Making the Most of the Opportunity to Engage

One of the most common criticisms and downfalls of education reforms is that they feel like they are “done to” rather than “created by” the very communities they are intended to support.  Yet, at this very moment, we have a golden opportunity to raise the voices of teachers, leaders, parents, students, and their communities and meaningfully include their priorities in state and local planning for reform through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

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E-Update for February 13, 2017

Highlights

Last week, the U.S. Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos to be the U.S. Secretary of Education by a vote of 51-50. The Senate also confirmed Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to be U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services by a party-line vote of 52-47.
On February 7, the House passed two resolutions to allow for disapproval of the U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulation on accountability and state plans (J. Res 57) and USED’s regulation on teacher preparation issues (H.J. Res 58) under the Congressional Review Act.
On February 10, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos sent a letter to Chief State School Officers, confirming that the Department will maintain the current timeline for submitting ESSA state plans to the Department for review and approval in April and September.

U.S. Congress
Nominations:
Senate Confirms Besty DeVos to be U.S. Secretary of Education: The U.S. Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos to be the U.S. Secretary of Education by a vote of 51-50.  Republican Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) opposed the nomination resulting in a 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice […]

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E-Update for February 3, 2017

Highlights

On February 3, the Senate invoked cloture by a vote of 52-48 on the nomination of Betsy DeVos to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Education. The Senate is now debating the nomination for 30 hours following cloture being invoked with a vote likely on Tuesday.
On February 2, two resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) were introduced in the House related to the U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) regulations. The resolutions would disapprove of regulations on the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) accountability and state plan provisions and regulations on teacher preparation issues.
On February 1, the nomination of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) for U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) was reported to the full Senate by a vote of 14-0.

U.S. Congress
Nomination of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education Progresses: The Senate invoked cloture today by a vote of 52-48 on the nomination of Betsy DeVos to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Education. A simple majority was needed to invoke cloture. Under Senate Rules, the Senate is now debating the nomination for 30 hours […]

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E-Update for January 27, 2017

Highlights

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) is seeking individuals to serve as state plan peer reviewers as required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The multi-disciplinary peer review teams will consist of educators, state and local educational agency (SEA and LEA) personnel, and researchers. Applications are due today.
On January 26, DeVos sent a letter to Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) vowing to enforce the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
On January 24, Senate Democrats introduced a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which includes funding for school construction and modernization projects and reauthorizes the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds program.
During the week of January 22-28, advocates of school choice recognized National School Choice Week, highlighting school choice as a vehicle for providing parents with a diversity of education options for their children.

U.S. Congress
Legislative Outlook:
Congressional Republicans Discuss Legislative Agenda: House and Senate Republicans attended a retreat in Philadelphia to discuss their legislative agenda. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) outlined three major issues that Republicans are planning to act on this year: (1) a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act […]

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E-Update for January 13, 2017

Highlights

Both the House and Senate passed their FY2017 Budget Resolutions this week by a vote of 227-198 and 51-48, respectively. The budget resolutions in the House and Senate include reconciliation instructions for the repeal of Obamacare.
On January 10, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released a notice seeking state plan peer reviewers as required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
On January 5, USED Secretary John King released his cabinet exit memo which highlights the progress made by the outgoing Administration from preschool through college.

U.S. Congress
Confirmation Hearing for USED Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos Postponed: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a joint statement announcing the postponement of the confirmation hearing for USED Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos. The confirmation hearing will now take place on January 17 at 5:00 pm. More information and full webcast of the hearing will be available here.

