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...

E-Update for March 17, 2017

Highlights

This E-Update includes information for the weeks of March 13 and 20.
On March 16, the Trump Administration released its first budget proposal, America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again. The budget proposal includes $59 billion for the U.S. Department of Education (USED) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and proposes additional funding for school choice programs.
On March 13, USED released a new template for states to use in submitting their ESSA consolidated plans for federal peer review and approval.
On March 8 and 9, the Senate passed resolutions to disapprove of two USED regulations under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The Senate passed H.J. Res 57, a resolution to disapprove of USED’s regulations on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)’s accountability and state plans provisions under the CRA by a vote of 50-49 and passed H.J. Res 58, a resolution to disapprove of USED’s regulations on teacher preparation issues under the CRA by a vote of 59-40.

U.S. Congress
Budget and Appropriations:
Trump Administration Releases Budget Proposal: The Trump Administration released its first budget proposal, America First: A Budget Blueprint to […]

Read more...

E-Update for March 3, 2017

Highlights

This E-Update includes information for the weeks of February 20th and 27th as we did not publish last week due to the Congressional recess.
On February 28, President Trump delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress, during which he stated that education is the civil rights issue of our time.
On February 28, President Trump issued an Executive Order establishing for his administration the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), which will now be housed in the Executive Office of the President.
On February 28, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing entitled, “Providing More Students a Pathway to Success by Strengthening Career and Technical Education.”
On February 23, the House Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee posted instructions for members to submit requests to the Subcommittee for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018.  The member deadline to submit requests to the Subcommittee is April 6.

U.S. Congress
Budget and Appropriations:
House Appropriations LHHS Subcommittee Holds Members’ Day: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) held […]

Read more...

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).

Read more...

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 […]

Read more...