E-Update for the Week of February 10, 2020

E-Update for the Week of February 10, 2020

Highlights:

  • Today, it is expected the White House will release the President’s Budget Request for fiscal year (FY) 2021. Relatedly, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) will hold a briefing at 2:00 pm to detail the Department’s FY2021 budget request. The briefing will be held at the Department at 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202 in Barnard Auditorium.
  • On February 6, CQ reported that federal funding for school construction is likely to be added to a House Democratic infrastructure package, which was previously announced. Speaking to reporters, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated, “We tell children that education is important, they should study, it’s important to their own self-fulfillment and to that of our country, and yet we send some of them to schools that are so substandard that it sends a different message.”
  • On February 3, USED and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) detailing how the agencies will share student loan complaint information and meet regularly to review complaints received.

Budget and Appropriations:

White House to release FY21 Budget Request today: It is expected the White House will release the President’s Budget Request for fiscal year (FY) 2021 today. Relatedly, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) will hold a briefing at 2:00 pm to detail the Department’s FY2021 budget request. The briefing will be held at the Department at 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202 in Barnard Auditorium. The Department’s budget materials will be posted here. The Department’s briefing will be livestreamed here.
February 10, 2020

House Appropriations Committee sets Member request deadlines: The House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) sent a Dear Colleague letter informing Members that they must submit all appropriations requests for FY2021 related to the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and USED to the Subcommittee by March 13. Members can submit requests electronically beginning February 13. The letter is here. Letters from other Subcommittees regarding their deadlines are here.
February 7, 2020

House Budget Committee punts FY21 budget resolution: House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) announced the Committee would not be drafting a budget resolution for FY2021. “With a budget in place, Congress approved all twelve 2020 spending bills for the full-year and is moving forward with the 2021 appropriations process. I look forward to drafting a 2022 budget, when the budget resolution will once again be the primary vehicle for establishing and enforcing Congress’ fiscal plans,” stated the Chairman and referenced the spending deal reached last summer. The “Bipartisan Budget Act” defined discretionary spending caps for defense and nondefense programs for FY2020 and FY2021. A press release is here.
February 4, 2020

Congress:

Senate:

Bipartisan group of Senators call for wider scope in proposed federal education funds use study: Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) led a bipartisan letter to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos. The letter urged the Department to include high school dual enrollment programs within the proposed study recently announced by USED which will examine the allocation and local use of federal education funding in 400 national representative school districts. The Senators wrote, “We encourage the Department to examine how states and districts are leveraging and coordinating federal resources across funding streams for which dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college high school are allowable uses to support a comprehensive network of high-quality programs.” The Senators note that multiple Titles within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) include provisions related to dual enrollment, therefore, making the analysis relevant to the proposed scope of the Department’s study. The letter is here. The Federal Register notice of the proposed study is here.
February 3, 2020

House:

Schools likely to get bump in Democrats’ infrastructure package after all: CQ reported that federal funding for school construction is likely to be added to a House Democratic infrastructure package, which was previously announced. Speaking to reporters, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated, “We tell children that education is important, they should study, it’s important to their own self fulfillment and to that of our country, and yet we send some of them to schools that are so substandard that it sends a different message.” Last year, the House Education and Labor Committee approved H.R.865, the “Rebuild America’s Schools Act,” which would have created a $70 billion grant program and a $30 billion tax credit program to build schools. It is expected that a proposal based on H.R.865 could be added to the infrastructure package before it is voted on the House floor. The CQ article is here. (NOTE: A subscription is required.)
February 6, 2020

House condemns Administration Medicaid proposal: The House passed a non-binding resolution condemning a Trump Administration proposal unveiled last week that will make changes to Medicaid. The non-binding resolution passed by a partisan vote of 223-190 with only one Republican member supporting the resolution. The resolution was passed in response to a proposal unveiled last week by the Administration, which would allow states to convert a portion of their Medicaid funding into block grants. Specifically, the proposal would limit spending in states that receive a waiver from the federal government allowing them to impose cuts to benefits to meet the new caps in spending. The resolution is unlikely to see further action in the U.S. Senate. The Hill article is here.
February 6, 2020

