staffing ratios, credentials for contractors and other conditions and practice at [Office of Refugee Resettlement] facilities, to ensure that the remaining children… are appropriately cared for.” The letter is here.
July 17, 2018
Senate Confirms Two USED Nominees: The Senate confirmed Jim Blew as the Assistant Secretary of Education for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at USED by a party line vote of 50-49. Blew had been serving as a “special assistant” to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos since the fall. The Senate also confirmed Scott Stump as the Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education at USED by a vote of 85-0. Previously, Stump served as an Assistant Provost for the Colorado Community College System. A statement from USED Secretary DeVos is here. A summary of the vote on Blew’s nomination is here.
July 16 and 17, 2018
CTE Bill Introduced in Senate, Text Released: The Senate version of the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act was introduced. The bill (S.3217) was approved favorably by a unanimous voice vote by the Senate HELP Committee on June 26. The text of the bill is here.
July 16, 2018
House Dems to Introduce HEA Reauthorization, Aim Higher Act is Response to PROSPER Act: The House Democratic leadership of the Education and the Workforce Committee is expected to introduce the Aim Higher Act, which will be the Democratic version of a comprehensive bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The Aim Higher Act is intended to contrast the HEA reauthorization proposal authored by House Republicans that was considered in committee in December – H.R. 4508, the “PROSPER” Act.
July 24, 2018
Congressional Black Caucus Disapproves of Significant Disproportionality Rule Delay: The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos and Assistant Secretary Johnny Collett expressing their disapproval with the Administration’s two-year delay of the significant disproportionality rule. The regulation addresses disproportionate identification, placement, and disciplinary treatment of students of color in special education. The letter is here.
July 17, 2018
Summer Meals Program Explored at House Subcommittee Hearing: The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled, “Examining the Summer Food Service Program.” The hearing focused on challenges facing the program that were highlighted in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, including the auditing of services provided and meal site availability. In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) noted the importance of the program stating, “The summer program provides meals to children from qualified households during the summer months. In 2017, the program served over 152 million meals to over 2 million children.” More information on the hearing is here. Chairman Rokita’s (R-IN) opening statement is here. The Majority press release is here. The Minority press release is here. The GAO report is here.
July 17, 2018
Trump Signs Executive Order Creating Council for the American Worker: President Donald Trump signed an EO that establishes a National Council for the American Worker, which will create a national strategy to train and retrain workers for high-demand industries. Other roles will be to facilitate the use of data by businesses, workers, and educational institutions; to launch a campaign to highlight the “vocational crisis” and promote jobs in skilled trades; and to call on companies to sign a “Pledge to American Workers.” Further, the EO forms an advisory board to help implement a results-driven job-training program in classrooms and workplaces across the country. The advisory board will be comprised of leaders from the private sector, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations, and state governments. The EO is here.
July 19, 2018
Student Visa Fees Increase, Supplement not Supplant Notice Withdrawn: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published in the Federal Register a notice to increase the fees for foreign students’ visas. Under the proposal, fees would be increased by up to 75 percent. The notice states that the revenue from the increase in fees will be used to upgrade the agency’s technology systems and increase staffing for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Additionally, USED published in the Federal Register that it is withdrawing its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the supplement not supplant requirements of Title I under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The original regulations, published on August 31, 2016, stated federal funds should be additive to state and local funds, instead of being a replacement. No new regulations have been announced or suggested. The student visa notice is here. The supplement not supplant notice is here.
July 16, 2018
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
DeVos Visits PA School, Focuses on Community Partnerships: USED Secretary DeVos and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) traveled to Erie, Pennsylvania, to visit Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School. The purpose of the visit was to observe how the school is working with community partners to support students during the school year and throughout the summer. The announcement is here.
July 16, 2018
Health and Human Services (HHS):
HHS Releases Plan for Reunification of Separated Children: HHS published its plan to reunify eligible children over the age of 5 who may have been separated from their parents at the southern border. This is the second phase of the Department’s reunification efforts as required by a federal court order. The press release is here. The full plan is here.
