E-Update for the Week of October 29, 2018

E-Update for the Week of October 29, 2018

Highlights:

  • On October 26, POLITICO reported Josh Venable, USED Chief of Staff, resigned from the Department. Venable will be replaced by Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach Nate Baily.
  • On October 24, President Trump signed H.R.6, the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act,” which is a comprehensive bill focused on addressing the opioids crisis. The bill authorizes $50 million in grants per year for the next five years to help states and districts support students who have experienced trauma, which can include some schoolwide behavioral interventions.
  • On October 21, the New York Times reported the Trump administration is considering a more narrowly defined definition of gender under Title IX. According to a leaked memo, gender would be defined as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth. Such a definition would effectively ignore individuals who identify as transgender.

Congress:

Warren, Bonamici call for DeVos to share information on for-profit college accreditor: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos requesting information on the Department’s decision to restore the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as a federally-recognized accreditor. The Congresswomen highlight multiple areas where ACICS fails federal criteria for accreditation status, and state, “…the Department must provide transparency to this opaque process and release the full set of ACICS documents.” A press release is here.
October 19, 2018

Senate:

On October 11, the Senate went into recess for legislative business until November 13 following the mid-term elections.

Wyden, Warren call for Azar to clarify testimony on family separation preparedness: Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar requesting more information regarding the Department’s implementation of the “zero tolerance” policy on family separation. The Senators expressed concern the Department and Secretary Azar’s testimony were misleading to Congress. The letter is here. A press release is here.
October 18, 2018

Durbin, Murray call for Social Security, USED to renew data sharing agreement: Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) led a letter sent to the Social Security Administration (SSA) urging the agency to enter into a data sharing agreement with USED. Under the agreement, USED would be able to use debt-to-earnings rates to determine gainful employment for graduates of colleges and programs. A previous sharing agreement expired in May. The letter to SSA is here. A separate letter to USED from Sen. Durbin is here. A press release is here.
October 18, 2018

House:

On September 28, the House went into recess for legislative business until after the midterm elections.

Administration:

White House:

Ivanka Trump to headline Mississippi child care event: Ivanka Trump, adviser to the president, will be participating in an event at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport, Mississippi. The event, sponsored by the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, is expected focus on “why high-quality, affordable child care is critical in order to have a strong and prosperous workforce,” according to a White House email. The SunHerald has more information here.
October 26, 2018

President signs comprehensive opioids response bill: President Trump signed H.R.6, the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act,” which is a comprehensive bill focused on addressing the opioids crisis. The President stated, “the Act addresses the opioid crisis that is plaguing our Nation by reducing the supply of and access to opioids and by expanding access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services.” The bill authorizes $50 million in grants per year for the next five years to help states and districts support students who have experienced trauma, which can include some schoolwide behavioral interventions.  It also authorizes $10 million in grants per year for five years to help districts and non-profit organizations prevent and treat substance abuse disorders in children and young adults. The President’s full remarks are here. A statement by Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is here. A statement by Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) is here.

Related, Education Week published an article on how the opioids crisis is affecting schools. Specifically, the article highlights how opioids addictions can affect student attendance, increase trauma due to unexpected family deaths, and an increase in children considered orphans. The full article is here.
October 24, 2018

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

FTC Commissioner need for ‘better data security’ for children: Federal Trade Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter spoke during a on panel discussion focused on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) hosted by Georgetown University. During the discussion, Slaughter stated there’s a need for “better data security and privacy protections” and it is time for the federal government to “step in.” Slaughter suggested one potential change is to increase the age at which protections are lifted from 13 years old to 16 years old. More information on the event is here.
October 24, 2018

State authority on student loan servicers continues to be argued in federal court: POLITICO reported on the ongoing federal appeals court case between the National Student Legal Defense Network (NSLDN) and Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation, a student loan servicer. The NSLDN claims states have the authority to “police loan servicers,” especially those who are suspected of misleading borrowers. Great Lakes, which whom USED agrees with, claims states do not have such authority for servicers of federal student loans. A lower court had previously ruled in favor of Great Lakes and argued the Higher Education Act preempts state consumer protection laws. The POLITICO article is here.
October 23, 2018

