E-Update for the Week of December 6, 2021
- On December 2, the House and Senate passed an additional Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend federal funding at current levels through February 18, 2022.
- On December 2, USED launched the Evidence-Based Interventions: Using American Rescue Plan Resources to Accelerate Learning Community of Practicewith the National Comprehensive Center.
- On November 24, the Biden Administration announced the nomination of Shalanda Young to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Congress continues negotiations on Build Back Better, Republicans remain opposed to $1.7 trillion package: Democrats are continuing efforts to seek to advance the Build Back Better Act – a $1.7 trillion social spending package – in the Senate prior to the end of December; however, this date, which was set as a goal by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), could slip. As the package stems from a process known as budget reconciliation which allows passage by a simple majority in the Senate, Democrats are attempting to pass the bill on a partisan basis and are not expecting Republican support. Given this, Republican members of the House and Senate remain steadfast in their opposition to the bill and are increasingly raising vocal opposition to the bill. This also means that Democratic leadership must take the time to negotiate with moderate Democratic Senators to craft a package that can garner the support of all Democratic Senators. Additionally, the Senate process is currently stalled with the package undergoing review by the Senate Parliamentarian to ensure that provisions have a budgetary impact, as required for budget reconciliation legislation, which could result in some provisions being removed from the bill. Once the package is ready for floor action, the full Senate will need to consider amendments to the bill before sending an amended version back to the House for approval. The result is that this process could take several more weeks and possibly months.
Week of November 29, 2021
Congress finalizes short-term funding stop-gap with passage of second Continuing Resolution: The House and Senate passed an additional Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend federal funding at current levels through February 18, 2022. The CR was subsequently signed by President Biden on December 3, which is the date that federal funding was set to expire. This marks the second CR approved by Congress following the end of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 on September 30. Negotiations on funding levels for FY2022 have been at a standstill as Democratic and Republican Appropriations Committee leaders have yet to agree on overall spending levels for FY2022, including levels for defense and non-defense spending. Additionally, Members much reach an agreement on whether to maintain or add new policy riders. Regarding the latest CR and the outlook for the FY2022 appropriations process, Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) released the following statement, “I have said many times that work can only begin if we agree to start FY22 where we finished FY21. That means maintaining legacy riders, eliminating poison pills, and getting serious about the funding we are going to provide for our nation’s defense. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll be having this same conversation in February.” Senator Shelby’s statement is here.
December 2, 2021
Bruce confirmed as USED Inspector General: The Senate confirmed Sandra Bruce as the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Education (USED). Sandra Bruce joined the USED Office of Inspector General (OIG) in 2014 as Deputy Inspector General and has been leading the office since 2018. Following her confirmation, USED Secretary Miquel Cardona stated, “Sandra will be an asset in the continued promotion of efficiency, effectiveness, and economy in all Department programs and resources. I look forward to her continued work to advance our mission in service of students, educators, and families across the country.” Press release is here.
December 3, 2021
Biden announces nomination of Young to serve as Director of OMB: The Biden Administration announced the nomination of Shalanda Young to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Young has served as Acting Director of OMB since being confirmed as Deputy Director by the Senate in a bipartisan 63-37 vote on March 23, 2021. Previously, Young served as Clerk and Staff Director for the House Appropriations Committee. Additionally, the Biden Administration announced the nomination of Nani Coloretti to be Deputy Director of OMB. She is currently a Senior Vice President at the Urban Institute. Coloretti’s federal government service includes serving previously as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Assistant Secretary for Management and Acting Chief Financial Officer of U.S. Department of the Treasury and Acting Chief Operating Officer of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Press release is here.
November 24, 2021
Coronavirus Updates (as related to education):
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
Department launches new learning communities focused on accelerating student learning: USED launched the Evidence-Based Interventions: Using American Rescue Plan Resources to Accelerate Learning Community of Practice with the National Comprehensive Center. This community of practice will work with states and communities in accelerating learning using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding. Participants will explore different evidence-based strategies to accelerate learning and build their organizational capacity to support districts and schools in implementing these practices with fidelity, using the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for evidence-based interventions, such as high-dosage tutoring and expanded learning time. The Department is also launching the Toward an Equitable Education and Recovery: Transforming Kindergarten Community of Practice in partnership with the Campaign for Grade Level Reading and the Department’s T4PA Center, among other partners. This community of practice will engage a cohort of state and district teams to share best practices, policies, and initiatives that will allow the kindergarten year to become a more effective path to early school success and learning recovery, especially for those children who have been historically underserved and most adversely affected by the ongoing pandemic. Press release is here.
