Colleges must protect free speech, but not when students feel unsafe

The new academic year is now well upon us with the return of hundreds of thousands of students to college this fall. And it’s a time unlike any in recent memory. The nation’s political divide is stark and conspicuous on campuses across the country where protests centering on issues of race, religion and free speech are rampant.

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E-Update for September 29, 2017

Highlights:

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price offered his resignation earlier today, and President Trump has accepted.
On September 27, the Trump Administration, House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee released a unified framework for tax reform.
On September 25, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum on Creating Pathways to Jobs by Increasing Access to High-Quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education, directing the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to establish promotion of high-quality STEM education as one of the Department’s priorities.

Tax Reform:
Unified Framework for Tax Reform Released: The Trump Administration, House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee released a unified framework for tax reform. According to House Speaker Ryan (R-WI), the framework aims to, “deliver a 21st century tax code that is built for growth, supports middle-class families, defends our workers, protects our jobs, and puts America first.” A summary of the tax plan can be found here and the full framework can be found here.
While specific details of the plan related to changes to education tax policies have yet to be […]

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E-Update for September 22, 2017

Highlights:

On September 18, the remaining states who had not yet submitted their ESSA consolidated state plans sent their plans to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for approval.
On September 22, USED Secretary DeVos announced the decision to rescind a 2011 Dear Colleague letter and related Questions and Answers document providing guidance on how schools should handle investigations of campus sexual assault.
On September 19, 66 members of Congress sent a letter to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos criticizing her decision to suspend the implementation of the gainful employment rule.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
Remainder of ESSA State Plans Due to USED; MA ESSA Plan Approved: States that had not already submitted their ESSA consolidated state plans in spring 2017 for approval were required to submit their plans for approval to USED on September 18. As of today, state plans have been posted for the following states: Arkansas, California, Idaho, Ohio, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Posted plans can be found here. Additionally, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of Massachusetts’ ESSA consolidated state plan on September 21. In the announcement, […]

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E-Update for September 15, 2017

Highlights:

On September 14, the House voted to pass H.R. 3354, the “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act,” by a vote of 211-198.
On September 14, Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced H.R.3773/S.1806, the “Child Care for Working Families Act.”
This week, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos began her “Rethink School” tour in the West and Midwest to “showcase creative ways in which education leaders are meeting the needs of students in K-12 and higher education.” The tour involves visits to a number of different types of schools, including traditional public schools, charter schools, and community colleges, among others.

Budget & Appropriations:
Omnibus Bill Approved by the House: The House voted to pass H.R. 3354, the “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act,” by a vote of 211-198. This Omnibus bill combines the remaining House-drafted Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 bills into one bill. The bill as approved includes an overall three percent cut to the U.S. Department of Education […]

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E-Update for September 08, 2017

Please note, this week’s E-Update includes important updates from the week of August 28th.
Highlights:

On September 8, the House voted to pass H.R. 601 (115) to temporarily lift the country’s debt ceiling and deliver $15.25 billion in emergency aid to the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma by a vote of 316-90. The Senate passed the same legislation the previous day by a vote of 80-17. The bill also includes a Continuing Resolution to fund the government until December 8th.
On September 7, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a markup of the Fiscal Year (FY) 18 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) Appropriations bill. The Committee approved the Labor-H bill by a vote of 29-2.
On September 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration has decided to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was established under the Obama Administration.

Budget & Appropriations:
House Approves Bill Lifting Debt Ceiling and Providing Emergency Aid: The House voted to pass H.R. 601 (115) to temporarily lift the country’s debt ceiling and deliver $15.25 billion in emergency […]

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E-Update for August 25, 2017

Please note, we will not be publishing on Friday, September 1 due to Labor Day weekend.
Highlights:

Congress is currently on recess until Tuesday, September 5.
On August 24, U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced in the Federal Register that it will hold two public hearings regarding postsecondary education regulations that could be repealed, replaced, or modified.
Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member of the HELP Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) will hold two bipartisan hearings on health care in September.

Congress:
House and Senate Democrats Send Letter to Attorney General Sessions and USED Secretary DeVos Regarding Campus Racial Diversity: A group of House and Senate Democrats, including Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Patty Murray (D-WA), sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding a recent U.S. Department of Justice memo which demonstrated an intent to reevaluate the federal government’s process for ensuring racial diversity on college campuses. […]

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E-Update for August 18, 2017

Highlights

Congress is currently on recess until September 5.
On August 15, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of Connecticut and Louisiana’s ESSA consolidated state plans.
On August 17, USED announced that the Department has set a new deadline of October 6 for higher education institutions to file appeals of graduates’ earning data under the gainful employment rule. The submission date is now February 1.
On August 17, USED Secretary DeVos sent an internal memo to Department staff regarding the events in Charlottesville, VA. In the memo, USED Secretary DeVos reiterated the Department’s commitment to ensuring all students have a safe and high-quality learning environment free from discrimination.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
USED Takes Action on ESSA Consolidated State Plans: U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of Connecticut and Louisiana’s ESSA consolidated state plans. The press release is available here. Also this week, USED Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Jason Botel provided feedback on Colorado’s ESSA state plan. In the feedback letter, USED Acting Secretary Botel noted that the state needs […]

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E-Update for August 11, 2017

Highlights

On August 9, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico’s ESSA consolidated state plans.
Congress is currently on recess and will return on September 5.
On August 10, USED announced in the Federal Register that USED is extending the comment period to provide input on existing regulations and guidance that could be repealed, replaced, or modified from August 21, 2017 to September 20, 2017.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
USED Secretary DeVos Approves Three ESSA Consolidated State Plans: U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico’s ESSA consolidated state plans. Regarding the announcement, USED Secretary DeVos stated, “The efforts put into these plans by chief state school officers, governors and others is evident, and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with each of them as we work to expand and improve educational opportunities for all students.” The New Jersey determination letter is available here, New Mexico here, and Nevada here.
August 9, 2017
Several States Receive Feedback from USED on ESSA Consolidated State […]

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The Magic of College and Career Ready Approaches for Greater Equity, and 20 Ways to Advance Them through ESSA

Does the state set a clear “North Star” of the full array of college and career ready knowledge and skills through rigorous standards, goals, and high quality assessments? Does the state have multiple accountability measures, data reporting, and deeper diagnostic review processes that surface fuller college and career ready knowledge and skills, informed by things like performance assessments and portfolios across many subject areas, school climate measures, and accelerated coursework? Do the state’s school improvement strategies and direct student services priorities foster, for each and every student, the full range of college and career readiness and opportunities for them to direct and personalize their own learning?

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