USED releases study, toolkit for supporting English language learners with technology: USED released the “National Study on English Learners and Digital Resources,” which analyzes how technology is being used to teach English learning students. Included in the study is a toolkit that provides “suggestions and resources for educators who want to utilize new technology-based resources” in order to help English learning students. The study and toolkit are here.
October 22, 2018

First USED political appointee resigns: POLITICO reported Douglas Webster, Chief Financial Officer for the U.S. Department of Education (USED) resigned from his position within the Department. Webster, the first Senate-confirmed appointee to resign from the Department, will be taking another position within the Trump administration. Larry Kean, director of the USED Budget Office, will serve as interim CFO. The POLITICO article is here.
October 18, 2018

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

Trump administration considering redefining ‘sex,’ potential implications for Title IX protections for transgender individuals: The New York Times reported the Trump administration is considering a more narrowly defined definition of gender under Title IX. The report is based on a memo that had been circulating between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), USED, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). According to the memo, gender would be defined as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth. The definition would limit sex as either male or female and would be considered “unchangeable.” Such a definition would effectively ignore individuals who identify as transgender. The Times reports this would impact an estimated 1.4 million Americans who no longer recognize themselves as the gender they were born into. The full Times article is here.
October 21, 2018

U.S. Treasury Department:

Treasury releases guidance on using Opportunity Zones: On October 19, the U.S. Treasury Department released proposed regulations on Opportunity Zones, which were included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Opportunity Zones are intended to increase investment in certain low income communities and offer investors the ability to defer capital gains taxes if they participate in the program. The regulations are here. A press release by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) is here.
October 19, 2018

Upcoming Events (Congressional & Administration):

  • On October 29 at 10:30 am, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Education Lab (REL) will host a webinar titled “Regional Approaches to Addressing Teacher Shortages.” The webinar will describe how local and state leaders can build capacity to address teacher shortages via district-university partnerships. Registration and more information are here.
  • On November 2 at 9:00 am, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will host a public briefing titled, “Are Rights a Reality? Evaluating Federal Civil Rights Enforcement.” There is an opportunity for public comment from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. More information and registration are here.
  • 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 are here.
  • On November 9 at 10:00 am, the USED Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiative will host a Faith Leader Summit. The summit will allow faith and community leaders the chance to hear from administration leadership about how the Department will use “multiple education options to help promote the success of every student, and how faith leaders can be involved.” More information can be received by emailing Carrie Jasper at jasper@ed.gov.
  • On November 15-17, the National Assessment Governing Board will hold a quarterly board meeting. Highlights for the upcoming meeting include: November 15, 2018 – Ad Hoc Committee on Measures of Postsecondary Preparedness will meet; November 16, 2018 – Full Governing Board and Assessment Development Committee will meet; and November 17, 2018 – Full Governing Board will meet. For a full agenda, the notice can be found 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 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 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 announce the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announcement is here.

Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):

  • On October 29, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund will host its annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) awards gala. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) are expected to attend. More information is here.
  • On October 30, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 2018 National Workforce Conference: Talent Forward. The event will focus on how conversation about education and the workforce can shift to a “dedicated focus on real solutions that work.” More information and registration are here.
  • On October 31 at 12:00 pm, the Data Quality Campaign is hosting a webinar titled, “Data Can Help States Understand and Improve the Experiences of their Educator Workforce.” The webinar will discuss how policymakers can use data to understand the complex issues that face educators and how they can be better supported. More information and registration are here.
  • On October 31 at 12:00 pm, the Heritage Foundation will host an event titled “School Choice in Puerto Rico: New Education Opportunities for Puerto Rican Children.” The event will focus on how the territory intends to hold schools accountable to parents and how the changes in school choice options will impact the education of children in the territory. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan will offer the keynote address. More information and registration are here.
  • On November 5, SETDA will hold their annual Leadership Summit titled, “Championing Education Leaders in the Digital Age.” The summit will focus on how state actions can help shift to more integrated and effective digital learning. The summit is by invitation only.
  • On November 7 at 9:30 am, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host an event titled, “What will the 2018 midterm elections mean for education?” The event will analyze the results of the 2018 Midterm Elections and discuss how the K-12 schooling and higher education could possibly be impacted. More information and registration are here.
  • On November 8 at 9:00 am, New America is hosting an event titled, “At the Breaking Point: How to Better Compensate and Support Teachers of Our Youngest Learners.” The event will focus on workforce well-being, and what actions can be taken in order to support early childhood educators. More information and registration are here.
  • On November 9, Results for America is hosting an event titled, “The Secrets to Transforming Local Government.” The event will bring together Mayors and other local government leaders to discuss how they are using evidence and data to address critical local challenges and improve the lives of residents. More information and registration are here.