- HHS also released a statement stating the Department has been working tirelessly with all relevant partners to achieve two objectives related to the separated minors in our care: maximizing child welfare and meeting all court orders.” The statement goes on to say that HHS will be truncating the vetting process in order to meet the deadline presented by the order. The full statement is here.
July 18, 2018
Upcoming Events (Congress & Administration):
- On July 24 at 10:00 am, the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions is holding a hearing titled, “Workflex in the 21st Century Act.” Under H.R. 4219, the “Workflex in the 21st Century Act,” employers that choose to participate in the program would follow a single federal framework for offering their full- and part-time employees paid leave. Participating employers would also be required to offer all employees a flexible work—or workflex—option, which could include a compressed work schedule, telecommuting program, job-sharing program or other option. Those employers that opt in would be exempt from state and local paid leave and workflex laws. The hearing webcast will be here.
- On July 25 at 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in Room 2175 of the House Rayburn Office Building and the Rayburn Foyer, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will host a bipartisan Innovation Forum and Showcase, which will highlight 24 innovators who are running education and workforce development programs in their communities. Five panels of innovators will speak and answer questions from committee members about their work and how they are addressing the nation’s education and workforce development challenges. More information on the Innovation Forum and Showcase will be here.
- On July 26 at 10:00 am, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Modernizing Apprenticeships to Expand Opportunities.” The hearing webcast will be here.
Publications (Congressional & Administration):
- On July 18, the IES’ National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released state-level data on charter schools, computer-based assessments, and graduation rates. The data can be found here.
- On July 17, the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released a report outlining the importance of “reskilling” America’s workforce for the jobs of the future. The report describes work that has evolved more quickly than the skills of the current workforce. The report calls for better coordination between employers, workers, and educational institutions to address the growing skill-gap. The full report is here.
- On July 17, GAO released its report on lead testing of school drinking water. The report surveyed school districts to gather information on lead testing procedures for schools. Key findings include: 41 percent of districts surveyed had not tested for lead in the last 12 months; 43 percent of districts tested for lead, of which 37 percent found elevated levels and reduced or eliminated exposure; and 16 percent did not know if they had tested. The full report is here. A press release from the Minority members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is here.
- On July 17, NCES released a Statistics in Brief report summarizing its research titled, “English Language Program Participation Among Students in Kindergarten the Class of 2010-11: Spring 2011 to Spring 2012.” The report examines differences in student and school characteristics of kindergartners who participated in instructional programs designed to teach English language skills, compared to students who did not participate in such programs. Key findings of the report include: of kindergartners participating in the English language programs, 60 percent received English as a second language instruction as their primary type of English language instruction and 22 percent of kindergartners participating in the programs were no longer in an English language instruction program in first grade. The full report is here.
- On July 16, GAO publicly released its report on youth program requirements under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The report examined how states and local areas are using WIOA grants to serve out-of-school youth. Key findings of the report include: most states were on target to meet the requirement to spend 75 percent of their 2015 and 2016 grant funding; most local areas also reported they were on track to meet the out-of-school youth spending requirement; and most local areas reported they were on track to meet the 20 percent spending for work experiences.
- Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a statement in response to the report. “I’m pleased that states and local communities are taking strong steps to support students who have previously struggled by allowing them to continue their education and get the skills they need to find good-paying jobs.” The full report is here. Ranking Member Murray’s press release is here.
A bill to direct the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with other appropriate entities, to develop and carry out a national science-based education campaign to increase public awareness regarding the use of technology in food and agriculture production, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)
A bill to provide grants to State-recognized or federally recognized apprenticeship programs to support the expansion, awareness, and prestige of such programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
An original bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006.
Sponsor: Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
A bill to ensure the humane treatment of pregnant women by reinstating the presumption of release and prohibiting shackling, restraining, and other inhumane treatment of pregnant detainees.
Sponsor: Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for distributions from 529 programs to pay apprenticeship and qualified early education expenses, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)
A bill to provide at-risk and disconnected youth with subsidized summer and year-round employment and to assist local community partnerships in improving high school graduation and youth employment rates, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)