E-Update for May 26, 2017

Highlights:

On May 24, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing entitled, “Empowering Students and Families to Make Informed Decisions on Higher Education.”
On May 24, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) held a hearing to examine the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 full budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education (USED) during which USED Secretary Betsy DeVos testified.
On May 23, President Trump released his full budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, which builds off the “skinny” budget proposal that was released in March 2017.

Congress:
House:
House Oversight Subcommittees Hold a Joint Hearing on Improper Student Aid Payments: The House Oversight Subcommittees on Government Operations and Intergovernmental Affairs held a joint hearing entitled, “Improper Payments in the Federal Government: Student Aid” to discuss the U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) process for accurately estimating improper payments and preventing future improper payments. Prior to the hearing, USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer James Runcie announced his resignation due to his concerns with […]

Read more...

E-Update for May 19, 2017

Highlights:

On May 17, the House Education and the Workforce Committee unanimously passed H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.”
On May 15, Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development Susan Davis (D-CA) launched the “Aim Higher” campaign to put forth higher education policy solutions to better support all students.
On May 17, the Washington Post reported that it had received a leaked copy of the full Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal for U.S. Department of Education (USED) that is set to be officially released next week on May 23rd. The leaked budget proposal includes new information that was not included in the FY2018 “Skinny” budget proposal that was released in March 2017.

Congress:
Democratic Members Introduce “Pell Grant Preservation & Expansion Act:” Rep. Susan Davis, Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee Patty Murray introduced […]

Read more...

E-Update for May 12, 2017

Highlights

On May 12, it was announced that all of seventeen Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated state plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for the spring deadline are ready for peer review.
On May 8, a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced H.R. 2401 and S. 1064, the “Anti-Lunch Shaming Act,” to prevent schools from discriminating against children who cannot pay for their school meals or have outstanding debt.
On May 10, USED Secretary DeVos gave the commencement speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a HBCU.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
Announcement of State ESSA Plans Ready for Peer Review: U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that all of seventeen ESSA consolidated state plans submitted to the Department for the spring deadline were determined to be complete and ready for peer review. The District of Columbia and the following 16 states submitted their plans by the spring deadline: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, North Dakota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont.
May 12, 2017
Congress:
Lawmakers Introduce “Anti-Lunch Shaming Act:” A bipartisan group of […]

Read more...

E-Update for May 5, 2017

Highlights

On May 4, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations bill by a vote of 79-18, after the bill was passed on May 3 by the House of Representatives by a vote of 309-118.
On May 4, the House passed the American Health Care Act by a vote of 217-213. The bill will now be considered in the Senate. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s statement regarding the bill can be found here.
On May 4, Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) introduced H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act” to create pathways to education and training for students interested in pursuing careers in high-demand industries and technical fields.

Congress:
Budget and Appropriations:
Congress Passes FY 2017 Omnibus Bill: The Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Consolidated Omnibus Appropriations bill passed the Senate by a vote of 79-18, after being passed by the House on May 3 by a vote of 309-118. The Omnibus bill provides discretionary funding for the federal government through September 30, 2017 and includes the following funding levels:

$180 million […]

Read more...

E-Update for April 28, 2017

Highlights:

Today, the House and Senate passed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to continue funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 until May 5, 2017. An omnibus appropriations bill is expected to be introduced early next week.
On April 27, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on “Strengthening Accreditation to Better Protect Students and Taxpayers.” The hearing focused on ways in which the accreditation process can be improved to ensure strong accountability for students and taxpayers.
On April 26, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) entitled, “Enforcing Statutory Prohibitions on Federal Control of Education,” which requires the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to review the Department’s K-12 regulatory policies over the next 300 days and ensure “strict compliance” with legislation passed by Congress relating to K-12 education and state and local control.

Congress:
Members of Congress Send Letter Urging USED Secretary DeVos to Reinstate Student Loan Protections: Over 130 members of Congress, including Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee […]

Read more...

E-Update for April 21, 2017

Highlights

Congress is on Easter recess until April 23 and will reconvene on April 24. When Congress returns, members will need to consider a bill to provide funding for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 as the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on April 28. A short-term CR may be required to allow time to consider a bill to continue funding.
On April 19, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for a case concerning a preschool learning center owned by the Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri. The case is said to have significant implications for school voucher programs.
On April 20, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos visited an early childhood center, elementary school, and high school in Van Wert, Ohio, with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
USED Holds Trainings for ESSA Peer Reviewers: USED held two trainings for peer reviewers who will be reviewing Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated state plans. The trainings were used to present the peer review criteria and provide information on the peer review process. The presentations […]

Read more...

E-Update for April 14, 2017

Highlights

Congress is on Easter recess until April 23 and will reconvene on April 24.
On April 10, the U.S. Department of Education’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education released a Dear Colleague Letter regarding ESSA implementation.
On April 11, USED Secretary DeVos sent a letter to Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer James Runcie announcing her decision to withdraw policy memos from the Obama Administration regarding the student loan servicing procurement process.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
USED Acting Assistant Secretary Releases ESSA Implementation Dear Colleague Letter: The U.S. Department of Education’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education released a Dear Colleague Letter regarding ESSA implementation. The letter specifically addresses the timeline for school support and improvement activities, including a state’s option to delay identification of schools for comprehensive and targeted support and improvement until the 2018-2019 school year, as well as a state’s options for identifying and supporting schools in the 2017-2018 school year without an approved ESSA state plan. The letter also clarifies the stakeholder consultation requirements for consolidated state plans, noting that states must meet the […]

Read more...

E-Update for April 7, 2017

Highlights:

Congress will be out of session for the Easter recess from April 8 to April 23 and will reconvene on April 24. When Congress returns, members will need to consider a bill to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 before the current CR expires on April 28.

April 3 was the initial deadline for states to submit consolidated state plans to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 10 states have submitted their plans thus far.

On April 4, the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved H.R. 1809, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017, which reauthorizes and makes changes to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act to assist state and local leaders in supporting at-risk youth and juvenile offenders.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
10 States Submit ESSA Plans for Review: The initial deadline for states to submit consolidated state plans to USED under ESSA was April 3. USED will have 120 days to review and approve or disapprove of the plans. Additional plans are also expected to […]

Read more...

E-Update for March 31, 2017

Highlights

On March 28, USED released guidance on the Peer Review Criteria for State Plans under ESSA. USED’s new peer review criteria are meant to: 1) support each state developing a consolidated state plan for the sections that will be peer reviewed; and 2) guide peer reviewers who will evaluate those sections.
On March 27, President Donald Trump signed two resolutions of disapproval of USED’s regulations on teacher preparation issues and ESSA’s accountability and state plans provisions under the Congressional Review Act. The resolutions are H.J. Res. 57 and H. J. Res 58, respectively. President Trump’s remarks can be found here.
On March 28, the Trump Administration proposed cuts in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 nondefense discretionary spending to offset increases in defense spending. Proposed cuts for USED include a $1.3 billion rescission in the Pell Grant surplus and a $1.2 billion (or ~50%) cut to Title II which supports teacher and principal quality.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
Secretary Devos Makes Remarks on The Brookings Institution’s Educational Choice and Competition Index: USED Secretary Betsy DeVos spoke at an event at The Brookings Institution regarding […]

Read more...

E-Update for March 24, 2017

Highlights

On March 23, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a unanimous decision in the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. The court ruled against the school district and in favor of students with disabilities.
This week, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy Devos and House and Senate Education Committee leaders addressed state education chiefs.On March 21, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing to discuss the complexities of the federal financial aid system, and how to improve it.

U.S. Congress & Administration
Congressional and Administration Officials Address State Chiefs: Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), and USED Secretary DeVos addressed chief state school officers to discuss President Trump’s FY2018 budget proposal. In his comments, Chairman Alexander emphasized his commitment to funding the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) Title IV Enhanced Academic Enrichment Grants. USED Secretary DeVos noted that President Trump’s FY2018 budget proposal would support underserved communities by increasing funding […]

Read more...