E-Update for the Week of July 9, 2018

Highlights

On June 29, the U.S. Department of Education announced on the Federal Register that the Department would delay, for two years, the Equity in IDEA/Significant Disproportionality Rules until July 1, 2020. The regulations address disproportionate identification, placement, and disciplinary treatment of students of color in special education. The Federal Register notice is here.
On July 2, the USED Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan for Oklahoma. Press release from Secretary DeVos is here. Press release from the Oklahoma Department of Education is here.
On July 3, the New York Times reported that USED is rescinding Obama-era policy guidance and illustrations on affirmative action admission decisions for colleges and universities. The full New York Times article is here. A joint USED and Department of Justice letter is here. Statement by the American Council on Education (ACE) is here.

ESSA
USED Approves Oklahoma ESSA State Plan: USED Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of the ESSA state plan for Oklahoma. The Secretary stated, “I am pleased to approve Oklahoma’s plan, which complies with the requirements of the law. I encourage states to use their plans as a starting point, rather than […]

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E-Update for the Week of June 25, 2018

Highlights:

On June 26, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriation Subcommittee conducted a markup of its fiscal year (FY) 2019 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill. Bill is here and report is here.
On June 26, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee reported out a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the nomination of Scott Stump to be Assistant Secretary of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education (USED). More information here.
On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled in the Janus v. AFSCME case that public-sector unions may not charge non-members mandatory fees. The case was decided 5-4.

Budget & Appropriations:
House Appropriations Committees Postpones Consideration of the FY2019 House Labor/HHS Bill: The House Appropriations Committee announced it was again postponing the markup of the FY2019 House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations bill. There has been no announcement as to when this markup will be rescheduled, but it will most likely be sometime after the July 4th recess. […]

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E-Update for the Week of June 18, 2018

Highlights:

This update includes information for the period of June 19 through June 22, 2018.
On June 20, the Senate rejected by a vote of 48-50, a motion to discharge from the Appropriations Committee a bill based on the White House’s budget rescissions package.
On June 21, the White House announced President Trump’s plan to reform and reorganize the federal government, including merging the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor into a single agency.
On June 21, the House took up two immigration bills but no progress was made on either. The more conservative bill — H.R. 4760, the “Securing America’s Future Act” — was defeated by a vote of 193-231, while a vote on a “compromise bill” — H.R. 6136, the “Border Security and Immigration Reform Act” — was delayed.

Budget & Appropriations:
House Budget Committee Approves FY2019 Budget Resolution: On June 21, the House Budget Committee approved along a party-line vote of 21-13 its FY2019 Budget Resolution titled, “Budget for a Brighter American Future.” The proposed plan expects $8.1 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years. The budget also provides instructions to […]

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E-Update for June 8 through June 19, 2018

Highlights:

On June 14, the House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee released the fiscal year (FY) 2019 House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations bill. The bill was approved by the Subcommittee along party lines on June 15 and will receive full committee consideration on June 26 (full committee markup was originally scheduled for June 20, but was postponed).
On June 13, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing titled, “The Power of Charter Schools: Promoting Opportunity for America’s Students.”
On June 15, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released a notice announcing that the Department will allow additional time, until July 1, 2019, for institutions to comply with certain disclosure requirements under the gainful employment regulations.

Budget & Appropriations:
House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Releases FY2019 Appropriations Bill: The House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee released the FY2019 House Labor/HHS Appropriations bill. The overall allocation for the FY2019 House Labor/HHS bill across the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education is $177.1 billion, which is the same as the FY2018 level.  The FY2019 House Labor/HHS bill provides […]

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OPINION: Is this the way to transform struggling rural schools?

Originally posted May 24, 2018 at The Hechinger Report.
When students understand what and why they are learning
While serving as U.S. Secretary of Education in the 1990s and early 2000s, and previously as Governor of South Carolina for eight years, I saw the devastating impact of under-funded and under-resourced rural schools, especially in high-poverty communities.
Unfortunately, at least for some children in the South, those conditions haven’t changed much.
That’s one of the reasons a different approach to teaching and learning caught my attention several years ago. My visit to New Tech High School in Napa County, California, during the 2008-09 academic year was the start of an important journey for me that eventually would have an impact on students in my home state and beyond.
Read the full post at The Hechinger Report.

