E-Update for September 2, 2016
- On August 29, EducationCounsel updated its summary analysis of the U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) proposed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations to include an analysis of the proposed ESSA regulations on assessments and innovative assessment pilots. Comments on the proposed assessment regulations are due September 9.
- On August 31, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for implementation of ESSA’s provisions on supplement, not supplant and will be considering public comments before releasing final regulations. Comments are due 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.
- On September 1, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a final rule which revises the Head Start Performance Standards to improve program quality and expand the Head Start program.
- Congress will return from recess on September 6 and is expected to consider a Continuing Resolution (CR) to allow federal government operations beyond September 30.
Congress Returns from Recess Next Week: Congress returns from recess on September 6 and is expected to consider a CR during this congressional work period to allow federal government operations beyond September 30 (the end date for the CR has not yet been announced). House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) released a memo this week outlining the House’s September agenda, including consideration of a CR and legislation aligned to A Better Way, a reform agenda announced by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in June 2016.
September 6, 2016
Ranking Members Scott and Conyers Send Letter to GAO Requesting Data on School Discipline Disparities and Student Absenteeism: House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that the agency examine data on the disparities in school discipline practices and student absenteeism by school type. The Ranking Members noted the connection between school discipline disparities and chronic absenteeism, as well as the adverse effect that repeated suspensions have on students. They also expressed concern that minority students experience chronic absenteeism at disproportionately high rates.
August 29, 2016
Early Childhood Education:
HHS Releases Revised Head Start Performance Standards: HHS released a final rule which revises the Head Start program’s performance standards. The new standards, which were last revised in 1998, are aimed at improving program quality, reducing the burden on programs, and improving regulatory clarity and transparency. HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell explained, “The new standards strengthen educational practices and are based on the best research about how children learn and develop.” The new standards will also expand Head Start to ensure that nearly all children will have access to Head Start programs by 2021. The pre-publication Federal Register notice can be found here.
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) issued a joint statement on HHS’s final rule, expressing concerns regarding some of the final rule’s policies. The Chairmen stated, “We are committed to strengthening this program for families and taxpayers and will carefully review the rule to ensure it results in the kind of responsible support children and their families need.” The Chairmen’s joint statement is available here.
Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a statement applauding the revision of the Head Start Program Performance Standards, noting that the standards streamline Head Start program requirements and improve program quality. Ranking Member Murray stated, “I am glad that the Department of Health and Human Services has listened to stakeholders and developed a final rule that promotes family engagement, increases access to programming for homeless and foster children, and balances high standards with the flexibility necessary to meet the needs of local communities.” Ranking Member Murray’s statement is available here.
September 1, 2016
USED Releases NPRM on Supplement, Not Supplant: USED released a NPRM for implementation of ESSA’s provisions on supplement, not supplant. Supplement, not supplant provisions require that federal funds supplement, not supplant state and local funds. Following the closing of the public comment period, USED will consider the public comments and possibly make changes based on that feedback. It is expected that following this process, USED will issue final regulations likely before the end of the Obama Administration. Regarding the NPRM, USED Secretary King stated, “No single measure will erase generations of resource inequities, and there is much more work to do across states and districts to address additional resource inequities, but this is a concrete step forward to help level the playing field and ensure compliance with the law.” The pre-publication Federal Register notice can be found here.
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Kline released statements in response to USED’s proposed regulation on supplement, not supplant, which called the proposed rule unlawful and asserted its potential to upend state and local funding and collective bargaining agreements in many states. Chairman Alexander stated that the “proposed regulation would give Washington, D.C., control over state and local education dollars that it has never had before,” while Chairman Kline noted that as a result of the proposed rule, “America’s poorest neighborhoods will be hit the hardest as communities are forced to relocate teachers, raise taxes, or both.” Chairman Alexander’s statement is available here. Chairman Kline’s statement is available here.
Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Murray and House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Scott released a joint statement in support of USED’s proposed regulation for supplement, not supplant, noting that the proposed rule would ensure that Title I funds are used to supplement state and local investment in public education for underserved students. The Ranking Members stated, “we believe this proposal honors Congressional intent to empower local leaders with greater latitude in the expenditure of Title I funds to support high-need students.” The Ranking Members’ joint statement is available here.
August 31, 2016
USED Announces 7th Annual Back-to-School Bus Tour: USED’s 7th annual Back-to-School Bus Tour will take USED Secretary John King to 11 cities across the country to hold events highlighting the Administration’s key initiatives over the course of eight years and progress made to expand opportunity for students across the country. The theme of the bus tour is “Opportunity Across America” and the first event will be held on Monday, September 12, in Washington, DC.