Education subcommittee explores child care ‘crisis’ and actions to address rising costs: The House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled, “Solving America’s Child Care Crisis: Supporting, Parents, Children, and the Economy.” The hearing focused on how the federal government can support existing child care and early childhood education programs. Democratic and Republican Subcommittee members expressed the need for high-quality child care options and acknowledged the burden families are facing due to the rising cost of and lack of availability in some areas to high-quality child care. Subcommittee Chairman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (CNMI) kicked off the hearing by highlighting the issue of child care costs. He stated, “The cost of child care in America has gone up 2,000 percent in the last 40 years. 2,000 percent! The average cost of full-time child care is now $16,000 per year. That is about half the median income for a single parent. Almost the same as the average annual cost of in-state tuition at a public university. Across America, working parents are struggling to make sure their young children have decent, high-quality child care — at an affordable price.” A webcast of the hearing and more information is here.
February 6, 2020

Small Business Subcommittee explores how rural businesses can support access to child care: The House Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship held a hearing titled, “Taking Care of Business: How Child care is Important for Regional Economies.” The hearing explored how regional economic growth can be positively impacted when families have access to affordable, high-quality child care allowing for greater workforce participation. Subcommittee Chairwoman Abby Finkenauer (D-IA) noted in written materials for the hearing that, “Child care access is an important infrastructure component that allows parents to participate in the workforce, helps businesses attract and retain employees, and raises economic output by reducing productivity loss.” A webcast of the hearing, written materials, and more information is here.
February 6, 2020

Oversight Subcommittee investigates SNAP proposed changes and impacts on children: The House Oversight Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “A Threat to America’s Children: The Trump Administration’s Proposed Changes to Broad Based Categorical Eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP].” The hearing was part of the full Committee’s series focused on the “negative effects of regulations proposed by the Trump Administration relating to children.” During the hearing, two of the witnesses – both of who are educators – described the potential impacts of the proposed changes on students’ access to free school meals. “If changes are made to the broad-based categorical eligibility, a segment of our families will no longer qualify for SNAP,” stated Zach Pethan, Principal at Jefferson Elementary School in Wisconsin. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released estimates of the impacts on the proposed changes and estimated that almost 1 million students would be impacted by the changes. A recording of the hearing is here. The opening statement by Subcommittee Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) is here. The opening statement by full Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) is here. Witness testimonies are here.
February 6, 2020

Chairman Scott, Trahan seek more information on new USED borrower defense formula: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos regarding the Department’s formula for determining loan relief under the Borrower Defense to Repayment regulations. “This Administration’s pursuit of a partial relief formula runs counter to both recommendations of career Department staff and the policies of the previous Administration, and we fear will result in defaulted borrowers continuing to be saddled with debt that predatory colleges misled them into incurring based on the false promise that their education would be an investment in their future,” the Members wrote. Chairman Scott and Rep. Trahan are seeking more information regarding how the Department created the formula and any internal decisions related to its development. A press release is here. The letter is here.
February 3, 2020

Oversight Committee issues subpoena threat to DeVos: On February 3, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos warning that the Secretary may be subjected to a Committee subpoena to compel her testimony in front of the Committee. The Chairwoman details in her letter that the Secretary was previously invited in December to testify in January regarding “critical issues facing the Department, including oversight of federal student loans, policies on campus sexual harassment and assault, protections for students at for-profit colleges, the independence of the Department’s Inspector General, compliance with collective bargaining requirements, and other matters.” The Committee has set a new hearing date for March 3 and may issue a subpoena to compel the Secretary’s testimony if there is no response from the Department by February 7. A press release is here. The letter is here.

Administration:

White House:

During annual address, President urges congressional action on school choice, career and technical education, child care: President Donald Trump delivered the annual State of the Union address to Congress. While the President focused on issues such as the state of the economy, immigration, and healthcare, he did include some education-related proposals. The President urged Congress to adopt the Education Freedom Scholarships proposal championed by USED Secretary DeVos. The proposal would provide federal tax credits to individuals who contribute to a scholarship program providing students additional school choice options, including private schools. Further, the President urged Congress to adopt his soon to be released plan to provide career and technical education in every high school in America. Additionally, the President highlighted the increases to the child tax credit and federal funding for child care during his Administration. He also announced that the Administration has sent to Congress a plan to “further expand access to high-quality child care.” The president’s full remarks are here. An EducationCounsel analysis of the address is here.

