E-Update for the Week of July 22, 2019

Highlights:

This week, the White House and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated they have made significant progress on finalizing a budget caps and debt ceiling deal. On July 18, U.S. Department of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, who has been leading negotiations on behalf of the White House, stated he and the Speaker had reached an initial agreement on the budget caps but still need to finalize a plan for offsetting the increase in spending.
On July 17, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced that Secretary Betsy DeVos approved plans by Georgia and North Carolina to participate in the innovative assessments pilot program during the 2019-2020 school year. Louisiana and New Hampshire are the only other states which have been granted permission to use the pilot.
On July 17, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education and the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment held a joint-hearing titled, “Educating our Educators: How Federal Policy Can Better Support Teachers and School Leaders.” Both Democrats and Republicans were focused on what needs to […]

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E-Update for the Week of July 15, 2019

Highlights:

On July 11, the Senate confirmed Robert King as U.S. Department of Education (USED) Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. The Senate confirmed King with a 56-37 vote, with seven members not voting.
On July 11, President Donald Trump announced he would no longer be pursuing the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The president had previously been exploring options to add the question to the Census after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that his attempts were not justified and ordered lower courts to reconsider the addition. Instead of including a question on the Census, the president issued an Executive Order requiring all federal departments and agencies to provide the U.S. Department of Commerce all requested records regarding the number of citizens and non-citizens in the United States.
On July 2, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos arguing that the Department has the legal obligation to provide special education services to immigrant children currently being held in custody at the southern United States border.

Budget and Appropriations:
Impending debt […]

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E-Update for the Week of July 8, 2019

Highlights:

On July 2, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) published in the Federal Register a notice of a final rule regarding technical changes to Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). According to the executive summary, the final rule makes only technical changes to existing regulations to align them with the statutory changes from when ESSA was adopted. However, one additional change included in the published rule is the finalization of the Department’s decision to no longer enforce the restriction from religious organizations serving as contract providers of equitable services.
On July 1, USED announced that states are officially implementing their Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V) one-year transition plans. The Department has reviewed and approved plans from every state, according to the release.
On June 28, USED published in the Federal Register a final rule regarding the Obama-era gainful employment regulation. The regulation previously required for-profit colleges and career programs to demonstrate their graduates were able to acquire “gainful employment” after graduation, meaning they would be able to earn a salary that allows them to pay […]

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E-Update for the Week of July 1, 2019

Highlights:

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court released an opinion on Department of Commerce et al. v. New York et al., which revolved around the administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the administration does have the authority to add such a question; however, the administration failed to adequately explain the purpose of adding the question.
On June 25, USED Secretary DeVos delivered remarks to the Tulsa Community College Second Chance Commencement ceremony in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During her remarks, the Secretary stated, “You are why we propose the Second Chance Pell experiment or “pilot” be made permanent,” indicating the administration intends to permanently maintain the program.
On June 25, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), an office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced a collaboration between twelve school systems to improve coordination between Head Start service providers and their local elementary schools. The intention is to improve coordination to improve preparation for children entering kindergarten.

Budget and Appropriations:
McConnell pumps brakes on Shelby’s […]

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E-Update for the Week of June 24, 2019

Highlights:

On June 20, USED published final guidance on the Every Student Succeeds Act “supplement, not supplant” school funding provision. The statutory requirement compels school districts and states to ensure that federal funds are not used in place of state and local funds, but instead are used in addition to federal funding. The Department previously released draft guidance on the provision, outlining how states can illustrate their funding formulas comply with the statute.
On June 19, the House passed the fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations minibus (a package of multiple bills) on a partisan vote of 226-203. The minibus contained the appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, amongst others. There were hundreds of floor amendments that were considered on the package before a final vote, resulting in only minor changes to the U.S. Department of Education (USED).
On June 19, the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing titled, “Innovation to Improve Equity: Exploring High-Quality Pathways to a College Degree.” The hearing was the Committee’s fifth and final bipartisan hearing on […]

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E-Update for the Week of June 17, 2019

Highlights:

This week, the House considered on the floor H.R.2740, the “Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020.” The minibus (a package of multiple bills) is composed of four spending bills, including those for the Departments of Defense, Energy, State, and Related Agencies. The House began consideration of the minibus on June 12 and has voted on several amendments, with only a few pertaining to education funding. The House will continue voting on amendments next week, starting Tuesday, June 18.
On June 13, POLITICO reported that during a conversation with the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Ben Hobbs, a special assistant to the president on the White House Domestic Policy Council, described that the Trump Administration is exploring how to ensure research grants are able to be accessed by colleges and universities located within opportunity zones.
On June 11, USED published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking on regulations regarding college accreditation. The language within the proposed rule is based on that which was reached […]

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E-Update for the Week of June 7, 2019

Highlights: 

On June 5, the House Appropriations Committee announced the full House will be considering a five-bill minibus (a collection of multiple bills) beginning on June 12. The minibus will contain appropriations bills for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, State and Foreign Operations, Energy, Water Development, and the Legislative Branch. While some amendments may be considered on the House floor, it is unlikely any amendments will pass that will reduce funding overall for the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.
On June 5, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S.1732, the “College Admissions Fairness Act.” The bill, which is in response to the recent college admission scandals, would strengthen tax code quid pro quo protections and would require that institutions establish a policy that prevents the consideration of a family’s donation into admission decisions. Without such a policy, colleges and universities would be limited to family donations of $100,000 over a six-year period.
On June 5, POLITICO published a series of documents related to USED’s deliberations in advance of proposing a regulation regarding […]

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E-Update for the Week of June 3, 2019

Highlights:

On May 31, POLITICO reported that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been holding a series of meetings with advocacy groups related to the Obama era gainful employment rule. The rule, which USED is planning on rescinding, would limit or cease federal funding to career colleges and for-profit schools that cannot demonstrate their graduates are able to attain “gainful employment” based on their ability to pay back student loans with the salaries of their new employment.
On May 30, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) posted a floor update for the week of June 10. In the update, the Majority Leader announced that the House would begin consideration of fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills starting June 12. The order in which the bills would be considered was not included.
On May 30, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding the Committee’s attempts to investigate the Department’s previous attempt to remove Acting Inspector General Sandra Bruce. The Members argue that […]

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E-Update for the Week of May 28, 2019

Highlights:

On May 23, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) published in the Federal Register its Unified Agenda for Spring 2019. The publication included multiple proposed regulation changes, including a proposed rulemaking for the Obama era significant disproportionality rule. This was previously delayed by the Department, until a federal court ordered USED to immediately implement the rule ensuring that students of color are not under- or over-identified for special education services.
On May 21, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) met with Trump administration officials to discuss a potential deal on overall spending levels. Congressional leaders met with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, and acting Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought. After a day full of negotiations, no budget deal was reached but it is expected the group will meet again to continue discussions.
On May 20, USED published in the Federal Register a notice that the […]

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The Role of Student Experience in Postsecondary Completion

The Mindset Scholars Network in cooperation with
EducationCounsel and the Raikes Foundation invite you to a briefing on:
The Role of Student Experience in Postsecondary Completion
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Russell Senate Office Building, SR-385
With only about half of all students who enroll in postsecondary education completing a degree, institutions and policymakers are seeking evidence-based ways to improve college completion and advance equity. Leading researchers Claude Steele, Stanford professor and author of Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us, Mary Murphy of Indiana University, Greg Walton of Stanford University, and Lisa Quay of the Mindset Scholars Network are engaged in efforts to better understand how students’ experiences impacts their persistence and completion and are developing evidence-based actions institutions can take to support postsecondary completion.
Read the Full PDF.

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