E-Update for the Week of February 18, 2020

E-Update for the Week of February 18, 2020

Highlights:

  • On February 12, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a report titled, “Income-Driven Repayment Plans for Student Loans: Budgetary Costs and Policy Options.” The report summarizes an analysis of repayment plans that are based on a student borrower’s income and allow for forgiveness after 20 or 25 years.
  • On February 10, President Donald Trump released his fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request. The approximately $4.8 trillion proposal included funding requests for the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (USED). The proposal requests $66.6 billion for USED, which is an 8.5 percent reduction from FY2020 spending levels.
  • On February 10, USED launched SchoolSafety.gov which is a “one-stop-shop” of resources for school district leaders and educators to prepare and address various threats related to safety, security, and support in schools.

Budget and Appropriations:

President releases FY21 budget request, outlines key priorities and significant cuts to education programs: President Donald Trump released his fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request. The approximately $4.8 trillion proposal included funding requests for the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (USED). The proposal requests $66.6 billion for USED, which is an 8.5 percent reduction from FY2020 spending levels. While Congress will be responsible for drafting appropriations bill and is unlikely to act upon the President’s proposal, the request does include a number of proposals related to core education programs. The request proposes level funding for Head Start and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), while also eliminating the Preschool Development Grants (PDG). The proposal also includes the creation of a new block grant that would be funded by the consolidation of 29 elementary and secondary education grant programs, including Title I grants to local educational agencies (LEAs). The “Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged (ESED) Block Grant” would provide $19.4 billion in formula funding for states and LEAs; however, the existing aggregate funding level for programs proposed to be included in the block grant exceeds $24.8 billion. Additionally, the request also proposes close to $2 billion in funding for career and technical education (CTE) programs.

The President’s FY2021 budget request is here. A statement by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) is here. A statement by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here. A statement by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is here.
February 10, 2020

Congress:

Senate:

Senate could consider borrower defense CRA this week: While the Senate is in recess during the week of February 17, it is expected that the Senate could consider a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to express disapproval of the Borrower Defense to Repayment rule issued by USED. The resolution, if adopted, would nullify final regulations modifying the formula for determining student loan relief for borrowers who were defrauded by a college, university or career school. The resolution passed the House along a mostly party line vote of 231-180. While it is unclear at this time if any Republicans would support the resolution in the Senate, the President would likely veto the resolution if it were to pass the Senate.

House:

House explores need, barriers to expanding family and medical leave: The House Education Workforce Protections Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Balancing Work, Health, and Family: The Case for Expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act.” Subcommittee Chairwoman Alma Adams (D-NC) led Democrats in exploring the barriers facing workers in taking leave and the disproportionate impact such barriers have on low-income workers, working parents, and workers of color. “Even if a worker can take FMLA leave, federal law does not guarantee coverage for all family members and caregivers… LGBT couples, domestic partners, and the 2.9 million grandparents exclusively raising their grandchildren still face a patchwork of policies that allow them to take leave in some states, but not others,” stated the Chairwoman. Ranking Member Ben Cline (R-VA) urged his peers to consider how Congress can support employers in providing opportunities to their employees, without putting in place overly burdensome restrictions and requirements. “Companies know they need to understand their current and prospective employees’ workplace concerns and be prepared to address them. Congress should allow our nation’s employers the flexibility to develop and offer personalized solutions that work best for their employees and themselves,” stated the Ranking Member. The full opening statement of Chairwoman Alma Adams (D-NC) is here. The full opening statement of Ranking Member Ben Cline (R-VA) is here. All witness testimonies and a recording of the hearing are here.
February 11, 2020

Administration:

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

Department opens investigation into Harvard, Yale over foreign gifts: USED announced it has launched an investigation into Harvard University and Yale University related to the institutions’ alleged failure to report foreign gifts and contracts. According to the Department, Yale University may have failed to report at least $375 million in gifts and contracts, while Harvard University may not have all of the institutional controls necessary to report foreign gifts and contracts. “If colleges and universities are accepting foreign money and gifts, their students, donors, and taxpayers deserve to know how much and from whom. Moreover, it’s what the law requires,” stated USED Secretary Betsy DeVos. The Secretary, in her statement, references the requirements of Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA), which requires institutions must report gifts or contracts that exceed $250,000 in value. A press release is here.
February 12, 2020

USED, DHS launch school safety clearinghouse: USED launched SchoolSafety.gov which is a “one-stop-shop” of resources for school district leaders and educators to prepare and address various threats related to safety, security, and support in schools. “School safety is the number one priority of parents across the country, which is why the President directed [U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)] and other federal agencies to form a taskforce and provide schools, teachers, parents, and law enforcement with resources to identify, prepare for, respond to, and mitigate threats,” stated Chad Wolf, acting DHS Secretary. The website includes a school safety readiness self-assessment tool, a secure information sharing platform for designated school personnel to share school safety practices and resources, and other resources and best practices. A USED press release is here. The website is here.
February 10, 2020

Publications (Congressional and Administration):

