E-Update for April 22, 2016

E-Update for April 22, 2016


  • USED’s Negotiated Rulemaking Committee concluded its third and final meeting this week, considering regulations on the assessment and supplement, not supplant (SNS) provisions in Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Committee reached consensus on assessment regulations, which will be posted by USED for notice and comment in upcoming weeks. No consensus was reached on the SNS regulations.

U.S. Congress

House Education Committee Releases Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act: The House Education and the Workforce Committee released H.R. 5003, the “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act.” The child nutrition reauthorization bill relaxes some nutrition standards for school meals, slightly increases the reimbursement rate for school breakfast, and makes qualification rules for universal free meals more stringent for schools. The full bill is available here.
April 21, 2016


USED’s Negotiated Rulemaking Committee Reaches Consensus on Assessment Regulations: The U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) Negotiated Rulemaking Committee conducted its final session on April 18 and 19, where Committee members discussed topics pertaining to assessment and supplement, not supplant (SNS) provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The meeting concluded with consensus on the draft proposed assessment regulations and no consensus on SNS. The agreed-upon proposal for assessment regulations will be released in the Federal Register for public comment over the coming weeks.  USED will determine whether or not to move forward with proposed draft regulations on SNS, a topic that received significant debate during the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee sessions.  Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a statement expressing gratitude to the Committee for refusing to accept USED’s draft SNS regulation, which he said went against the law.
April 19, 2016

USED Invites Applications for Developmental i3 Grants: USED released a notice in the Federal Register inviting applications for new awards for the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3)’s Developmental Grants, which provide funding and support for the development or systematic testing of practices that are supported by evidence of promise or a strong theory. For this round of grants, USED includes five new absolute priorities from which applicants can select for the focus of their proposed projects: (1) student diversity, specifically inviting projects with ambitious strategies to improve outcomes for high-need students by increasing racial and socioeconomic diversity in classroom or school settings; (2) implementing and supporting the “transition to internationally benchmarked, college- and career-ready academic content standards and associated assessments;” (3) improving school climate; (4) influencing the development of non-cognitive factors in education; and (5) serving rural communities. The competition also includes a competitive preference priority for novice applicants – those who have not previously received an i3 grant.
April 22, 2016

USED Issues Guidance to Accreditors: USED Under Secretary Ted Mitchell issued a Dear Colleague letter to federally recognized accreditors notifying them that they may focus their reviews on higher-risk institutions and programs based on poor performance, size, volume of student aid, or other factors. Under Secretary Mitchell noted that the statute requires that “the accreditor must base its decisions on its published standards and have a ‘reasonable basis for determining that the information [it] relies on for making accrediting decisions is accurate’.” The guidance builds on USED’s executive actions aimed at improving accreditor oversight and focusing on student outcomes and transparency.
April 22, 2016

White House, USED, HHS, and Invest in US Promote STEM for Young Children: USED, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the White House, and Invest in US held an event to highlight the importance of promoting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning for young children.  The event highlighted various public- and private-sector groups that are working to promote STEM in early learning.
April 21, 2016

USED Reaches Settlement with Oklahoma City Public Schools Regarding Disproportionate Discipline of Black Students: USED announced a settlement between the Oklahoma City Public School district and USED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to address the disproportionate discipline of black students. OCR’s investigation found that black students were significantly overrepresented in the district’s disciplinary actions. The district was also found to have inconsistencies and a lack of clarity in its discipline practices.
April 20, 2016

USED Releases Case Studies Highlighting States and Districts Improving Assessment Systems: USED released a series of case studies of states and districts working to improve their assessment systems by administering fewer, fairer assessments. USED also called for comments on proposed priorities for applicants of the Enhanced Assessment Grant in the Federal Register, which awards states and consortia of states for improving state assessments. These actions build on the Administration’s efforts to promote the use of fewer and better assessments. The Federal Register notice is available here.
April 15, 2016

Secretary King Calls for Renewed Emphasis on Providing Students with a Well-Rounded Education: USED Secretary John King called for a renewed focus on a well-rounded education for students as states implement ESSA. “Strong literacy and math skills are surely necessary for success in college, careers and life – but they just as surely are not sufficient. Being a well-educated person and passionate about learning isn’t just about reading and computing well,” said Secretary King, a former social studies teacher. “It’s about being skilled and knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects, expert and passionate about a few, and confident in the quest for more knowledge.”
April 14, 2016


On April 27, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will host a webinar to release “The Nation’s Report Card: 2015 Mathematics and Reading at Grade 12.” The report examines U.S. 12th graders’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Register here.

New Legislation

H.R.5003 : To reauthorize child nutrition programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Rokita, Todd [IN-4] (introduced 4/20/2016)      Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce; House Budget

H.R.5016 : To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require the Secretary of Education to provide student borrowers with instruction in general principles of financial literacy through its online counseling tool, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Salmon, Matt [AZ-5] (introduced 4/20/2016)      Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce

H.R.5043 : To prohibit the Secretary of Agriculture from implementing certain proposed rules on establishing criteria for imposition of fines under child nutrition programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1] (introduced 4/21/2016)      Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce


Why Assessments Matter: In this report from America Achieves, teachers and principals share their thoughts on the importance of assessment data and offer ideas on how assessments can become better tools to improve instruction, foster communication, and advance equity.
April 12, 2016

Projection of Education Statistics to 2023: This report from the Institute for Education Sciences provides projections for key education statistics including enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools. The tables contain data for the past 14 years and projections to the year 2023.
April 14, 2016

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