E-Update for the Week of October 22, 2018

Highlights:

On October 17, President Donald Trump, in comments during a Cabinet meeting, instructed all secretaries to cut five percent from their budgets for fiscal year (FY) 2020. “Whether it’s a secretary, an administrator, whatever, I’m going to ask everybody with a 5-percent cut for our next meeting. I think you’ll all be able to do it.”
On October 17, USED published in the Federal Register its Unified Agenda for Fall 2018. The publication included multiple proposed regulation changes, including those regarding significant disproportionality, minority serving institutions, Charter School Grants, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and Title IX.
On October 16, a federal judge ruled against a for-profit college association effectively ending all efforts to block implementation of the Obama-era borrower defense rule. The rule would allow for students, who have been defrauded by their college or professional school, to seek loan forgiveness.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
Four more states interested in Innovative Assessment pilot: Education Week reported that four states have indicated interest in participating in the Innovative Assessment pilot. Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, and South Carolina “signaled […]

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E-Update for the Week of October 15, 2018

Highlights:

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.

Congress:
Senate:
On October 11, the Senate went into recess for legislative business until November 13 following the mid-term elections.
Murray, Brown […]

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E-Update for the Week of October 8, 2018

Highlights:

On October 2, USED Secretary DeVos announced New Hampshire is the second state to receive approval for its participation in the Innovative Assessments pilot, as allowed under ESSA.
On October 3, USED announced it will miss the November 1 deadline to rewrite the borrower defense to repayment and gainful employment rules. By missing the deadline, the Department will not be able to implement any changes to the rules until July 2020.
On September 28, POLITICO reported that Diane Auer Jones, Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Postsecondary Education, recommended that Secretary DeVos grant a one-year extension of the federal approval for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). However, since the announcement, other major accreditation organizations have claimed ACICS does not meet the “widely accepted” standard in order to receive federal approval.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
New Hampshire approved for Innovative Assessments pilot: USED Secretary DeVos announced New Hampshire is the second state to receive approval for its participation in the Innovative Assessments pilot, as allowed under ESSA. New Hampshire will use its Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) system […]

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E-Update for the Week of October 1, 2018

Highlights:

On September 26, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos announced she approved the Florida ESSA state plan. Florida’s plan had to undergo significant revisions after it initially submitted its plan to the Department. With Florida’s plan now approved, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have been approved by the Secretary.
On September 28, President Donald Trump signed the fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations minibus (a combination of 2-3 bills) for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Defense-Labor/HHS). By signing the bill, the President averted a partial government shutdown that would have gone into effect midnight September 30, as the appropriations package includes a continuing resolution for all agencies that have yet to be funded.
On September 25, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full committee hearing titled, “Every Student Succeeds Act: States Leading The Way.” The hearing featured three state education chiefs and one education reform organization leader. Democratic members were focused on state plans monitoring subgroup performance, as well as […]

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E-Update for the Week of September 24, 2018

Highlights:

On September 18, the Senate adopted the fiscal year (FY) 2019 final conference report for the appropriations minibus (a combination of 2-3 bills) for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Defense-Labor/HHS). The Senate adopted the report by a vote of 93-7. The House is expected to consider the report when they return from recess the week September 25.
On September 17, in recognition of Constitution Day, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) all delivered remarks at events on the topic of the first amendment. All three discussed the importance of free speech on college campuses and called for the preservation of spaces to express diverse opinions and perspectives.
On September 19, USED released new data regarding the current claims submitted under the borrower defense rule. As of June 30, there were approximately 106,000 claims pending review by the Department. Thus far, the Department has approved 47,942 applications for loan discharges, but those applications also […]

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E-Update for the Week of September 17, 2018

Highlights:

On September 25 at 10:00 am, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a full committee hearing titled, “The Every Student Succeeds Act: States Leading the Way.” It is expected the hearing will focus on implementation of ESSA at the state level. Witnesses include state education chiefs from Nebraska, Delaware, and South Carolina, as well as a representative from Democrats for Education Reform.
On September 13, the conference committee for the fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations minibus (a combination of 2-3 bills) for the Department of Defense and the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Defense-Labor/HHS) released its committee report. Attached to the bill is a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will extend federal funding through December 7 for bills not passed by the end of the fiscal year on September 30. It is expected the Senate will vote on the package this week, with the House considering the package when they return from recess the week of September 24.
On September 7, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and […]

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E-Update for the Week of September 10, 2018

Highlights:

The House and Senate have begun negotiations on the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Appropriations Bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS). According to House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the conference negotiators, including Republican negotiators, support adopting the Senate’s total allocation of $179.3 billion, which is $2.2 billion more than the House version. The package is expected to be considered after the House finalizes its work on the Military Construction-VA, Energy-Water, and Legislative Branch minibus.
On September 5, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development hearing titled, “On-The-Job: Rebuilding the Workforce Through Apprenticeships.” The Subcommittee focused on how the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) has supported work-based learning, including on-the-job education and apprenticeships.
On September 5, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos delivered remarks at a meeting of G20 Education Ministers in Mendoza, Argentina. In her remarks, the Secretary described the relationship between the economy and education, and how a “dynamic and changing economy requires dynamic and […]

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E-Update for the Week of September 4, 2018

Highlights:

Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), in addition to 43 Senate Democrats, sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos urging her to not consider allowing federal funds to be used to purchase guns for school personnel. Additionally, on August 28, House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and 172 House Democrats also sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos with the same request.
The New York Times reported USED is proposing new rules in regards to on-campus sexual misconduct. The Department has not officially released any rules or regulations, nor has the Department commented on the article. Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) have already denounced the proposed changes.
The Senate confirmed the nomination of Lynn Johnson to serve as U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Family Support. Johnson was confirmed with a vote of 67-28.

Congress:
Senate, House Democrats Urge DeVos to Reject Requests for […]

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E-Update for the Week of August 27, 2018

Highlights:

An appropriations minibus (a combination of 2-3 bills), including the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Senate Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Bill and the FY2019 Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) passed the Senate by a vote of 85-7.
The New York Times reported U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering issuing guidance on allowing for federal grants to be used to purchase guns for teachers and school personnel.
USED released a notice that it is rescinding regulations pertaining to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which, according to the Department, were either outdated or superseded due to changes made through the reauthorization process.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
USED Rescinds ESSA Regulations Department Claims Outdated:  USED released a notice that it is rescinding regulations pertaining to ESSA. The regulations rescinded, according to the Department, were either outdated or superseded due to changes made in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), or programs had been defunded. Regarding Title I, the regulations that the Department rescinded are: Disaggregation of Data; State Accountability […]

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E-Update for the Week of August 20, 2018

Highlights:

Last week, the Senate began consideration of an appropriations minibus (a combination of 2-3 bills), including the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Senate Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Bill and the FY2019 Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Bill. Amendments to the package will begin to be considered this week.
On August 16, the Federal Commission on School Safety held its fifth meeting, with a focus on school building security, active shooter training for schools, and practitioner experience with school-based threat assessment. All four members of the Commission were in attendance at the meeting. During the meeting, US. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the commission will hold its last field visit in Las Vegas, Nevada, this week and will visit the Miley Achievement Center.
On August 16, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing titled “Oversight of Efforts to Protect Unaccompanied Alien Children from Human Trafficking and Abuse.” Additionally, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing […]

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