December 2, 2021
Approval of Washington’s ARP ESSER plan brings total to 47 states receiving final greenlight: USED announced the approval of Washington’s state plan detailing the proposed use of ARP ESSER funding. The top priorities for Washington include the use of funds to support student and staff well-being, improve student engagement and attendance, and accelerate learning opportunities for students. Earlier this year, the Department distributed two-thirds of the ARP ESSER funds to 50 states and the District of Columbia. To receive, the remaining third of the funding states are required to submit their state plans to the Department for approval. With this most recent approval, 47 states, including the District of Columbia, have now received both tranches of their ARP ESSER fund allocations. The remaining states will receive their full funding once the Department approves their state plans. Press release and fact sheet on Washington’s state plan are here and here, respectively. The full list of state plans is here.
November 24, 2021
Foxx publishes opinion article urging against school closures in light of new COVID variant: The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a letter from House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) expressing that shutting schools down should be the exception, not the rule. The letter was in response to a recent Op-Ed titled, “School Closures Aren’t Just for Covid Anymore,” which called attention to the return of the use of remote learning by certain school districts to address a variety of issues, including some issues stemming from past school closures due to COVID-19. In the letter, Foxx states, “Administrators using school shutdowns as a panacea need to re-evaluate their priorities…It is time to reopen the schoolhouse doors and commit to keeping them open—even when teachers face challenges, administrators are frustrated and students are not on their best behavior.” Representative Foxx’s letter is here. The WSJ Op-Ed titled, “School Closures Aren’t Just for Covid Anymore” is here (subscription required).
December 3, 2021
White House re-establishes National Space Council, installs Secretary Cardona as member: President Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) on the National Space Council. The National Space Council advises and assists the President regarding national space policy and strategy. This order sets forth the Council’s membership, which includes the U.S. Secretary of Education. The EO is here.
December 1, 2021
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
Department announces plan for new Negotiated Rulemaking Committee: USED released an unofficial notice announcing the Department’s plan to establish a Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Institutional and Programmatic Eligibility. The upcoming committee meetings focused on accountability will address the following topics: 90/10 rule; Ability to Benefit; certification procedures for participation in Title IV (student aid); change of ownership and change in control of institutions of higher education (IHEs); financial responsibility for participating IHEs; gainful employment; and standards of administrative capability. The Institutional and Programmatic Eligibility Negotiated Rulemaking Committee will meet for three sessions on the following dates: January 18-21, 2022, February 14-18, 2022, and March 14-18, 2022. Additionally, the notice seeks nominations to the Committee, which must be received within seven days of the upcoming date of official publication of the notice. The notice is here. Nominations for negotiators will be able to be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 3, 2021
Citing decreased completion, FSA COO Cordray urges states to consider making FAFSA completion mandatory for all students: The 2021 Virtual Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference (FSATC) for Financial Aid Professionals featuring keynote addresses from USED Secretary Cardona, USED Under Secretary James Kvaal, and FSA’s Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray. According to Politico, Cordray called attention in his remarks to the decline in the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). “This is a serious problem for all of us,” Cordray said, adding that one way conference attendees can help is by pushing “state officials — both legislators and education officials — to change state law so that it mandates FAFSA completion as a requirement for high school graduation.” During Kvaal’s remarks, he expressed concern about the decline in college enrollment this year. Kvaal said, the decline “raises the specter that we could see a permanent dent on our country’s educational attainment,” according to Politico. Politico articles are here and here (subscription required). Sessions can be viewed here until March 2, 2022. Agenda is here. Power Points for conference sessions are here.
November 30 through December 2, 2021
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
HHS restarts religious exemption request reviews: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the agency was reestablishing the practice of evaluating religious exemptions and modifications of program requirements on a case-by-case basis, as needed. This was in response to actions taken under the Trump Administration that granted three states – South Carolina, Texas, and Michigan – along with certain child welfare agencies in those states, exemptions from program nondiscrimination requirements based on religious objections. In a statement, HHS noted, “HHS will not condone the blanket use of religious exemptions against any person or blank checks to allow discrimination against any persons, importantly including LGBTQ+ persons in taxpayer-funded programs.” Press release is here. Statement from House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here.