  • On February 12, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a report titled, “Income-Driven Repayment Plans for Student Loans: Budgetary Costs and Policy Options.” The report summarizes an analysis of repayment plans that are based on a student borrower’s income and allow for forgiveness after 20 or 25 years. Key findings of the report include identifying that nearly half of student loans in repayment are within an income-driven plan; that for every dollar the federal government loans it will lose 16.9 percent of each distributed amount if repaid through an income-driven plan; and that graduate students account for the highest percentage of student borrowers in income driven plans compared to undergraduate students (39 percent to 24 percent, respectively). The full report is here. A statement by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) is here.
  • On February 11, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published a report titled, “State Time for U.S. Public Schools.” The report summarizes a nationwide study of public high school start times for the 2017-2018 school year. Key findings of the report include identifying that schools located within cities were more likely to have a start time of 8:30 am or later (26 percent) compared to schools in suburban or rural areas (18 percent and 11 percent, respectively); that charter schools reported a start time of 8:30 am or later more frequently than traditional public schools (24 percent and 17 percent, respectively); and that high schools in Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire report their average start time as being before 7:45 am. The full report is here.

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On February 13, the RAND Corporation published a report titled, “Principals Could Use More Support to Help Students with Disabilities – Especially in Schools Serving Mostly Students of Color.” The report summarizes a survey of principals related to their role, including the extent to which they have sufficient support serving students with disabilities. Key findings of the report include identifying that most principals reported they needed additional support in the form of training and information, staff with specific expertise, materials and tools, and support for their own leadership as related to supporting students with disabilities; and that principals who work with schools serving mostly students of color were more likely to report that they had even less access to supports. The full report is here.
  • On February 13, the Education Commission of the States published a report titled, “School and District Leadership.” The report analyzed legislation from 2019 that would provide policy changes around school and district leader licensure, professional development, and changes to performance measures for school leadership. Key findings of the report include identifying that over 175 bills were introduced across 39 states; that at least 26 bills were enacted across 20 states; and that bills related to preparation, certification, and licensure had the majority of bills enacted. The full report is here.
  • On February 12, Child Trends published a report titled, “The evolution of state school safety laws since the Columbine school shooting.” The report summarizes an analysis of school shootings and seven issue areas such as character development, cyberbullying, mental health and counseling, anonymous reporting systems and threat assessments, school personnel training, school building security, and active shooter preparedness. Key findings of the report include identifying that there was a significantly higher increase in laws enacted in 2013 and 2018, which immediately followed the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings; that as of 2019, 40 states require or encourage school districts to establish school climate provisions; and that as of 2019, all states have laws that address both bullying and cyberbullying. The full report is here.
  • On February 11, POLITICO published initial findings of the decennial report by AASA, the School Superintendents’ Association, regarding the average demographic, background, and experience of American school superintendents. The full report will be available in September. Key findings published include identifying that the average superintendent is a married, White male who has prior experience as a principal; that female superintendents increased to 27 percent in 2020 compared to 24 percent in 2010; and only 34 percent of superintendents reported they work in districts that are composed of less than 5 percent of students of color while 15 percent reported they work in districts where more than half of the student body are students of color. A POLITICO article is here.

Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):

  • Both the House and Senate will be in recess in observance of Presidents’ Day starting February 17. The Senate will return to session on February 24 and the House will return on February 25.
  • 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 20 at 10:00 am, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will hold an event titled, “A Way Forward: Registered Apprenticeships and Advancing the Early Childhood Workforce.” The webinar will focus on how policymakers can support the development of the early childhood workforce and expand opportunities for future educators by leveraging apprenticeships. The webinar will feature Shannon Christian, Director of the Office of Child Care at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). More information and registration are here.
  • On February 20 at 4:00 pm, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will hold an event titled, “Should universities be more like corporations?” The event will feature University of Virginia (VGA) President James Ryan and will focus on how, if at all, institutions of higher education need to reconsider their approach to postsecondary education in light of the growing pressures on colleges and universities. More information and registration are here.

Legislation:

H.R.5829
A bill to require in-State tuition for certain AmeriCorps volunteers, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL)

H.R.5838
A bill to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and title 5, United States Code, to allow employees to take, as additional leave, parental involvement leave to participate in or attend their children’s and grandchildren’s educational and extracurricular activities, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)

H.R.5854
A bill to authorize the Secretary of Education to make grants to eligible schools to assist such schools to discontinue use of a derogatory or discriminatory name or depiction as a team name, mascot, or nickname, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)

H.R.5870
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to ensure that the time during which members of the Armed Forces serve on active duty for training qualifies for educational assistance under the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA)

H.R.5886
A bill to direct the Secretary of Education to develop resources to reduce e-cigarette use by students on campuses of institutions of higher education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)

H.R.5892
A bill to amend section 9A of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to require that local school wellness policies include a requirement that students receive 50 hours of school nutrition education per school year.
Sponsor: Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA)

S.3273
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to establish a community college and career training grant program.
Sponsor: Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)

S.3279
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide additional entitlement to Post-9/11 Educational Assistance to certain veterans and members of the Armed Forces who require extra time to complete remedial and deficiency courses, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)

S.3293
A bill to amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to establish the Food and Nutrition Education in Schools Pilot Program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)

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