E-Update for the Week of December 23, 2019
Please note, that due to the holiday break, EducationCounsel will not publish the E-Update until January 9. For urgent updates during the holiday season, follow our Twitter account (@EdCounselDC).
- On December 20, President Donald Trump signed two minibus spending packages, which contain multiple bills, which fund the government through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2020. The final FY2020 Appropriations bill for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) includes a $1.3 billion increase over FY2019 (or 1.8 percent) for the U.S. Department of Education (USED), with the largest increases directed toward the core K-12 education programs of Title I (an increase of $450 million over FY2019) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants to states (an increase of $400 million over FY2019).
- On December 19, the White House announced the nomination of Sethuraman Panchanathan to serve as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF).
- On December 17, HHS announced a formalized partnership between the Office of Head Start, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the School Superintendents’ Association (AASA) to “improve the transition of Head Start children as they enter elementary school.
Budget & Appropriations:
Shutdown avoided, Congress, White House negotiate and finalize final FY2020 spending bills: President Donald Trump signed two minibus spending packages, which contain multiple bills, which fund the government through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2020. One of the spending packages provides FY2020 appropriations for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS). The final FY2020 Labor/HHS bill includes a $1.3 billion increase over FY2019 (or 1.8 percent) for the U.S. Department of Education (USED), with the largest increases directed toward the core K-12 education programs of Title I (an increase of $450 million over FY2019) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants to states (an increase of $400 million over FY2019).
Additionally, the final Labor/HHS bill includes an increase of $1.13 billion for the core early childhood education programs within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including a $550 million increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG), a $550 million increase for Head Start, and a $25 million increase for the Preschool Development Grants (PDG).
Beyond funding for the core K-12 education programs, the final FY2020 Labor/HHS bill includes increases for teacher professional development grants (Title II) which received a $76 million increase, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV) which received a $40 million increase, and Career and Technical Education State Grants which received a $20 million increase.
Additionally, the bill includes several increases for existing programs totaling $123 million to highlight support for social emotional learning (SEL) and “whole child” approaches to education. To support postsecondary students, the bill includes an increase of $150 for a total of $6,345 for the maximum Pell Grant, which is paid for by a rescission of $500 million from the Pell Grant surplus.
The text of the bill is here. The statement of the managers (report language) is here. A summary of the bill (as drafted by House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY)) is available here.
December 20, 2019
House Democrats outline 2019 accomplishments: House Education and Labor Committee Democrats published an outline of their “2019 Accomplishments.” The outline describes legislative accomplishments that support the expansion of “access to the building blocks of a strong middle class – a quality education, a rewarding job, and affordable health care.” Included in the outline, but not limited to, are the “FUTURE Act,” the “Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)”, the “Rebuild America’s Schools Act,” the “Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act,” the “Strength in Diversity Act,” the “School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act,” and the “College Affordability Act.” The full outline is here.
December 17, 2019
House Republicans call foul on Democrats’ Higher Education Act proposal: House Education and Labor Committee Republicans posted an article titled, “CBO: Democrats’ College #unAffordability Act Costs Billions.” The article discusses a recent score by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) of H.R.4674, the “College Affordability Act,” which is the House Democrats’ plan to comprehensively reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). CBO predicts that the bill would cost approximately $480 billion over ten years. “The CBO analysis of the Democrats’ higher education proposal tells the American people what we already knew. There is nothing affordable about the College Affordability Act,” stated the Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC). The full article is here.
December 16, 2019
White House nominates Arizona State University executive to direct National Science Foundation: On The White House announced the nomination of Sethuraman Panchanathan to serve as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Currently, Panchanathan serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Research and Innovation Officer at Arizona State University. The nomination announcement is here.
December 19, 2019
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED announces $155 million in hurricane, typhoon disaster relief aid: USED announced it will provide $155 million in federal aid for students and schools in the 13 states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands that have been impacted by hurricanes, typhoons, and other natural disasters over the last two years. According to the Department, funds will be able to be used for health and safety programs, replacing instructional materials, additional transportation costs, debris removal, and mold mitigation. “Through our various grant programs, we will continue to come alongside state and local leaders and assist in their efforts to rebuild, recover and allow the learning process to continue for students and educators who may still be dealing with the trauma of these difficult events,” stated the Secretary. A press release is here.
December 19, 2019
For IT modernization and security, USED receives A+ rating: USED announced it received an “A+” rating from the House Oversight Committee regarding the Department’s efforts to modernize and secure its information technology systems. The rating appears on the Committee’s December 2019 Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard. “Through our Chief Information Officer Jason Gray’s leadership, we have been able to reform our IT infrastructure to better and more efficiently serve students while at the same time, reducing costs to taxpayers,” stated USED Secretary DeVos. A press release is here.
December 16, 2019
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
Head Start, elementary principals, and district superintendents to partner on Head Start-Kindergarten transition improvements: HHS announced a formalized partnership between the Office of Head Start, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the School Superintendents’ Association (AASA) to “improve the transition of Head Start children as they enter elementary school.” The agreement, formalized through a memorandum of understanding (MOU), will focus on students participating in the Head Start public schools demonstration project; the promotion of “Bring a Principal to Head Start Month” in October; the sharing of National Head Start data; and the dissemination of resources which support collaboration between local elementary schools and Head Start programs. A press release is here.
December 17, 2019
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On December 19, the Heritage Foundation published a policy brief titled, “The College Affordability Act is Unaffordable.” The brief summarizes an analysis of the House Democratic proposal to reauthorize HEA. Key findings of the brief include identifying that students need relief from rising tuition; policymakers must address federal student loans and hold institutions accountable for quality and student outcomes; and that Congress should “cap, and then end” federal student loans, which would spur competition and expand opportunity. The full brief is here.
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- The House and Senate began the Winter Recess on December 20. The House will return to session on January 7, 2020. The Senate is expected to return on January 3, but votes are not expected until January 6, 2020. The House 2020 legislative calendar is here. The tentative Senate 2020 legislative calendar is here.
A bill to amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to require a study of the time and duration of school lunch periods, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA)
A bill to establish competitive Federal grants that will empower community colleges and minority-serving institutions to become incubators for infant and toddler child care talent, training, and access on their campuses and in their communities, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT)
A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to clarify that ASL students are English learners.
Sponsor: Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA)
A bill to establish a Congressional Advisory Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics to investigate the relationship between institutions of higher education and intercollegiate athletic programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL)
A bill to establish that a State-based education loan program is excluded from certain requirements relating to a preferred lender arrangement.
Sponsor: Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to establish fair and consistent eligibility requirements for graduate medical schools operating outside the United States and Canada.
Sponsor: Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)
A bill to develop voluntary guidelines for accessible postsecondary electronic instructional materials and related technologies, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
A bill to require that all institutions of higher education participating in student financial assistance programs under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 meet certain revenue requirements.
Sponsor: Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)
A bill to establish a competitive grant program to support out-of-school-time youth workforce readiness programs, providing employability skills development, career exploration, employment readiness training, mentoring, work-based learning, and workforce opportunities for eligible youth.
Sponsor: Senator Tina Smith (D-MN)