Publications (Congressional & Administration):

  • On October 26, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled, “Public High Schools with More Students in Poverty and Smaller Schools Provide Fewer Academic Offerings to Prepare for College.” The agency analyzed offerings for advanced courses such as calculus, physics, and advanced placement (AP) courses. The report found that high-poverty schools were less likely to offer advanced courses in math and science that most public four-year colleges expect or require. Based on interviews conducted, the report highlights that multiple factors affect a school’s course offerings, including students being significantly behind academically; lack of staff capacity and resources to offer the courses; and, effects of poverty such as homelessness, hunger, and trauma. The full report is here.
  • On October 24, the GAO released a report titled, “Unaccompanied Children: Agency Efforts to Reunify Children Separated from Parents at the Border.” The report analyzes Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s April 2018 memo on the “zero tolerance” policy and found that officials with the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and HHS were not prepared for an increase in the number of children separated due to the policy. The report finds the departments did not have a “consistent way to indicate in their data systems children and parents separated at the border.” Based on their analysis, 437 children still remain in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The full report is here. A press release by House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) is here. A press release by House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) is here.
  • On October 23, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report titled, “Complain snapshot: 50 state report,” which includes tracking of student loan complaints. The report summarizes complaints broadly received by the CFPB and compares them by state. California sent the most complaints, followed by Florida and Texas. Florida complained most often about credit or consumer reporting, while Texas most often complained about debt collection. Wyoming submitted the least amount of complaints. The full report is here.
  • On October 23, the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) released a report titled, “Study of Enhanced College Advising in Upward Bound: Impacts on Steps Toward College.” The report analyzes 200 Upward Bound projects from across the country and found that enhanced pre-college advising increased the number and selectivity of colleges to which students applied. The full report is here.

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On October 24, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report titled, “Redesigning High School: Local Perspectives from Schools and Districts.” The report highlights five schools and districts for their innovative school designs ranging from class schedule changes to project-based curriculum to a holistic incorporation of social emotional learning. The full report is here.
  • On October 24, ExcelinEd released a report titled, “College and Career Pathways: Equity and Access.” Key findings include too many students in every state do not have the opportunity to take courses fundamental to success in college and careers, and access to such courses is worse for schools with high populations of minority students and schools with high populations of low-income students. The report analyzed data from the 2015-2016 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). The full report is here.
  • On October 23, Child Care Aware of America released a report titled, “The US and the High Cost of Child Care: 2018.” The report analyzed the average cost of child care across the states and offers deep dives at the county level for nine of the states – Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nevada. The full report is here.
  • On October 23, Child Trends published a report titled, “Creating Policies to Support Healthy Schools: Policymaker, Educator, and Student Perspectives.” The report analyzed the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) framework by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Key findings of the report include emotional and mental health and school climate and culture emerged as key priority issues for stakeholder groups; schools struggle to address student trauma, according to educators and policymakers; and educators and policymakers view social-emotional skill development as an important step to address student needs. The full report is here.
  • On October 22, the New York City Leadership Academy released a report titled, “Still in the Game: How coaching keeps leaders in schools and making progress.” The report analyzed a sample of school leaders in New York City and found that those who received leadership coaching for at least five years were more likely to remain in their school; had an improved ability to supervise staff, distribute leadership, communicate, and lead with resilience; and avoided complacency. The full report is here.

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