E-Update for the Week of October 15, 2018
- On October 11, USED announced its creation of negotiated rulemaking committee to develop proposed regulations related to a number of higher education practices and issues, including: (1) accreditation; (2) distance learning and educational innovation; (3) TEACH grants; and (4) participation by faith-based educational entities. Nominations for negotiators to serve on the committees must be received on or before November 15, 2018.
- On October 10, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published in the Federal Register its notice to prescribe changes to its determination of immigration status based on an individual’s likelihood to become a public charge. The Administration is considering various public benefits as included in the definition of public charge. The notice will accept comments until December 10.
- On October 8, USED published the awards given in fiscal year (FY) 2018 under the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant program. For FY2018, 18 new awards were distributed, with 11 of them having some sort of STEM focus or component.
On October 11, the Senate went into recess for legislative business until November 13 following the mid-term elections.
Murray, Brown call for GAO investigation into virtual charter schools: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) urging the agency to investigate policies, procedures, and student outcomes for virtual charter schools. The Senators wish to better understand the student experiences in these schools in order to “better understand the reforms needed.” A press release and the letter are here.
October 10, 2018
Senate Democrats urge DeVos to investigate for-profit college on student fraud claims: Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos urging her to open an investigation into the for-profit Center for Excellence in Higher Education (CEHE) and its operating schools. The CEHE was recently placed on probation by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). The Senators requested Secretary DeVos to examine CEHE and if its actions would qualify students for borrower defense discharges. Under the borrower defense rule, students are able to request their student loans to be forgiven if a college or career program has defrauded the student. The Senators’ letter is here.
October 10, 2018
On September 28, the House went into recess for legislative business until after the midterm elections.
Lowey, Yarmuth urge Mulvaney to develop bipartisan FY2020 budget: House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) and House Budget Committee Ranking Member John Yarmuth (D-KY) sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney urging him to develop a bipartisan agreement to increase funding limits on discretionary programs for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget. “Non-defense investments are not only critical to economic growth and job creation, but also enhance our security in other ways, including through diplomacy, homeland security, law enforcement, and veterans’ health care,” the letter states. A press release from the House Appropriations Committee Minority is here. A press release from the House Budget Committee Minority is here. The full letter is here.
October 9, 2018
House Budget Committee Republicans argue universal child care is ‘budget buster’: The House Budget Committee Majority published a blog post titled, “Budget Buster: Universal Child Care.” In the blog post, the Majority cites H.R.3773 and S.1806, the “Child Care for Working Families Act,” and argues the legislation is not a fiscally sustainable solution to the child care issues facing families. The post argues that H.R.3773/S.1806 will be too expensive and will take choice away from families. An alternative being proposed by the Majority is focused on efforts to increase the Child Tax Credit, as proposed in the House Tax Reform 2.0 bill. The full article is here.
October 5, 2018
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
Judge delays borrower defense rule enforcement, again: A federal judge delayed enforcement of the borrower defense rule until October 16 at 12:00 pm. The borrower defense rule allows students who have been defrauded by their university or professional program to seek loan relief from the Department. The judge had previously ruled USED Secretary DeVos’s postponement of the rule was illegal but had given the Department until 5:00 pm last Friday. More information is here.
October 12, 2018
USED announces negotiated rulemaking committee, subcommittees for higher education policies: USED announced its creation of negotiated rulemaking committee to develop proposed regulations related to a number of higher education practices and issues, including: (1) accreditation; (2) distance learning and educational innovation; (3) TEACH grants; and (4) participation by faith-based educational entities. The rulemaking committee will be called the “Accreditation and Innovation Committee” and will have three topic-based subcommittees to ensure sufficient representation of subject matter experts for each topic. The subcommittees include the “Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee,” the “Faith-Based Entities Subcommittee,” and the “TEACH Grants Subcommittee.” Nominations for negotiators to serve on the committees must be received on or before November 15, 2018. The full announcement is available here.
October 11, 2018
USED announces multiple staff changes: USED announced the appointment of Laurie VanderPloeg as the director of the Office of Special Education Programs. VanderPloeg, who is the president of the board of directors for the Council for Exceptional Children, succeeds Ruth Ryder. Notably, the Council for Exceptional Children has stated its opposition to USED Secretary DeVos delaying the significant disproportionality rule. The announcement is here.
Additionally, POLITICO reported Kathleen Smith, the Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the Office for Federal Student Aid has begun a detail with the Republican staff of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Smith’s detail will last at least through the end of the year. More information from POLITICO is here.
October 11 and 12, 2018
USED ‘reTHINKs’ school with blog series: USED posted a series of blog posts titled, “#reTHINKschool.” USED Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Jim Blew highlighted the work of North Idaho STEM Charter Academy as it has developed a project-based curriculum focused on STEM education. Assistant Secretary Blew’s post is here.