Chairman Alexander released a statement in support of Secretary-designate DeVos, affirming his belief that DeVos will be confirmed quickly and will be a successful Secretary. Ranking Member Murray […]

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E-Update for December 16, 2016

Please note that this will be the final EducationCounsel E-update for 2016. Publication will resume on January 6, 2017.
Highlights

On December 9, the Continuing Resolution (CR) passed in the Senate by a vote of 63-36 and became law providing federal funding through April 28, 2017. A summary and section-by-section analysis of the Senate CR here. A summary of the House CR here.
On December 12, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released final regulations under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which address the significant disproportionality of children of color in special education and discipline.
On December 16, USED released final regulations on State Authorization of Postsecondary Distance Education programs. The final regulations clarify the State authorization requirements an institution must comply with in order to be eligible to participate in Title IV programs.
On December 12, USED Secretary John King sent a letter to the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) announcing that he will uphold the decision to terminate federal recognition of the for-profit accrediting agency. In conjunction with the decision, USED announced new provisions […]

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E-Update for December 9, 2016

Highlights

On December 7, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released final regulations on implementing the academic assessment requirements under Title I, Part A and the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority included in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
On December 8, the Continuing Resolution (CR) passed the House and could be voted on by the Senate today.
On December 6, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) released its 2015 results for science, reading, and math.

U.S. Congress
Rep. Bobby Scott Re-elected as Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee: House Education and the Workforce Committee Democrats re-elected Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) to serve as Ranking Member of the Committee. Ranking Member Scott released a statement noting that he looks forward to fighting for students and families across the country.
December 6, 2016
CR Passes the House: On December 6, the CR was released to provide federal funding after December 9. The CR would extend federal government funding through April 28, 2017, and includes an across the board cut at a rate of .1901%. On December 8, the CR passed the House by […]

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E-Update for December 2, 2016

Highlights

On November 23, President-elect Donald Trump selected American Federation for Children Chairwoman Betsy DeVos as his nominee for the next Secretary of Education and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) for the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.
On November 28, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) issued final regulations on accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
On November 30, USED announced that 18 states will receive over $247 million in awards under the Preschool Development Grant program to expand access to high-quality preschool.

U.S. Congress
Rep. Virginia Foxx Selected as House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman: Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) was selected as the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman for the 115th Congress. Upon the announcement, Rep. Foxx stated her commitment to advancing opportunities for students, workers, and employers.
December 2, 2016
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen Selected as House Appropriations Committee Chairman: Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) was selected to serve as the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for the 115th Congress. Current Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) congratulated Rep. Frelinghuysen, noting his 21 […]

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E-Update for November 18, 2016

Highlights

On November 17, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) announced that House and Senate leadership has agreed to begin working immediately on a Continuing Resolution (CR) at the current rate of funding to extend federal government operations through March 31, 2017.  The current CR expires on December 9.
On November 18, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released a report entitled, “Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education,” which includes data showing continuing educational opportunity gaps for students of color and low-income students in higher education.

U.S. Congress
House Takes Action Related to Regulatory Review: The House passed H.R. 5982, the “Midnight Rules Relief Act,” by a vote of 240 – 179. The bill would amend the Congressional Review Act to allow Congress to consider a joint resolution to disapprove multiple regulations at one time. Prior to passage, the House Republicans on the Education and the Workforce Committee issued a press release that specifically cited concerns with a Department of Labor overtime rule and Department of Education K-12 regulations that, “completely ignore the letter and intent of the law at the […]

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E-Update for November 11, 2016

Highlights

On November 8, Donald Trump was elected president. The website for President-elect Trump and information on his education priorities can be found here.
On November 7, House and Senate Republicans wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary John King urging the withdrawal of USED’s proposed supplement, not supplant regulation.
On November 4, USED sent its final State Authorization regulations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Final regulations will likely be released before the end of the Obama Administration.

U.S. Congress
Chairman Alexander Reflects on Implications for Education Regulations under a Trump Presidency: During a conversation with the Chattanooga Rotary in Tennessee, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said that he hoped “the president-elect would review the regulations on healthcare in addition to education and labor that President Obama has put out exceeding legal authority and either repeal them, not enforce them or change them.”
November 11, 2016
Representative Virginia Foxx Announces Decision to Run for Chairwoman of the House Education and Workforce Committee: Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) officially announced that she will run to […]

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