E-Update for July 28, 2017

E-Update for July 28, 2017

Highlights

  • On July 27, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced that it will change its process for providing feedback to states on their ESSA consolidated state plans.
  • On July 27, 59 Democratic members sent a letter to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her to reverse the decision to delay gainful employment disclosure provisions.
  • On July 27, the Trump Administration and congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, released a joint statement calling on tax-writing committees to draft tax reform legislation that can be considered in committee in the fall.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

USED Announces Changes for ESSA Feedback Process: It was announced that the U.S. Department of Education (USED) will change its process for providing feedback to states on their ESSA consolidated state plans. The changes will include working with states to address concerns with their plans before posting feedback publicly, including through phone calls with each state.
July 27, 2017

Congress:

Democratic Members Send Letter Urging USED Secretary DeVos To Reverse Gainful Employment Disclosure Provisions Delay: 59 Democratic members, including Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA), sent a letter to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her to reverse the decision to delay gainful employment disclosure provisions. Regarding the members’ concerns over the delay, they state in the letter, “Once again, we fear that the interests of for-profit colleges are being put ahead of students, parents, and what is best for our country and economy.” The press release is available here.
July 27, 2017

Members Write Letter to USED Secretary DeVos Requesting Action on Excessive School Discipline: Over 60 members sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos requesting that she take action to reduce excessive school discipline. In the letter, the members state, “We believe it is well within the scope of the Department’s authority to continue taking steps towards reducing exclusionary and aversive discipline practices in schools and that the Department has an obligation to take such steps under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).” The press release is available here.
July 26, 2017

Democratic Members Launch “A Better Deal” Campaign: Senate and House Democrats launched a new economic agenda titled, “A Better Deal,” focused on empowering families and workers to support unprecedented economic growth that will lead to better jobs, better wages, and a better future. The campaign states that it will fight for families struggling to pay for childcare, work to lower the cost of college or technical education, make broadband a national priority, support apprenticeships, and encourage innovation.
July 24, 2017

House:

House Oversight Subcommittees Hold Hearing on Freedom of Speech on College Campuses: The House Oversight Subcommittees on Intergovernmental Affairs and Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules held a hearing titled, “Challenges to Freedom of Speech and College Campuses.” The hearing primarily focused on methods to protect First Amendment rights, as well as intellectual and ideological diversity on colleges campuses.
July 27, 2017

Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Earn-and-Learn Opportunities: The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing titled, “Expanding Options for Employers and Workers Through Earn-and-Learn Opportunities.” The hearing focused on the use of apprenticeships to expand opportunities for workers and potential improvements to the Registered Apprenticeship program. The majority press release is available here, and the minority press release here.
July 26, 2017

Administration:

White House:

Trump Administration and Congressional Leaders Release Joint Statement on Tax Reform: The Trump Administration and congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, released a joint statement laying out broad principles for tax reform and calling on tax-writing committees to draft tax reform legislation that can be considered in committee in the fall.
July 27, 2017

President Trump Announces Plans to Donate Second Quarter Salary to STEM-Focused Camp: President Donald Trump announced his decision to donate his second quarter salary to USED to fund a STEM-focused camp for students. The camp will encourage students to explore STEM fields and ensure that they are prepared for the jobs of the future. The USED press release is available here.
July 26, 2017

  • In conjunction with the announcement, USED Secretary DeVos and Ivanka Trump attended a summer reading event focused on encouraging girls’ interest in STEM. Additionally, on July 27, Ivanka Trump and other administration officials spoke with education technology leaders about promoting STEM education.

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

Comment Request Announced for Final Rule Related to Definitions and Selection Criteria for Grant Programs: USED announced a request for comments on the final rule for definitions and selection criteria that apply to direct grant programs. The proposed changes include revisions and clarifications to the regulations that govern how USED manages competitive grant programs (referred to as EDGAR). Specifically, USED is revising EDGAR to better align with ESSA’s multi-tiered definition of “evidence-based.” USED also proposes to add some additional criteria that the Secretary can use in reviewing proposals, such as whether the proposal includes sufficient resources necessary to conduct any required evaluation.
July 27, 2017

USED Responds to Questions on Processing of Borrower Defense Claims: Recently, USED Acting Undersecretary of Education James Manning sent a letter to a group of senators, including Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), to answer questions about the Department’s processing of borrower defense to repayment claims. In the letter, USED Acting Undersecretary Manning notes that the Department has not approved any borrower defense to repayment claims under the Trump Administration, but has carried out loan forgiveness for 26,372 claims previously approved by the Obama Administration. In total, 65,169 claims remain pending.