November 18, 2021
Consumer Financial Protection Board:
CFPB seeking public comment on draft strategic plan: The Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) issued a notice requesting feedback on the draft CFPB Strategic Plan for FY2022-2026. The CFPB is required to publish a new strategic plan that communicates the Bureau’s mission, strategic goals, and objectives for the next four years. Comments will be accepted until January 3, 2022 at CFPB_Strategy@cfpb.gov. The draft strategic plan is here.
December 2, 2021
Foxx, Fulcher call on USED to restore CRDC questions on staff sexual assault allegations: House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee Ranking Member Russ Fulcher (R-ID) sent a letter to USED Secretary Cardona expressing concerns with the proposed removal of data reporting requirements regarding sexual assault allegations against school staff from the 2021-2022 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). In the letter, the Members write, “Parents deserve to know if administrators and local officials are ignoring allegations of sexual assault by staff against students. The only way for parents to get this information is if school districts are required to report it.” The purpose of the CRDC is to obtain vital data related to the civil rights laws’ requirement that public local educational agencies (LEAs) and elementary and secondary schools provide equal educational opportunity. Comments are currently being accepted until January 18, 2022, on the proposed changes to the 2021-2022 CRDC. Press release is here. Letter is here. Federal Register notice on proposed CRDC changes is here.
December 3, 2021
House Ed and Labor Committee explores priorities of Corporation for National and Community Service: The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing to examine the policies and priorities of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). During the hearing, CNCS Inspector General Deborah Jeffrey testified that improving financial management within CNCS must be an urgent priority noting that financial statements of AmeriCorps and the National Service Trust continue to not be auditable, with pervasive and persistent material weaknesses. Additionally, the Inspector General identified that modernizing legacy information technology for AmeriCorps is essential. One highlight for AmeriCorps has been the development of a new grant risk model, “far more sophisticated and data-driven,” that is now in use, according to the Inspector General. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) expressed during the hearing that, “Despite the importance of the agency and its record of bipartisan support, AmeriCorps is facing serious challenges that must be addressed for this agency to reach its full potential.” While House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx stated, “We are here today because AmeriCorps, formerly known as the Corporation for National and Community Service, has failed yet another audit. After holding numerous oversight hearings on the fiscal state of AmeriCorps, it is time to admit that this is a failed experiment. AmeriCorps has been given years to get its act together but has failed to fix its systemic failures.” More information, including an opening statement by Representative Scott, witness testimony, and a recording, is here. Representative Foxx’s opening statement is here.
December 1, 2021
Foxx, Brady call on HHS to explain delays in approving state child care funding plans: House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) sent a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra expressing concerns with the Department’s delay in the approval state Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) plans for FY2022-2024. In the letter, the Members state, “States have more child care money than they know what do with, but because of your inaction and delay many child care providers still haven’t seen a dime of what Congress passed in March…Due to your inaction, HHS has failed in its duty to approve state plans that would make an immediate impact on the availability of child care.” State CCDF Plans are required to be updated every three years by states to ensure they will provide high-quality child care services to eligible families in accordance with CCDF law and regulations. The Members request an explanation for the delay and timeline for approval of CCDF state plans, as well as a description of how the Biden Administration is monitoring state compliance with Child Care Stabilization and other COVID-relief funds while states operate under expired plans. Press release is here. Letter is here.
November 30, 2021
Latest from EducationCounsel:
- Sean Worley and Scott Palmer, in partnership with Policy Studies Associates and the Wallace Foundation, published a new resource for district leaders to evaluate what federal funding sources could be used to support aligned, comprehensive principal pipelines. “Strong pipelines, Strong Principals: A guide for leveraging federal sources to fund principal pipelines,” summarizes an analysis of 14 different federal programs and their potential uses to support principal pipeline activities. The resource can also be found here.
Upcoming Events (Congress and Administration):
- The legislative schedule for calendar year 2022 for the House of Representatives has been released. Press release is here. Calendar is here. One pager is here.
