E-Update for the Week of June 3, 2019

E-Update for the Week of June 3, 2019

Highlights:

  • On May 31, POLITICO reported that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been holding a series of meetings with advocacy groups related to the Obama era gainful employment rule. The rule, which USED is planning on rescinding, would limit or cease federal funding to career colleges and for-profit schools that cannot demonstrate their graduates are able to attain “gainful employment” based on their ability to pay back student loans with the salaries of their new employment.
  • On May 30, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) posted a floor update for the week of June 10. In the update, the Majority Leader announced that the House would begin consideration of fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills starting June 12. The order in which the bills would be considered was not included.
  • On May 30, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding the Committee’s attempts to investigate the Department’s previous attempt to remove Acting Inspector General Sandra Bruce. The Members argue that the Department has “repeatedly blocked this inquiry, refused to provide requested documents, [and] made inappropriate redactions to the few documents that were provided.”

Budget and Appropriations:

House to begin consideration of FY2020 appropriations bills in mid-June: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) posted a floor update for the week of June 10. In the update, the Majority Leader announced that the House would begin consideration of fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills starting June 12. The order in which the bills would be considered was not included. The announcement is here.
May 30, 2019

Congress:

Senate:

The Senate was in recess for Memorial Day this week. The Senate will return to session on June 3.

House:

The House was in recess for Memorial Day this week. The House will return to session on June 3.

Oversight Chairman argues USED blocking investigation into temporary removal of Acting Inspector General: House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding the Committee’s attempts to investigate the Department’s previous attempt to remove Acting Inspector General Sandra Bruce. The Members argue that the Department has “repeatedly blocked this inquiry, refused to provide requested documents, [and] made inappropriate redactions to the few documents that were provided.” The Committee’s oversight actions come after Bruce was temporarily removed from her position earlier this year. The Committee Democrats believe her removal was in retaliation for Bruce’s refusal to end an investigation into the Department’s actions regarding a for-profit college accreditor. The full letter is here. A press release is here.
May 30, 2019

Jordan, Meadows request information, data on D.C. voucher program: House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) sent a letter to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting the Department provide information and data regarding the D.C. Opportunity Scholarships program. The program is the only federally funded school voucher program and is due for reauthorization under the D.C. Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act. Within the letter, the Members site a study that suggests, “a SOAR scholarship increased a D.C. student’s probability of graduating high school by 12 percent, decreased a student’s likelihood of chronic absenteeism by almost six percent, increased student satisfaction by almost nine percent, and increased a student’s feeling of safety by almost 12 percent.” Prior studies have indicated the scholarship program does not have positive impacts on academic achievement for students in the program. The full letter is here. A press release is here.
May 30, 2019

Appropriations Committee publishes fact sheet for FY2020 Labor/HHS bill: The House Appropriations Committee published a fact sheet for the FY2020 appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS). The fact sheet outlines the increases allocated within the FY2020 bill, specifically highlighting investments in early childhood programs, federal financial aid programs, Title I programs, and special education programs. The fact sheet is here.
May 29, 2019

Administration:

White House:

OMB reviewing gainful employment rule, meets with advocacy groups to discuss implications of rescission: POLITICO reported that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been holding a series of meetings with advocacy groups related to the Obama era gainful employment rule. The rule, which USED is planning on rescinding, would limit or cease federal funding to career colleges and for-profit schools that cannot demonstrate their graduates are able to attain “gainful employment” based on their ability to pay back student loans with the salaries of their new employment. The article indicates that OMB has met with groups that are largely in support of the gainful employment rule, including New American, the American Federation of teachers, the Century Foundation, the Institute for College Access and Success, and others. The OMB review of the regulation is the last step before the Department finalizes its proposal. The POLITICO article is here.
May 31, 2019

Supreme Court:

