E-Update for August 11, 2017

E-Update for August 11, 2017


  • 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Register that USED is extending the comment period to provide input on existing regulations and guidance that could be repealed, replaced, or modified from August 21, 2017 to September 20, 2017.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 Plans: This week, Arizona, North Dakota, and Vermont received feedback on their ESSA state plans from USED Acting Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education Jason Botel. Additionally, on August 4, Maine and Michigan received their state plan feedback letters. Notably, USED determined that Michigan’s state plan did not include enough information to adequately review parts of the plan. The state will now have an opportunity to resubmit its plan based on this feedback. Colorado is the only state not to have received feedback on their plan.  Arizona feedback is available here, North Dakota feedback here, Vermont feedback here, Maine feedback here, and Michigan feedback here.
August 4, 2017


Democratic Members Send Letter to USED Secretary DeVos Regarding USED Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Position: A group of Democratic members, led by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos asking her to work with President Donald Trump to nominate a qualified individual for the position of USED Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. In the letter, the members also cite concerns about USED’s commitment to protecting students from discrimination.
August 8, 2017


Democratic Members Send Letter to USED Secretary DeVos Regarding Vacant USED Chief Enforcement Officer Position: Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos and USED Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer A. Wayne Johnson regarding their request for the Department to appoint a qualified, independent, and permanent Chief Enforcement Officer to protect students and to take aggressive action against institutions of higher education that have defrauded students. This position has been vacant since the previous officer resigned earlier this year.
August 9, 2017


Democratic Members Write to CDC Regarding Childhood Lead Poisoning Issues: House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), along with other Democratic members of the Committee, wrote to the Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requesting an update on the Childhood Lead Poisoning Program, CDC’s role in the Flint, MI response, and the federal investment in lead poisoning prevention and surveillance.
August 10, 2017

Notice Posted Regarding Consideration of Amendments to a House FY2018 Omnibus Bill: The House Rules Committee posted a notice alerting members of the Committee that it is expected that the amendment deadline for a House Republican-drafted Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus appropriations bill will be prior to the end of the August recess. The Omnibus bill is expected to be comprised of all 12 appropriations bills, including the FY2018 House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill.
August 7, 2017


U.S. Department of Education (USED):

Associated Press Publishes Interview with USED Secretary DeVos on Reported DoJ Affirmative Action Investigation: The Associated Press published an interview with USED Secretary DeVos, in which the Secretary addressed questions about the recent reports that the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) plans to conduct “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” According to the Associated Press, USED Secretary DeVos said, “her department was not involved in that process and added that this ‘has been a question for the courts and the courts have opined.’” Additionally, on August 9 Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting more information whether DoJ is hiring lawyers to work on a case concerning affirmative action. The letter is available here.
August 10, 2017

Politico Publishes Report on USED Closure of Civil Rights Complaints: Politico reported that USED has closed 1,533 civil rights complaints filed against our nation’s schools, following a directive to narrow the focus of investigations to the merits of a particular claim. Of the more than 1,500 complaints closed in the past two months, 915 complaints were dismissed outright, a 13 percent increase over the prior year.
August 10, 2017

USED Issues Technical Guidance on New IRS Data Retrieval Tool Security Measures: USED issued technical guidance for higher education institutions on how to address new security measures for the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which helps students to apply for federal aid. The tool is expected to be functioning by the time students must apply for the 2018-19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
August 7, 2017


NCES Releases Report on School Principals’ Characteristics: The Institute of Education Sciences’ National Center for Education Statistics released a First Look report titled, “Characteristics of Public Elementary and Secondary School Principals in the United States: Results From the 2015-16 National Teacher and Principal Survey.” Among other findings, the report states that the majority of public school principals in the 2015-2016 school year were White (78%), while 11% were Black and 8% were Hispanic.
August 8, 2017


A bill to amend part A of title IV of the Social Security Act to provide additional child care funding, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY)

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