- On December 6-10, the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Affordability and Student Loans will meet for a third session. This Committee is currently meeting to address issues that include borrower defense to repayment; closed school, false certification, and total and permanent disability federal student loan discharges; income-driven repayment; Public Service Loan Forgiveness; pre-dispute arbitration and required class action waivers; interest capitalization; and Pell Grants for people who are enrolled in prison education programs. More information is here, including materials distributed by the negotiators prior to the third session. Registration is
- On December 8 at 11:00 am, the House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth will hold a hearing on “Growing our Economy by Investing in Families: How Supporting Family Caregiving Expands Economic Opportunity and Benefits All Americans.” Melissa Boteach, Vice President for Income Security and Child Care/Early Learning, National Women’s Law Center, and Elliot Haspel, Early-Childhood Policy Expert, and Program Officer, Education Policy and Research, Robins Foundation, among other witnesses, will testify. More information on the hearing is here.
- On December 8 at 2:30 pm, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Protecting Kids Online: Instagram and Reforms for Young Users.”Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, will testify. More information on the hearing is here.
- On December 9 at 2:00 pm, USED’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) will hold an event titled, “IES Listen & Learn Session: Leveraging Black Voices in Education Research.” The event will provide an overview of IES funding opportunities, followed by a discussion on leveraging Black voices in education. More information and registration are here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On December 7 at 2:00 pm, the Alliance for Early Success (AES), in partnership with the Hunt Institute, will hold an event titled, “Early Efforts: 2021’s Big Wins for Little Kids.” The event will mark AES’ launch of its annual 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Policy, and will feature a discussion spotlighting this year’s significant reforms in early childhood education, health, governance, equity and child care access/quality. More information and registration are
- On December 8 at 2:30 pm, New America and the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA) will hold an event titled, “PAYA Network Learning Session: Integrating Youth Apprenticeship into Traditional College Pathways.” The event will explore models of youth apprenticeship development and expansion that leverage existing postsecondary pathway initiatives. More information and registration are here.
- On December 9 at 3:00 pm, the Brookings Institution will hold an event titled, “From COVID-19 to Culture Wars: The Growing Hostility of Education Politics.” The event will feature a discussion on the politics of education, where panelists will discuss recent events and what they mean for students, schools, and society, as well as how education might factor into the 2022 elections. More information and registration are here.
Publications (Congress and Administration):
- On November 30, Regional Educational Laboratory West, within IES, published a report titled, “Education and Career Planning in High School: A National Study of School and Student Characteristics and College-Going Behaviors.” The report found that high school students who developed a college or career plan with help from a teacher or parent and who reviewed the plan at school at least once a year were more likely to engage in several college-going behaviors. Key findings include identifying that most public high schools nationwide required students to develop an education and/or career plan; that most students developed an education and/or career plan in the fall of ninth grade, but fewer received support from an adult to do so; but that developing an education and/or career plan in ninth grade alone, without adult support or yearly reviews, was not associated with submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, completing a college preparatory curriculum, applying to college, or enrolling in college. The full report is here.
- On November 29, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report titled “K-12 Education: Students’ Experiences with Bullying, Hate Speech, Hate Crimes, and Victimization in Schools.” The report examined the prevalence and nature of hostile behaviors in K-12 schools, as well as the presence of school-based practices and practices to address the issue. Key findings include identifying that about one in five students aged 12 to 18 were bullied annually in each school year since 2014; that about one in four of all students aged 12 to 18 saw hate words or symbols written in their schools; and that nearly every school used programs or practices to address hostile behaviors. The full report is here.
- On November 23, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis titled, “Economic Effects of Expanding Subsidized Child Care and Providing Universal Preschool.” The analysis examines the impact of early childhood education (ECE) provisions in the Build Back Better Act on lower and higher income families, as well as the child care workforce. Key findings include identifying that if subsidies were expanded and preschool was universally provided, child care providers and preschools would hire more workers and boost wages; that some parents would work more and some would work less; and that on average, parents’ employment would probably increase slightly under both programs. The full report is here.
