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...

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 […]

Read more...

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 […]

Read more...