SCOTUS denies hearing appeal of transgender bathroom case, school to implement inclusive policy: The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) published its order list, in which it denied a writ of certiorari for Joel Doe, et al. v Boyertown Area School District, et al. The case, based in Pennsylvania, was filed by a group of cisgender students who argued that the Boyertown School District’s implementation of a transgender and gender nonconforming inclusive facilities policy violated their right to privacy. The policy allows transgender and gender nonconforming students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. With the denial by SCOTUS, the school district is allowed to fully implement the policy. The order list is here.
May 28, 2019

Publications (Congressional and Administration):

  • On May 22, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report titled, “The Economic Effects of the 2017 Tax Revision: Preliminary Observations.” The report is a summary of a review that the CRS completed on the impacts of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Key findings of the report include identifying that the law resulted in relatively small growth effects on the economy, as measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); that corporate tax rates fell to an average of 12.1 percent from 23.4 percent while individual tax rates fell from 9.6 percent to 9.2 percent; and that real wages grew more slowly than the GDP, increasing by only 2 percent. The full report is here.
    • Additionally, on May 28, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) released a statement in response to the report. “Workers did not see a significant wage increase—the tax cuts largely paid for stock buybacks that push CEO compensation even higher. And, the tax cuts have had a negligible effect on investment in the United States,” stated the Ranking Member. His full statement is here.
  • On May 28, GAO published a report titled, “States Report Child Care and Development Funds Benefit All Children in Care.” The report summarizes a review of discretionary funding from the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) and how states are using the funding to support their early childhood programs. Key findings of the report include identifying that all states, including the District of Columbia, primarily rely on CCDF for their child care resource and referral systems, consumer education efforts, and health and safety standards implementation and training; that states are likely to use funding from FY2018 for quality improvement activities that will benefit all children receiving child care services within the state, not just those who receive subsidized care; and that states face the challenge of decision making when future funding is undetermined. The full report is here.
    • Additionally, on May 29, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) released a statement after the publication of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) pertaining to the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). The report indicates that investments within child care programs improves the availability and quality of child care nationwide. “While this report signals some progress, there is a still a long way to go to ensure that all families have access to high-quality, affordable child care,” stated Chairman Scott. The full statement is here.

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On May 29, the National College Access Network (NCAN) published a report titled, “Shrinking Options, Growing Affordability Gaps for Low-Income Students Nationwide.” The report summarizes findings of a review of public two- and four-year institutions. Key findings of the report include identifying that only 48 percent of community colleges were affordable for the average Pell Grant recipient in 2016; that 36 states had five or fewer affordable four-year public institutions in 2016; and that only 27 percent of all four-year public institutions were affordable for the average Pell Grant recipient in 2016. The full report is here.
  • On May 29, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published a report titled, “K-12 Funding Still Lagging in Many States.” The report summarizes a study of average state funding in K-12 per student and compares to spending levels prior to the 2008 Great Recession. Key findings of the report include identifying that in seven states, funding is more than 10 percent below pre-recession levels; that Florida is over 22 percent below pre-recession levels; and that on a national scale, combined state and local funding has slightly increased above 2008 levels. The full report is here.
  • On May 28, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) published a report titled, “Forward Together: Helping Educators Unlock the Power of Students Who Learn Differently.” The report summarizes a survey of teachers and their perceptions of students with learning differences. Key findings of the report include identifying that only 17 percent of teachers feel very well prepared to teach students with mild to moderate learning differences; that 30 percent of teachers feel strongly when they are at their best they can be successful with students who have a learning difference; and that only 50 percent of teachers feel strongly that students with learning differences can achieve at grade-level standards. The full report is here.
  • On May 22, the National Student Clearing House published a report titled, “Undergraduate Enrollments Down 275,000 in Spring 2018.” The report summarizes a review of student enrollment in colleges and universities for the spring term. Key findings of the report include identifying that overall student undergraduate enrollment has decreased from 2017; that New York had the highest decrease in enrollment; and that graduate and professional studies program enrollment increase by 44,000. The full report is here.

Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):

  • On June 4 at 10:00am, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a Members’ Day Hearing. Members will be invited to make five-minute statements to the Committee in order to inform the Committee’s priorities and actions moving forward. More information will be posted here.
  • On June 4 at 10:15am, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services will hold a hearing titled, “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.” It is expected Democrats will focus on the Department’s recent rollback of school nutrition guidance, as well as the attempt to increase work requirements for public benefit recipients. No witnesses have been announced yet. More information will be posted here.
  • On June 5 at 9:00am, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education will hold a hearing titled, “This is Not a Drill: Education-Related Response and Recovery in the Wake of Natural Disasters.” It is expected Democrats will focus on how the Department is assisting and providing funding to schools affected by recent natural disasters. Additionally, House Democrats will likely focus on the Department’s support of schools in Puerto Rico. No witnesses have been announced yet. More information will be posted here.
  • On June 5 at 1:30pm,  the Congressional Tri Caucus, in partnership with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Partnership for Women & Families, Black Women’s Roundtable, Family Values at Work, UnidoUS, United for Respect, and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, is holding a briefing titled, “Paid Family Leave: A Crucial Step Forward for Communities of Color. The briefing will feature a panel discussion on the current federal and state landscape of family and medical leave, with a focus on how the FAMILY Act will make vital improvements for people of color. More information and registration are here.

Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):

  • On June 4 at 4:00pm, the Mindset Scholars Network is holding an event titled, “The Role of Student Experience in Postsecondary Completion.” The event will feature a panel discussion that focuses on the research that illustrates how student experience impacts academic success and ultimate degree completion. More information and registration are here.
  • On June 5 at 12:00pm, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is holding an event titled, “Big data, little kids: How technology is changing child welfare.” The event will feature a panel discussion on how improvements in technology and access to student data can have implications for children in welfare programs. More information and registration are here.
  • On June 5 at 2:00pm, CAST is holding an event titled, “How Universal Design for Learning Promotes Flexible Teaching and Creates New Opportunities for Diverse Learners of All Ages.” The event will focus on how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can help to re-engage marginalized youth and young adults in community college, career and technical education program, work-based learning, and more. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) has been invited to provide opening remarks. More information and registration are here.
  • On June 5 at 3:00pm, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is holding a webinar titled, “Forecasting Governor Education Priorities: What State Boards Need to Know.” The webinar will focus on a 2019 NASBE analysis of “state of the state” addresses and their findings that almost all governors have indicated some priority for education. The webinar will review the themes these addresses and how state boards can prepare themselves to work in collaboration with their state leaders. More information and registration are here.
  • On June 6 at 9:00am, the McCrery-Pomerory SSDI Solutions Initiative and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget are holding an event titled, “Disability Policy for the 21st Century.” The event will feature Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and will focus on recent legislation and administrative actions that have been intended to improve disability policy in America. More information and registration are here.
  • On June 6 at 9:00am, NCEE is holding an event titled, “A Blueprint for the Nation: Lessons from Maryland’s Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education.” The event will focus on the Maryland Commission’s report and recommendations for how the state can improve outcomes, while exploring how the strategies recommended can be scaled to other states. More information and registration are here.
  • On June 6 at 5:00pm, AEI is holding an event titled, “Ensuring second chances are not second rate: A conversation on high-school credit recovery.” The event will focus on what schools and districts are doing to ensure credit recovery programs are both responsive to student needs while not executed in a way that threaten school culture or lower expectations. More information and registration are here.

Legislation:

H.R.3023
A bill to increase funding for the COPS Grant Program and the Secure Our Schools Grant Program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)

H.R.3024
A bill to prevent the breakup of families receiving certain Federal housing assistance, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)

H.R.3026
A bill to require that a College Scorecard be maintained for each institution of higher education that participates in programs under title IV of Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA)

H.R.3027
A bill to establish student loan borrowers’ rights to basic consumer protections, reasonable and flexible repayment options, access to earned credentials, and effective loan cancellation in exchange for public service, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)

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