Promise Grants Competition Announced: USED released a notice inviting applications for the Fiscal Year 2017 grant competition of the Promise Neighborhoods Program. The program is intended to improve the academic and developmental outcomes of children living in low-income neighborhoods, including ensuring school readiness, high school graduation, and access to a community-based continuum of high-quality services. Applications are due September 5.
July 21, 2017

Upcoming Events:

  • On August 1, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a nomination hearing at 2:30 pm for various positions within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the Assistant Secretary for Health. More information is available here.
  • On August 1-3, IES’ National Center for Education Statistics will hold a STATS-DC Data Conference during which Executive Director of the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking Shelly Wilkie Martinez will deliver a keynote address. More information is available here.
  • On August 3, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a nomination hearing at 10:00 am to consider the nomination of Matthew Bassett to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services. More information is available here.

Publications:

  • On July 27, the IES’ National Center for Education Statistics released a First Look report titled, “Crime, Violence, Discipline, and Safety in U.S. Public Schools: Findings From the School Survey on Crime and Safety: 2015-16.” Among other findings, the report states that the rate of violent incidents in the 2015-16 school year was higher in middle schools than in high schools, as well as the rate of student bullying. The report can be found here.
  • On July 25, IES released a publication titled, “Instructional Tips” to help educators implement the recommendations in IES’ “Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 through 9” practice guide. IES is requesting feedback on this publication in order to make improvements to future “Instructional Tips” on other topics. The publication and more information can be found here.
  • This week, USED posted two Homeroom blog posts on financial aid. The first, titled, “7 Options to Consider if You Didn’t Receive Enough Financial Aid,” suggests exploring multiple options to pay for higher education, such as scholarships, part-time work, and other forms of loans. The blog post can be found here. The second post, titled “8 Things You Should Know About Federal Work-Study,” provides details about the Federal Work-Study Program. The blog post can be found here.
  • In June, USED’s Office of Educational Technology released a guide titled, “Building Technology Infrastructure for Learning,” which can serve as a roadmap for schools and districts looking to modernize the technology infrastructure needed for digital learning. The guide can be found here.
  • In June, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, which is comprised of a working group of 23 federal agencies, released a compendium of data and trends regarding children and families, titled “America’s Children 2017.” The compendium can be found here.

Legislation:

S.1628
A bill to revise counseling requirements for certain borrowers of student loans, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

H.Res.470
A resolution recognizing that international education and exchange programs further national security and foreign policy priorities, enhance economic competitiveness, and promote mutual understanding and cooperation among nations.
Sponsor: Rep. James Himes (D-CT)

H.R.3358
A bill making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2018, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)

H.R.3370
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to extend the Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program to cover recipients of Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry scholarship, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)

H.R.3372
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for the restoration of entitlement to educational assistance and other relief for veterans affected by school closure of disapproval, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)

H.R.3376
A bill to amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to create a pilot program to award grants to units of general local government and community-based organizations to create jobs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)

H.R.3384
A bill to amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act by repealing the paid lunch equity requirements.
Sponsor: Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)

H.R.3390
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to reduce the interest rate caps for Federal Direct student loans, to eliminate loan origination fees on all Federal Direct student loans, and to provide for refinancing of Federal Direct student loans and Federal family education loans.
Sponsor: Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL)

H.R.3397
A bill to direct the National Science Foundation to support STEM education research focused on early childhood.
Sponsor: Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV)

H.R.3402
A bill to amend the fresh fruit and vegetable program under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to include canned, dried, frozen, or pureed fruits and vegetables.
Sponsor: Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME)

H.R.3418
A bill to require States to inform children in foster care under the responsibility of the State who have attained 14 years of age of all government programs under which the child may be eligible for financial assistance for expenses related to higher education.
Sponsor: Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI)

H.R.3422
A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to authorize an interstate teaching application program.
Sponsor: Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN)

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