Acting Director of the USED Center for Faith and Opportunities Initiatives Andrea Ramirez, who discussed the importance of “creating an ecosystem of innovative learning,” and highlighted various apprenticeship programs, as well as efforts to improve education by private, religious schools. Acting Director Ramirez’s post is here.
USED Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education Scott Stump, who described the efforts of schools to improve workforce development programs and to close the skills gap and urged states to consider the work of the National Center for Aviation Training in Wichita, Kansas, as a model for developing Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) state plans. Secretary Stump’s post is here.
Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid Kathleen Smith, who detailed her excitement with the new mobile app for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Deputy Chief Operating Officer Smith’s post is here.
October 10, 2018
IES announces new draft standards for assessing research proposals: On October 10, Institute for Education Sciences (IES) Director Mark Schneider published an update on the “IES version of LEED standards,” to follow up on earlier remarks he had made about redeveloping how IES awards grants. Director Schneider explained IES is still in the process of developing key domains and core questions, and rubrics to evaluate both have not been developed. However, he outlined initial core domains and is calling the collection the “Standards for Excellence in Education Research (SEER).” The core domains include (1) register studies; (2) focus on meaningful outcomes; (3) identify core components; (4) analyze cost; (5) support scaling up; and (6) document implementation. The full update is here.
October 10, 2018
USED announces EIR FY2018 awards, most go to STEM programs: On October 8, USED published the awards given in fiscal year (FY) 2018 under the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant program. For FY2018, 18 new awards were distributed, with 11 of them having some sort of STEM focus or component. The Department was instructed by Congress, through the FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill, to allocate at least $50 million of EIR funding to STEM programs. No funding was awarded under the EIR program to support efforts to test and build evidence for the effectiveness of private school choice, as was initially proposed in the FY2018 President’s budget request, since this proposal was rejected by Congress. The full list of awardees is here.
October 8, 2018
USED awards over $390 million in charter school grants: USED published the fiscal year (FY) 2018 award winners under the Charter School Program grant. The Department awarded almost $399 million in grants to support the expansion and operation of charter schools across the country. Eight states received over $313 million in order to support 300 new, replicating, and expanding public charter schools. The full list of awardees is here.
October 5, 2018
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
CMS sends letter to all state health officials on CHIP implementation: Acting Director of the Center for Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Services Timothy Hill sent a letter to all state health officials. In the letter, Hill described the extension of CHIP funding through September 30, 2027, and outlined key provisions of the HEALTHY KIDS and ACCESS Acts as they relate to CHIP and its implementation. The full letter is here.
October 5, 2018
U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS):
DHS publishes public charge proposal, includes multiple public benefit programs: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published in the Federal Register its notice to prescribe changes to its determination of immigration status based on an individual’s likelihood to become a public charge. The Administration is considering public benefits involved with programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and non-cash benefits such as Medicaid and CHIP. The notice will accept comments until December 10. The notice is here. A press release from Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) is here.
October 10, 2018
Upcoming Events (Congressional & Administration):
- On November 8-9, the USED Office of Education Technology will host a convening in partnership with the Data Quality Campaign in Washington, D.C. The convening will bring together stakeholders for two days of “sketching, prototyping, and building solutions to help states design family-friendly approaches to report cards.” Teams will be asked to focus on two major “challenge points”: the landing page or “at-a-glance” pages, and data on per pupil expenditures. More information and registration is here.
- On January 14-16, February 19-22, and March 25-28, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Accreditation and Innovation negotiated rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announce the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announcement is here.
- On January 17-18, February 12-13, and March 11-12, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee for the Accreditation and Innovation rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announce the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announcement is here.
- On January 17-18, February 12-13, and March 11-12, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Faith-Based Entities Subcommittee for the Accreditation and Innovation rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announcement the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announce is here.
- On January 17-18, February 12-13, and March 11-12, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the TEACH Grants Subcommittee for the Accreditation and Innovation rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announcement the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announce is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On October 15 at 4:00 pm, GLSEN will host a webinar titled, “New Findings from the 2017 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of LGBTQ Youth in U.S. Schools.” The webinar will highlight key findings from GLSEN’s most recent school climate survey, as well as discuss the extent of challenges and impact of them on LGBTQ students’ well-being. More information and registration is here.
- On October 17 at 1:00 pm, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) will host a webinar titled, “Data is a Critical Tool for Diversifying and Strengthening States’ Educator Pipeline.” During the webinar DQC staff and panelists will discuss how states can use and share data related to teacher effectiveness, diversity, and distribution and how such information can be leveraged to improve talent pipelines. More information and registration are here.