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E-Update for the Weeks of April 16, 23, and 30, 2018

Highlights:

On May 3, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos approved the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated state plans of South Carolina and Virginia. Eleven ESSA state plans remain to be approved.
On May 2, President Trump delivered remarks at the National Teacher of the Year Reception. Prior to the reception, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos and U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta held a listening session with the finalists and winner of the National Teacher of the Year award.
On May 2, USED published a blog post requesting public comments to inform a grant competition for the new $10 million Statewide Family Engagement Centers program included in the FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill. Comments should be submitted by 5:00 pm on May 11.
On April 24, USED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released the 2015-16 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which collects data on key education and civil rights issues in our nation’s public schools.
Grant applications are now available for the Education Innovation and Research Program (early phase, mid-phase, and expansion notices), Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program (notice), and Supporting Effective […]

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Are we EQUIPped to spend billions on (yet) unproven programs?

April 17, 2018
Nathan Arnold
In the 1940s, Russia developed a prototype of a new military advancement called the Antonov A-40. It was an ambitious, seemingly innovative leap forward that would provide battlefield support and overwhelming, agile deployment. It was also, quite literally, a flying tank. For reasons that seem obvious in retrospect—weight and inefficient transportation chief among them—it was not functional in practice and thankfully never produced at wide scale. However, the lessons learned regarding its design ultimately provided beneficial advances to future military developments.
Federal lawmakers would be wise to heed the lesson that all ideas—particularly those with billions of dollars at stake—should not be rushed into wide-scale production. Many of them seem eager to open the $130 billion per year of taxpayer funding to new ways of providing higher education instruction without any assurance that these programs provide quality outcomes to their students. It’s still too early to tell if these innovative models will turn out to be the Antonov A-40 or the (significantly more effective) Chinook helicopter of higher education, but it’s not hard to see the potential […]

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E-Update for the Weeks of April 2 and April 9, 2018

Highlights:

On April 10, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), or the “Nation’s Report Card” was released. The report provides results for the nation, states, and 27 urban school districts for assessments in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics.
On April 11-12, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute conducted a summit to assess the American education landscape in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the seminal report: “A Nation at Risk.”
On April 10, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) titled, “Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility.” The Executive Order orders Secretaries of various federal agencies to review their public assistance programs and guidance documents and to strengthen existing work requirements.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Released: The 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), or the “Nation’s Report Card” was released. The report provides results for the nation, states, and 27 urban school districts for assessments in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics. Findings from the report include 37% of fourth-graders and 36% of eighth-graders scored at […]

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E-Update for March 30, 2018

Highlights:

This E-Update covers the period of March 19 through March 30, 2018.
This week, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos approved Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) consolidated state plans Texas, Idaho, Mississippi, and Rhode Island. USED has approved plans for 37 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico thus far. Thirteen state plans remain to be approved. The press release is available here.
On March 28, the first meeting of the Federal Commission on School Safety was held. The meeting followed the March For Our Lives held in Washington, D.C., earlier in the week.
On March 23, the Omnibus Appropriations bill finalizing funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 was released. The bill sets funding levels for key early learning and education programs for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Key School Safety Meetings and Announcements

On March 28, the first meeting of the recently formed Federal Commission on School Safety, which USED Secretary has DeVos has been appointed to chair, was held in Washington, D.C., during which members discussed “the scope of the Commission’s work, timeline, locations for meetings and topics for field […]

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E-Update for March 19, 2018

Highlights

This E-Update covers the period of March 12 through March 16.
The House and Senate Appropriations Committees continue work to negotiate a final Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill prior to the current expiration of federal funding on March 23. It is expected that a bill could be released as early as this evening.
On March 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee held an oversight hearing titled, “See Something, Say Something: Oversight of the Parkland Shooting and Legislative Proposals to Improve School Safety.” Florida Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) testified at the hearing.
On March 14, the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 407-10, H.R. 4909, the “STOP School Violence Act of 2018,” which will support evidence-based violence prevention programs (companion bill is sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch – S. 2495). The bill was endorsed by the White House and U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos.
On March 12, the White House unveiled its school safety proposal in response to the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Trump Administration also announced the creation […]

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