A White House fact sheet is here. A statement by USED Secretary DeVos is here. A statement by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here.
February 4, 2020

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

Twenty-six Attorneys General call for expanded loan relief for Dream Center students: The Attorneys General of 26 states, including the District of Columbia, sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos urging her to extend student loan debt relief to students who attended Dream Center schools starting on October 17, 2017. Previously, the Department announced it would only consider relief for students who attended the schools starting in June 2018. “All students at [Dream Center] schools that closed in 2018 and 2019 should be entitled to relief from loans taken out to get a degree they could not obtain, and the students should not be denied relief because they ended their enrollment during a time of turmoil and mismanagement by the schools’ ownership,” wrote the Attorneys General. The full letter is here. (NOTE: A subscription to POLITICO Pro is required.)
February 4, 2020

USED, CFPB sign MOU on student loan complaint investigations, associated data: USED and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) detailing how the agencies will share student loan complaint information and meet regularly to review complaints received. Further, the MOU allows for the shared analysis of student loan complaint data, recommendations, and analytical tools. “All student loan borrowers, whether they have a Federally-held or private student loan, deserve world-class service and quick resolution when facing issues. Through this new agreement with the CFPB, we will coordinate our regulatory efforts, avoid needless duplication, and protect the borrowers we serve,” stated USED Secretary DeVos. A press release is here. The MOU is here.

Additionally, on February 6, Kathleen Kraninger, CFPB Director, stated that the CFPB is working on a plan that would allow for “joint” oversight of federal student loans, according to POLITICO. The comments were delivered during a House Financial Services Committee hearing. The POLITICO article is here. (NOTE: A subscription to POLITICO Pro is required.

Relatedly, on January 30, Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter to CFPB Director Kraninger, urging the agency to increase its oversight of student loan servicing companies. The Senators argue that Kraninger has not done enough to “stand up” to USED Secretary DeVos and has not done enough to investigate the servicer responsible for administration of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The full letter is here.
February 3, 2020

Publications (Congressional and Administration):

  • On February 4, the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) published a report titled, “Shortened School Weeks in U.S. Public Schools.” The report summarizes a study of the characteristics of schools where students attend classes fewer than five days per week during the 2017-2018 school year. Key findings of the report include identifying that only 1.9 percent of schools had a shortened school week; that Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, and Wyoming had more than 10 percent of schools with a shortened week; and that schools with shortened weeks were more prevalent in rural areas (4.6 percent) compared to suburban or urban areas (0.8 and 0.6 percent, respectively). The full report is here.

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On February 6, Learning Success published a documentary titled, “Individualized Education Plans [IEP], A Parent’s Guide.” The documentary includes information on 504 plans and IEPs and provides viewers information regarding the process and rights to services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The documentary is available here.
  • On February 6, the College Board published a report titled, “AP Program Results: Class of 2019.” The report summarizes performance of high school graduates who took an advanced placement (AP) exam in 2019. Key findings of the report include identifying that over 1.2 million graduating seniors took an AP exam; that 23.9 percent of those students passed an exam with a score of 3 or higher; and that Massachusetts had the highest percent (33.8 percent) of students passing an exam, compared to any other state. The full report is here.
  • On February 4, the Fordham Institute published a report titled, “Great Expectations: The Impact of Rigorous Grading Practices on Student Achievement.” The report summarizes a study of teachers’ grading practices and the impact those have on academic outcomes. Key findings of the report include identifying that student achievement was higher for students with teachers that had higher grading standards; that math performance was improved by higher grading standards; and that students of all racial and ethnic groups improved academically from teachers with higher grading standards. The full report is here.

Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):

  • On February 10 at 2:00 pm, USED will hold a briefing at 2:00 pm to detail the Department’s FY2021 budget request. The briefing will be held at the Department at 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202, in Barnard Auditorium. The Department’s budget materials will be posted here. The Department’s briefing will be live-streamed here. Reservations are not required.
  • On February 11 at 10:00 am, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protections Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Name, Image, and Likeness: The State of Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation.” The hearing will examine issues that surround compensating college athletes and the use of third-party agents, current definitions of amateurism, and allowable incentives. Witnesses will include Bob Bowlsby, Commissioner of the Big 12 Conference; Mark Emmert, President of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); Douglas Girod, Chancellor of the University of Kansas; Ramogi Huma, Executive Director of the National College Players Association; and Kendall Spencer, Chair of the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. More information is available here.
  • On February 11 at 2:00 pm, the House Education and Labor Workforce Protections Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Balancing Work, Health, and Family: The Case for Expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act.” No witnesses have been announced as of yet. More information is available here.
  • On February 13 at 9:30 am, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing to examine the President’s FY2021 Budget Request. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar will testify at the hearing. More information is here.
  • On February 27 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) will conduct a meeting. NACIQI provides recommendations regarding accrediting agencies that monitor the academic quality of postsecondary institutions and educational programs for federal purposes. During the meeting, Diane Auer Jones, delegated the duties of USED Under Secretary, will provide an update on the Administration’s implementation of regulations on the recognition of accrediting agencies (34 CFR 602). The Department amended the rules governing the Secretary’s recognition process, which were published November 1, 2019, and will take effect on July 1, 2020. A full agenda and more information on the meeting is here.
  • On March 2, states must submit their Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) state plans to USED. More information is here.
  • On either March 24 or April 1, USED Secretary DeVos will testify in front of the House Education and Labor Committee. On either date the Secretary will testify on the Department’s FY2021 budget request.
  • On April 15, states must submit their three-year Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plans. States previously submitted their one-year transition plans. More information is here

Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations): 

  • On February 11 at 12:00 pm, UnidosUS will hold an event titled, “Latina Teachers and the ‘BA Challenge’: Impacts and Conditions of Increasing Requirements in Early Childhood Education.” The event will discuss a recent UnidosUS report of the same title, which highlights the barriers and opportunities for Latina early childhood educators when credential and education requirements are implemented. For more information and to RSVP email Leanne Ryder at lryder@unidosus.org.
  • On February 11 at 12:00 pm, the Youth Development Institute of Puerto Rico will hold an event titled, “A Future of Child Poverty in Puerto Rico: How Much It Costs and What Can We Do About It.” More information and registration are here.
  • On February 12 at 8:00 am, the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research will hold its annual research conference. The focus of this year’s conference is to bring education researchers, funders, policymakers, and practitioners to have a dialogue around the types of research produced and how the field applies or uses that research. More information and registration are here.
  • On February 13, the National Academy of Sciences will hold an event titled, “Children’s Mental Health and the Life Course Model: Comprehensive Policy Response.” The webinar is a part of a longer series focused on understanding how mental health disorders develop over the lifespan, with a special emphasis on prenatal, early, middle, and later childhood. More information and registration are here.

Legislation:

H.R.5748
A bill to rebuild the Nation’s crumbling infrastructure, transportation systems, technology and computer networks, and energy distribution systems, by strongly and urgently encouraging the immediate recruitment, employment, and on-the-job “earn as you learn” training of young African Americans who throughout history experience higher unemployment rates than any other race, which is a national crisis.
Sponsor: Rep. David Scott (D-GA)

H.R.5759
A bill to establish a career pathway grant program.
Sponsor: Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC)

H.R.5764
A bill to establish high-quality dual language immersion programs in low-income communities, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)

H.R.5768
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to protect students and taxpayers by modernizing evaluation and increasing transparency in the accreditation system, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA)

H.R.5781
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to make an individual who is eligible for educational assistance under chapter 33 of such title, and transfers such educational assistance to a dependent, and fails to complete a service agreement, solely liable for any overpayment of such educational assistance.
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL)

H.R.5784
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to improve programs for minority students in STEM fields, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)

Share this post