- On October 18 at 11:00 am, Higher Learning Advocates will host a forum titled, “A Forum on the Shifting Demographics, Pathways, & Aspirations of Students in Higher Education Today.” The forum will feature Rep. George Miller (D-CA), former Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, and will focus on how the Higher Education Act does not adequately meet the needs of the growing diversity of college students. More information and registration are here.
- On October 18 at 12:00 pm, Drexel University will host a discussion titled, “Change on the Horizon: The U.S. Department of Education’s Plans for Higher Education.” The panel discussion will focus on how proposed regulations by the Department will impact higher education. Specifically, the discussion will describe the gainful employment and borrower defense rules. More information and registration is here.
- On October 19 at 10:00 am, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a discussion focusing on mother-infant interactions. The discussion will feature Beatrice Beebe, who will present her research on mother-infant interactions. Beebe’s research focused on “decoding the nonverbal language of babies.” More information and registration are here.
Publications (Congressional & Administration):
- On October 10, IES published a report titled, “What high schoolers and their parents know about public 4-year tuition and fees in their states.” The report found that most 9th grade students either overestimated or underestimated the tuition and fees of a public university in their respective state. Additionally, 25 percent of 9th grade students believed that college was not affordable. The full report is here.
- On October 9, GAO published a reported titled, “Students with Disabilities: Additional Information from Education Could Help States Provide Pre-Employment Transition Services.” The report outlines results from a survey of 74 state vocational rehabilitation agencies. In the report, GAO recommends USED (1) establish timeframes for providing information on allowable expenditures as authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA); (2) assist states who have not updated or finalized their interagency agreements; and (3) develop a plan for identifying and disseminating best practices. According to the report, USED agreed with the first recommendation but disagreed with the latter two. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On October 12, the Center for American Progress (CAP) published a report titled, “Education is on the Ballot this November.” The report describes the approximate 150 education related ballot initiatives from across the country that will be voted upon during the midterm elections. In 15 states, there are 20 measures that could generate more than $2 billion in revenue for public education. The full report is here.
- On October 12, Veterans Education Success published a report titled, “Student Outcomes at Colleges Approved by the Accreditor ACICS.” The report analyzes outcomes and finds that 70 percent of students at colleges approved by the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) earn no more than a high school graduate; students at ACICS-approved schools are twice as likely to have “unmanageable debt;” and overall outcomes for students have worsened since a 2016 analysis. Note, ACICS recently received a recommendation for federal continuation of its accreditation status. The full report is here.
- On October 11, the National Center for Teacher Quality (NCTQ) published a report titled, “Strengthening Reading Instruction Databurst: Strengthening Reading Instruction through Better Preparation of Elementary and Special Education Teachers.” The report analyzes state standards for teacher qualifications, and finds that the standards are too low in terms of an educator’s ability to teach reading. The full report is here.
- On October 10, Code.org Advocacy Coalition and the Computer Science Teachers Association published a report titled, “2018 State of Computer Science Education: Policy and Implementation.” The report examined access to computer science courses based on student ethnicity and socioeconomic status (“underrepresented minority”) and found that schools with higher percentages of underrepresented minorities are less likely to offer computer science courses. The report also found students living in rural communities were less likely to have access to computer science courses. The full report is here.
- On October 9, the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) published a report titled, “Afterschool Suppers: A Snapshot of Participation.” The report found that in October 2017, 1.2 million children were serviced by afterschool meal programs on an average weekday. Compared to October 2016, this is an increase of 11.3 percent, or 124,000 students. The full report is here.
- On October 8, PEW Research Trusts published a report titled, “Use of 529 Plans Rising: Along with Revenue Impact.” The report analyzed the use of 529 education savings plans, which allow post-tax contributions to grow and be used for qualified education expenses. Due to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the plans can be used to cover K-12 expenses. The analysis found that the rise in education related costs for families has mirrored the rise in use of 529 plans. Assets held in the plans grew 81 percent between 2010 and 2017, and the number of accounts increased by 3 million in the same time period. The full report is here.
- On October 4, America’s Promise Alliance published a report titled, “Great American High School: Reforming the Nation’s Remaining Low-Performing High Schools.” The report summarizes an analysis of the 1,300 traditional high schools in need of “serious improvement and redesign.” For these schools, the average graduation rate is 49 percent, and are concentrated in 18 states. The full report is here.
A bill to support empowerment, economic security, and educational opportunities for adolescent girls around the world, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL)
A bill to authorize the Attorney General to make grants to States to acquire a mobile application that facilitates the reporting of school safety threats to local law enforcement agencies for use by students in secondary schools, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Thomas MacArthur (R-NJ)
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide the work opportunity tax credit with respect to hiring veterans who are receiving educational assistance under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs or Defense.
Sponsor: Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)