E-Update for April 21, 2017
- 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 used during the trainings can be found here and here.
Senate Afterschool Caucus Holds Briefing on Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs: The Senate Afterschool Caucus, along with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Al Franken (D-MN), held a Congressional staff briefing entitled, “Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs: Preparing Young People for 21st Century Success.” As part of the briefing, the importance of after school programs was highlighted to emphasize the need to continue funding. In the FY 2018 “skinny” budget proposal, funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program would be eliminated.
April 21, 2017
President Trump Announces Nomination for USED Assistant Secretary of Education for Management: President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Holly Luong Ham as USED Assistant Secretary of Education for Management. Ms. Ham previously served as a special assistant to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos and as a sales executive at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
April 20, 2017
U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS):
SCOTUS Hears Arguments in Missouri Church Preschool Case: The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for a case concerning a preschool learning center owned by the Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Missouri, that applied for a state grant and was denied due to a state constitutional provision banning state funds from going “directly or indirectly” to religious groups. The church challenged the state’s decision, arguing that the state’s provision unfairly discriminates against those who are religious. The case is said to have significant implications for school voucher programs, since these types of state provisions are often seen as barriers to approving school voucher programs in which government funding is provided to schools run by religious organizations.
April 19, 2017
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Now Publishing College Accreditation Warnings: USED recently began publishing accreditation warnings online through a database entitled, “The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.” The database now indicates when a college’s accreditation is at risk.
USED Secretary DeVos Visits Ohio Schools With AFT President: 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. The visit focused on the city’s rural schools and included a roundtable discussion with community members. After the visit, USED Secretary DeVos noted that she and Randi Weingarten identified numerous areas of collaboration and stated, “I look forward to continuing the conversation around how we can best give all students an equal opportunity to a great education that serves their needs.”
April 20, 2017
USED Secretary DeVos Congratulates 2017 National Teacher of the Year: USED Secretary DeVos released a statement congratulating Sydney Chaffee for being named the 2017 National Teacher of the Year. Ms. Chaffee is a ninth grade humanities teacher at Codman Academy Charter Public School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. USED Secretary DeVos commended Ms. Chaffee for her enthusiasm and dedication to her students.
April 20, 2017
USED Announces SEED Grant Competition: USED published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the 2017 grant competition for the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program which “provides funding to increase the number of highly effective educators by supporting the implementation of evidence-based practices that prepare, develop, or enhance educators.” Applications are due June 19.
April 19, 2017
USED Releases STEM Education Material in Conjunction With President Trump’s Earth-to-Space Call: USED announced the release of “STEM on Station,” education materials that are intended to promote students’ engagement with STEM in the classroom. These materials are being released in conjunction with President Donald Trump’s Earth-to-space call on April 24 to congratulate NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson who will break the U.S. record for the most cumulative days in space.
April 19, 2017
GAO Releases Report on Disconnected Youth Pilot Programs: The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled, “Performance Partnerships: Agencies Need to Better Identify Resource Contributions to Sustain Disconnected Youth Pilot Programs and Data to Assess Pilot Results.” The report indicates that agencies involved in the Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth, including USED, should more adequately identify the staff resources and funding that will be used to sustain the pilot over time and should think more critically about if and how to scale the pilot program. Highlights from the report can be found here.
April 18, 2017
USED Secretary DeVos Comments on President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American Executive Order: USED Secretary Betsy DeVos released a statement regarding President Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order. In her statement, USED Secretary DeVos noted that the Administration “is committed to supporting and highlighting career and technical education,” and spoke about the importance of a well-educated workforce. The executive order can be found here.
April 18, 2017
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
CFPB Releases Fair Lending Report: CFPB released the “2016 Fair Lending Report,” which focuses on potential issues of discrimination associated with loan servicing companies, including those that deal with student loan debts. The report indicates that CFPB will look more closely at disparities in outcomes to determine if companies may be discriminating against borrowers based on race, ethnicity, gender, or age, making it more difficult for them to reach a solution regarding their debt issues.
April 11, 2017
- On April 26, the House Oversight Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs will hold a hearing on “Unfunded Mandates: Examining Federally Imposed Burdens on State and Local Government” at 10:00 am. More information can be found here.
- On April 26, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold a hearing on “Duplication, Waste, and Fraud in Federal Programs” at 10:00 am. More information is available here.
- On April 27, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Strengthening Accreditation to Better Protect Students and Taxpayers” at 10:00 am. More information can be found here.
Brookings Institution Releases Report on Effectiveness of Pre-K Programs: On Monday, the Brookings Institution released a new report titled “The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects.” The report contains a list of consensus statements from a task force comprised of interdisciplinary scientists who worked to answer questions about the effectiveness of pre-K programs.
April 17, 2017
REL Northwest Releases Guide on School Discipline Data Indicators: The Institute of Education Sciences’ Regional Education Lab (REL) Northwest released a guide for districts and schools on school discipline data indicators. The guide is intended to support practitioners in using data “to reduce disproportionate rates of suspension and expulsion based on race or ethnicity.”
April 14, 2017
REL Southeast Releases Report on Effects of Reading Interventions: The Institute of Education Sciences’ REL Southeast released a report on the evidence base supporting reading interventions in grades 1–3 to improve reading outcomes for students at risk of struggling with typical classroom reading instruction. The report found mostly positive or potentially positive effects in at least one area of reading performance.
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to extend the authority to provide work-study allowance for certain activities by individuals receiving educational assistance by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Sponsor: Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA)