E-Update for the Week of December 16, 2019
- On December 12, the White House held a summit on child care and paid leave. The event, which was focused on how child care and paid leave can support American workers, included Ivanka Trump, an adviser to the president. Following the event, the White House published a fact sheet titled, “President Donald J. Trump is Committed to Supporting Working Families,” which outlines how the administration is supporting efforts to make child care more affordable and accessible.
- On December 10, the Collaborative for Student Success and Education Week hosted an event titled, “Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA] Four Year Anniversary Summit.” The event featured Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) as they discussed how ESSA was negotiated and eventually signed into law four years ago this month. Neither Congressman expected the law to be reauthorized in the near future.
- On December 10, the House and Senate passed an amended version of the “FUTURE Act.” The bill would permanently reauthorize mandatory funding for minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), which previously expired on September 30. The bill will now be sent to President Donald Trump for his signature, which is expected.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
ESSA not being reauthorized any time soon, says Alexander, Scott: The Collaborative for Student Success and Education Week hosted an event titled, “Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA] Four Year Anniversary Summit.” The event featured Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) as they discussed how ESSA was negotiated and eventually signed into law four years ago this month. During the event both Chairman Alexander and Chairman Scott expressed that ESSA’s bipartisan nature was largely the result of significant stakeholder investment in reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) so that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) could be fixed. When asked about what changes they would like to see in a future reauthorization law or its current implementation, Chairman Alexander expressed he wished more states would take advantage of the flexibility provided with the Innovative Assessments Pilot program. The Innovative Assessments Pilot allows a select number of states to experiment with new academic assessment models, methods, and administrations in a subset of school districts prior to scaling statewide. Chairman Scott expressed that he has been disappointed in the Department’s oversight of state implementation of the law, especially in the lack of guidance or regulations. Neither Congressman expected the law to be reauthorized in the near future.
December 10, 2019
Congress passes HBCU funding bill, President likely to sign bill: The House and Senate passed an amended version of the “FUTURE Act.” The bill would permanently reauthorize mandatory funding for minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), which previously expired on September 30. The bill also includes provisions of the FAFSA Act, which provides for easier communication between the U.S. Department of Education (USED) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) so that taxpayer information could be more easily shared and verified for students applying for federal financial aid or for those applying for income-driven repayment plans. The inclusion of the FAFSA Act provisions creates a pay-for for the permanent funding for HBCUs and MSIs. The Senate previously passed a version of the bill last week. The House then passed an adjusted version of that bill this week, which the Senate subsequently adopted. The bill will now be sent to President Donald Trump for his signature, which is expected. A statement from Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is here. A statement from Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) is here. A statement from House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here.
December 10, 2019
HELP Committee advances CAPTA, child care staff background check bill: The Senate HELP Committee held a full committee markup of S.2971, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) Reauthorization Act of 2019, and S.2683, the Child Care Protection Improvement Act of 2019. The latter bill establishes a task force to assist states in implementing background check requirements for child care staff. Both bills were reported favorably out of Committee. The Committee also considered bills related to health care and workforce issues. During the markup, HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) expressed his pride in the work that the Committee has completed in 2019. “So far the Committee has passed 13 bills, three of which have become law – I anticipate there will be more before the year is over,” stated the Chairman. A press release from Chairman Alexander is here. A statement from Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) is here.
December 12, 2019
DeVos faces Education Committee on issues related to borrower defense: The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing today, titled, “Examining the Education Department’s Implementation of Borrower Defense.” The hearing featured testimony by U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos, who was joined by Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) Chief Operating Officer Mark Brown. During the hearing, Democrats attempted to push the Secretary on a) why borrower defense claims have not been processed since 2018; b) why the Department is proposing to offer full and partial relief, instead of just full relief; and c) how she would respond to a recently published NPR story, which referenced two internal USED memos from January 2017 regarding recommendations that all Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute students deserve full relief under borrower defense due to findings that the institutions misrepresented and made false or misleading claims to students. Republicans, on the contrary, attempted to justify the proposed methodology from the Department that would determine loan relief based on a statistical analysis of a claimant’s financial harm compared to similar institutional earnings data. The proposed methodology uses data from the College Scorecard, the Social Security Administration, 2017 gainful employment data, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data. The proposed methodology would go into effect in July 2020. A recording of the hearing is here. The opening statement from Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here. The opening statement from Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is here. The written testimony of Secretary DeVos is here. Tweets sent from the Secretary’s account in advance of the hearing are here.
December 12, 2019
Trump discusses commitment to American worker, child care expansion at White House summit: The White House held a summit on child care and paid leave. The event, which was focused on how child care and paid leave can support American workers, included Ivanka Trump, an adviser to the president. During the event, the president remarked, “With more women working today than ever before, we now have a historic opportunity to enact long-overdue reforms. It’s time to pass Paid Family Leave and expand access to quality.” Following the event, the White House published a fact sheet titled, “President Donald J. Trump is Committed to Supporting Working Families,” which outlines how the administration is supporting efforts to make child care more affordable and accessible. A transcript of the event is here. The fact sheet is here.
December 12, 2019
Trump on education choice, ‘a national priority’: The White House held a roundtable event focused on “empowering families with education choice.” The event centered around state efforts to provide private school choice to families and students and featured USED Secretary Betsy DeVos’s Education Freedom Scholarships proposal. “[T]oday we gather to discuss the urgent national priority that we’ve been working on so long and so hard: expanding education freedom through school choice so that every American child can get a great education,” stated the President during the event. Joining the president at the event were Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary DeVos, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). A transcript of the event is here. A tweet from the White House is here.
December 9, 2019
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
DeVos publishes new borrower defense methodology for loan relief determination: USED Secretary DeVos announced that the Department has developed a new methodology for determining student loan relief under the borrower defense to repayment regulations. The methodology will compare claimants’ earnings data compared to earnings data of graduates from similar institutions or programs to determine how much financial harm has been inflicted upon the borrower due to fraudulent or misrepresented programs. “We cannot tolerate fraud in higher education, nor can we tolerate furiously giving away taxpayer money to those who have submitted a false claim or aren’t eligible for relief. This new methodology treats students fairly and ensures that taxpayers who did not go to college or who faithfully paid off their student loans do not shoulder student loan costs for those who didn’t suffer harm,” stated the Secretary. The new methodology will provide full relief, partial relief, or no relief based on the earnings comparison. A press release is here. A statement from House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here. A statement from Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) is here.
December 10, 2019
USED proposes changes to TEACH grants, religious liberty protections for higher education students: USED published in the Federal Register a notice of a proposed rule related to TEACH grants and to “ensure religious liberty is protected for faith-based higher education institutions and their students.” The proposed changes to TEACH grants, according to the Department, address the issue with TEACH grants improperly converting to loans and recognize the contributions of elementary school educators. Further, the proposed rule allows for greater access to Title IV student aid programs and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program for individuals who participate in religious-based volunteering efforts. A press release is here. The notice is here.
December 10, 2019
Publications (Congressional and Administration):
- On December 10, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a score on the potential fiscal impact of H.R.4674, the “College Affordability Act (CAA).” The CAA is the House Democrats’ proposal to comprehensively reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). According to the score, the bill will cost an estimated $331.9 billion over the next ten years in new mandatory spending and would cost $148.9 billion in discretionary spending over the next five years. The full cost estimate is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On December 10, the Fordham Institute published a report titled, “The Supplemental Curriculum Bazaar: Is What’s Online Any Good?” The report summarizes an analysis of curricular materials available online through sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers, ReadWriteThink, and Share My Lesson. The study intended to determine the level of quality of these materials. Key findings of the report include identifying that quality of text-based curricular content is good to excellent; that the materials are generally free of errors and well designed; that overall most of the materials were rated as “mediocre” or “probably not worth using;” and that materials are weakly to moderately aligned with the standards to which they claim alignment. The full report is here.
- On December 10, FutureEd published a report titled, “Walking a Fine Line: School Climate Surveys in State ESSA Plans.” The report summarizes an analysis of states’ use of school climate surveys and how those related to accountability measures for school climate and engagement. Key findings of the report include identifying that eight states have included school climate or engagement surveys as part of their accountability systems; that most states assign a low weight in the accountability rubric for survey results; and an additional five states are either publicly reporting the results of the surveys or requiring their use in schools identified for improvement. The full report is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On December 17 at 4:00 pm, the Institute for Student Achievement will hold an event titled, “Social, Emotional, and Academic Development: Maze Moment.” The webinar will discuss how one lesson in New York City about the reality that learning does not take a linear path can be applied to supporting social, emotional, and academic development in schools and districts. More information and registration are here.
A bill to reauthorize mandatory funding programs for historically Black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC)
A bill to provide for secure disclosure of tax-return information to carry out the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
A bill to clarify that employees of safety net health plans are eligible for loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Sponsor: Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)
A bill to provide that the Secretary of Education may not issue or enforce certain rules that weaken the enforcement of the prohibition of sex discrimination applicable under title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Sponsor: Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI)
A bill to amend title II of the Higher Education Act of 1965 with respect to partnership grants for the establishment of rural teaching residency programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL)
A bill to authorize demonstration projects to improve educational and housing outcomes for children.
Sponsor: Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to strengthen Federal-State partnerships in postsecondary education.
Sponsor: Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)