E-Update for December 11, 2014

E-Update for December 11, 2014

E-Update for December 11, 2014


The Fiscal Year 2015 “CROmnibus,” which includes funding for the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, was introduced on December 9, 2014. The package is expected to receive a vote in the House and Senate on December 11, 2014, when current funding expires for the federal government.  For the most part, the bill holds education spending steady, but it does include an increase of $75 million for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program.  In addition, the bill includes a $25 million increase for the Title I program and a $25 million increase for Special Education Grants to States, while eliminating funding for the Race to the Top program.  Finally, the bill maintains funding for the Head Start program and Preschool Development Grants program.

Additionally, today the FCC held an open meeting on a number of subjects, including modernizing the E-rate Program for schools and libraries. The Commission considered a Second Report and Order on Reconsideration and a Report and Order to close the school and library connectivity gap by adjusting program rules and support levels in order to meet long-term program goals for high-speed connectivity to and within all eligible schools and libraries. Ultimately, the FCC voted to raise the E-Rate program’s $2.4 billion funding cap by $1.5 billion by a 3-2 party line vote. E-rate is now the third largest source of federal dollars flowing to schools.


On December 16, the Raben Group will host a policy breakfast with Jim Shelton, Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. Shelton will discuss his role at the Department and his work overseeing a broad range of management, policy, and program functions. The breakfast will run 8:30am-9:30am at 213 E. St. SW. To RSVP, call 202-466-8585.

On December 16, the Alliance for Excellent Education will host a Project 24 leadership series webinar, “Capacity Building through a Twenty-First-Century Collaborative.” The webinar will focus on Arizona’s Dysart Unified School District, which built a twenty-first-century collaborative network to support digital learning implementation. Panelists will provide an overview of Dysart’s twenty-first-century collaborative network, describing not only the critical components, but also how each component supports the goals of the initiative. The Dysart leadership team and the Alliance’s Tom Murray will take questions from webinar viewers and share ideas for transforming a school district’s professional learning model. The webinar will run 4pm-5pm. Register here.

U.S Department of Education

NY Education Commissioner John King to Join Education Department as Senior Advisor: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. will join the U.S. Department of Education as a senior advisor. King is expected to join the Department in early 2015 and will be delegated the roles and responsibilities of the Deputy Secretary, which includes managing the Department’s operations and overseeing implementation of major initiatives.
December 11, 2014

18 States Awarded New Preschool Development Grants to Increase Access to High-Quality Preschool Programs: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that 18 states have been awarded grants, totaling more than $226 million, under the Preschool Development Grants program. From the 36 applications the departments received, five states will be awarded development grants: Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana and Nevada. Thirteen will receive expansion grants: Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.
December 10, 2014

U.S. Department of Education Approves NCLB Flexibility Extension Request for Louisiana: The Obama Administration announced that Louisiana received a one-year extension for flexibility from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).These one-year extensions expire at the end of the current school year, and the Department is offering renewals to states that want to extend this flexibility and continue the progress they’ve seen in the last three years. The guidance for renewal requests can be found here.
December 8, 2014

Secretary Duncan, Attorney General Holder Announce Guidance Package on Providing Quality Education Services to America’s Confined Youth: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a Correctional Education Guidance Package aimed at helping states and local agencies strengthen the quality of education services provided to America’s estimated 60,000 young people in confinement every day.
December 8, 2014

New Legislation

H.R.5839 : To amend title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to establish a Federal “Grow Your Own Teacher” program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Israel, Steve [NY-3] (introduced 12/10/2014)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce
Latest Major Action: 12/10/2014 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

S.2993 : A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to improve the determination of cohort default rates and provide for enhanced civil penalties, and to authorize the establishment of an institutional risk-sharing commission.
Sponsor: Sen Murphy, Christopher S. [CT] (introduced 12/10/2014)
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Major Action: 12/10/2014 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.


Institute of Education Sciences Report: Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2013: U.S. Technical Report: This technical report is designed to provide researchers with an overview of the design and implementation of the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2013. This information is meant to supplement that presented in OECD publications by describing those aspects of TALIS 2013 that are unique to the United States.
December 9, 2014

Institute of Education Sciences Report: Review of Research on Student Nonenrollment and Chronic Absenteeism: A Report for the Pacific Region: This Regional Education Laboratory (REL) Pacific Region report summarizes research on nonenrollment and chronic absenteeism from the United States and emergent nations that share characteristics with Pacific island nations. Four types of factors influence student nonenrollment and absenteeism: student-specific, family-specific, school-specific, and community-specific. Many of these potential factors are interconnected, and the effects of these factors may vary by region. Therefore, educators, policymakers, and family and community members in the Pacific Region may need to gather additional data in order to explore these factors in their own communities. Stakeholders can also use this review to begin to identify the root causes for why students are not in school in order to develop and implement targeted strategies to support student enrollment and attendance.
December 8, 2014

Education Commission of the States Report: Third-grade reading policies: Spelling it out — policies directed at ensuring early reading success: This report provides statutory provisions on the identification of, intervention for, and retention of struggling readers in the preK-3 grades. The third-grade year is considered a pivotal point in a child’s educational career, as a critical shift in learning takes place — one where basic reading skills are established and can begin to be utilized for more complex learning. Key takeaways from this report include: 35 states plus the District of Columbia require a reading assessment in at least one grade, preK-3, with the primary purpose to identify reading deficiencies; 32 states plus D.C. require or recommend that districts offer some type of intervention or remediation for struggling readers for a P-3 grade; and 15 states plus D.C. require the retention of third-grade students who do not meet grade-level expectations in reading.
December 2014

The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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