- Recently, the U.S. Treasury Department published a report titled, “Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds – Early Reporting Highlights.” The report includes selected highlights of how state and local governments have chosen to use their State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, as provided by ARP. Notable highlights include the state of Delaware using at least $80 million to provide universal broadband across the state; several cities, counties, and state governments – including Seattle, Washington, Orange County, Florida, New Jersey, and San Diego County, California – noted they will use funds to support their child care sectors; and several governments noted they will use their funds to support summer and afterschool programming, such as Minnesota creating a summer preschool program, Maryland using funds to provide tutoring and supplemental instruction for students in grades 4 through 12, and the city of Columbus, Ohio will use over $9 million to support a Youth Programming Initiative focused on providing social and recreational opportunities for youth in the city. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On December 2, the Center for American Progress released a report titled, “The Build Back Better Act Substantially Expands Child Care Assistance.” The report found that once fully implemented, “Across all states, the law would subsidize child care for more than 13 million children younger than age 6. This is equivalent to a sixteenfold increase in child care assistance, with some states reaching more than 25 times as many young children as under the [Child Care and Development Block Grant].” The report also noted that, “Under current law, only 1 in 9 subsidy-eligible children actually receive child care assistance.” The full report is here.
- On December 1, Chiefs for Change and the Data Quality Campaign published a report titled, “It’s Time to Make Linked Data Work for K–12 Leaders.” The report examined the need for K-12 education leaders to have data about the postsecondary and workforce outcomes of former students, also known as pathways data. Key findings include identifying that K–12 leaders are eager for a more complete, longer-term understanding of former students’ postsecondary and workforce outcomes; that state and local K–12 leaders want data that is de-identified, student level, and longitudinal; and incomplete or unavaliable pathways data is a frequent obstacle cited by education leaders. The full report is here.
- On December 1, New America published a report titled, “The Representation of Social Groups in U. S. Educational Materials and Why it Matters.” The report synthesizes the results of more than 160 studies to explain the connection between culturally responsive education materials and learning, and examines representation of different social groups. Key findings include identifying that there is disparity in representation of characters from different racial, ethnic, and gender groups; that when portrayals of these groups are present, they tend to be affirming and authentic portrayals; but that stereotypes, limited roles, and inaccurate information are still present and tend to be unique to specific communities. The full report is here.
- On December 1, the National Student Clearinghouse published a report titled, “High School Benchmarks: National College Progression Rates.” The report, which measured the rate in which high school graduates immediately enrolled in college, found evidence of a “pandemic effect” on college enrollment. The report found that the rates at which the class of 2020 immediately enrolled in college have fallen by unprecedented levels, 4 to 10 percentage point drops depending on high school categories, with disproportionately large drops among high-poverty or low-income high schools. Immediate enrollment rate gaps within groups grew wider compared to the previous class. The full report is here.
- On November 30, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation released a report titled, “Untapped Potential: Economic Impact of Childcare Breakdowns on U.S. States.” The report studied the economic impact of child care challenges in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Missouri and Texas, and found results that “indicate there is tremendous untapped economic potential in each state if childcare challenges are solved.” Key findings include identifying breakdowns in care systems meant that the states missed an average of roughly $2.7 billion annually for their economies, which includes an average annual total of $528 million in lost tax revenue, and a combined average annual loss to employers of $2 billion from absences and employee turnover. The full report is here.
- On November 23, the National Parents Union published findings from a survey of parents with children in K-12 public schools, measuring their thoughts on schools’ on-going response to the pandemic. Key findings include identifying that two-thirds of parents are concerned about their children staying on track in school; that more than half of parents are worried about how the pandemic is affecting their children’s mental health and emotional well-being; and that just over half of parents say they still haven’t heard much or anything about additional funding for schools and how it can be used. The full report is here.
A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide that sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to support community college and industry partnerships, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL)
A bill to extend the delimiting period for certain individuals to use educational assistance benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA)
A bill to develop and disseminate a civic education curriculum and oral history resources regarding certain political ideologies, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Maria Salazar (R-FL)
A bill to authorize the Secretary of Education to discharge or cancel Federal student loan liability for borrowers of disaster loans under section 7(b) of the Small Business Act made on or after January 1, 2020, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Troy Carter (D-LA)
A bill to provide that, due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, applications for Impact Aid funding for fiscal year 2023 may use certain data submitted in the fiscal year 2022 application.
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
A bill to amend the Individuals with Disabilities Act to improve provisions relating to dyslexia, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)