September 1, 2016
USED Announces $2.5 Million in Grants for Community Parent Resource Centers: USED announced the awarding of $2.5 million in grants to operate 23 Community Parent Resource Centers in 17 states and Samoa, Micronesia, Guam, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau. The centers will provide parents with resources and training to work with professionals to meet early intervention needs for their students with disabilities. The centers primarily provide services to underserved families of children with disabilities and help these families work with state and local school systems to improve outcomes for their children.
August 31, 2016
USED and HHS Hold Roundtable on Enrolling Students in Health Care: USED and HHS called on states and districts to help students enroll in health care coverage during school registration processes at a roundtable discussion in conjunction with District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), and AASA, the School Superintendents Association. The roundtable highlighted best practices for getting more students enrolled in health care and discussed the effect of students’ health on their educational achievement. Secretary King noted that enrolling students in health care during school registration processes is a way for education and health officials to partner to ensure that all students are ready to learn.
August 31, 2016
USED Deputy Under Secretary Reed Writes About the Second Chance Pell Grant Program: USED Deputy Under Secretary Kim Hunter Reed wrote a Homeroom blog for USED about the importance of the Second Chance Pell Grant program and her experience seeing one of the education programs firsthand in a New York prison. The post notes that the Second Chance Pell Grant Program enrolls over 10,000 students, and is evaluating the impact of Pell Grants to help incarcerated men and women pursue a postsecondary education. The post also offers testimonials from students who have participated in Second Chance Pell Grant programs.
August 26, 2016
USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid Explains New FAFSA Changes: USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid wrote a blog post explaining two major changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process this year, as a result of USED policies issued on September 14, 2015. Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, students will be able to file the FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016, three months earlier than in previous years. Students will also be required to report income and tax info from an earlier tax year. The post outlines key dates and answers frequently asked questions to help students understand the new changes.
August 27, 2016
IES Releases Bibliography on Key Performance Indicators of Teacher Professional Learning Communities: USED’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released an annotated bibliography compiling valid and reliable measures of key performance indicators of teacher professional learning communities (PLCs). The bibliography is intended for researchers, practitioners, and education professionals who desire to engage in evidence-based planning, implementation, and evaluation of teacher PLCs. The bibliography provides a review and evaluation of each measure as well as an explanation of the measure’s ability to detect a variable’s change over time.
August 31, 2016
IES Releases Study on New Jersey’s Principal Evaluation System: IES’s Regional Education Laboratory Program (RELs) released a study on the measures used to evaluate New Jersey principals in the first year of statewide implementation of the state’s new principal evaluation system. The study found various strengths and weaknesses in the measures used to evaluate principals, including the findings that nearly all principals received effective or highly effective summative ratings and that several component ratings had low, negative correlations with student socioeconomic disadvantage.
August 30, 2016
IES Releases Report on Military Service Members’ and Veteran’s Postsecondary Enrollment: IES released a report examining military service members’ and veterans’ enrollment in undergraduate and graduate education, including their use of veterans’ education benefits before and after the Post-9/11 GI Bill was implemented. The report also compares military students’ and nonmilitary students’ enrollment patterns, demographics, disability status, and participation in online education. The report finds that military students’ enrollment in undergraduate education increased from 2007-08 to 2011-12 and that both undergraduate and graduate military students participated in online education at higher rates than their nonmilitary peers, among other findings.
August 30, 2016
IES Releases Reports on English Language Learners’ Progress in Utah and Nevada: IES released two reports examining the progress of three grade-level cohorts of English language learner students in Utah and Nevada. The studies describe the progress of the cohorts on the English language proficiency test and English language arts and math content assessments over five- and six-year periods. Both studies found that higher grade students who are eligible for special education services would need different supports than what they were receiving to be able to achieve even minimally in reading and math, among other findings. The Utah report is available here. The Nevada report is available here.
August 25, 2016
IES Releases Evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund: IES released an evaluation of the implementation and impacts of pay-for-performance after three years for teachers and principals in high-needs schools under the Teacher Incentive Fund, which is now named the Teacher and Leader Incentive Program. The evaluation reveals that many teachers did not understand that they were eligible for the bonus or underestimated how much they could earn through the performance-based compensation system. The evaluation also finds small, positive impacts on students’ reading and math achievement as a result of the compensation system.