E-Update for February 27, 2015

E-Update for February 27, 2015

E-Update for February 27, 2015


This week, the House of Representatives took up the House Republican Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization, H.R. 5, the “Student Success Act.”  On Thursday and Friday, the House considered a total of 44 amendments to H.R. 5, including nine Republican amendments, nine bipartisan amendments, and 26 Democratic amendments. Of particular note, the House approved Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s (R-VA) amendment, which provides States with the authority to allow local education agencies to administer their own, locally designed academic assessment system, in place of a State-designed academic system.  In addition, the House approved an amendment offered by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-MI); this amendment allows state education agencies and eligible entities to use Local Academic Flexible Grant funds to audit and streamline assessment systems, eliminates unnecessary assessments, and improves the use of assessments. Roll call votes for several amendments were postponed Thursday night and into Friday. Late Friday afternoon, House leaders decided to postpone a vote on H.R. 5.

EducationCounsel News

On February 24, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on “Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities: A Report from the Task Force on Government Regulation of Higher Education.” EducationCounsel contributed a white paper as an appendix to the Senate Task Force’s report about “risk-informed” regulation, New Directions in Regulatory Reform: Prospects for Reducing Regulatory Burden Through Risk-Informed Approaches in Federal Law Governing American Higher Education. Available as a standalone resource here, it provides a conceptual framework, examples from the U.S. and abroad, and possible areas for risk-informed regulation to be embedded in postsecondary regulation in the U.S.


On March 2, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching will host a Summit on Improvement in Education in San Francisco. The Summit is organized around four key program strands: improvement science methods and tools; improvement science applied in practice; leadership and culture; and the power of networks: partnerships, collaboratives, and communities.  Angela Lee Duckworth, an American psychologist whose studies are clarifying the role that intellectual strengths and personality traits play in educational achievement, will serve as the keynote speaker.  More information here.

On March 4, New America will host a conversation on “Creating the Future of Learning: The End of College and University Everywhere.” Kevin Carey, Director of Education Policy Programs at New America, will speak about his new book by the same title. Carey will tell the story of how traditional colleges become so confused, ineffective, and expensive, and how a new generation of researchers and entrepreneurs are building a digital learning ecosystem to take their place. RSVP here.

On March 5, the Education Commission of the States will host a review of national trends in transfer policy for state and system policymakers. With roughly half of all college students transferring at least once, on average, much attention is being paid in the current legislative sessions to state transfer policies and institutional practices that impact education transitions. Policy leaders will share innovations in policy and practice from Florida and Colorado. RSVP here.

On March 5, the Alliance for Excellent Education will host a Google Hangout on “Co-Creating Digital Learning Experiences.” Digital learning is an instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience. When implementing a new lesson idea or digital device into classrooms or youth programs, developing a habit of co-creating those experiences-rather than creating them in isolation-is often the key to increasing relevancy, effectiveness, and student engagement. Panelists will include: Dr. Joe Mazza, Leadership Innovation Manager, University of Pennsylvania GSE; Dr. Joe Sanfelippo, Superintendent, Fall Creek School District, Wisconsin; Erin Klein, 2014 MACUL Teacher of the Year, Blogger, Kleinspiration.com; and others. Register here.

U.S Department of Education

New Guidance to Help Protect Student Privacy in Educational Sites and Apps: The U.S. Department of Education released model terms of service guidance to help schools identify which online educational services and apps have strong privacy and data security policies to protect students. The guidance helps officials look for provisions that would allow the service or company to market to students or parents, and provisions on how data is collected, used, shared, transferred, and destroyed. It also guides schools on making sure they’re satisfying parental access requirements, as well as proper security controls.
February 26, 2015

New Data Show House Republican Bill Would Allow Billions in Cuts for Largest School Districts Serving High Populations of Black and Hispanic Students: The Department released new data detailing the impact of potential cuts to school districts serving high concentrations of Black and Hispanic students as a result of H.R. 5 in the U.S. House of Representatives to reauthorize ESEA. The Department asserts that H.R. 5 would provide the largest 33 school districts with high concentrations of Black and Hispanic students over $3 billion less in federal funding than the President’s budget over six years. According to the Department, the cuts in education spending would be the result of freezing funding at sequestration levels and allowing states to divert money from schools serving vulnerable student populations to wealthier districts.
February 24, 2015

Title I Portability Estimates: Politico has reported that the Obama Administration’s claims that the portability provision would drain billions from high-poverty districts are based on a number of assumptions, including that all states would opt in to Title I portability. Additionally, it assumes that district losses are based on funding proposed in the president’s 2016 budget, compared to funding targets in the Republicans’ bill.
February 25, 2015

Congressional Headlines

Senate Holds Hearing on Federal Regulation of Higher Education: The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on “Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities: A Report from the Task Force on Government Regulation of Higher Education.” Task Force Co-Chairs Dr. Kirwan and Dr. Zeppos served as witnesses. During the hearing, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he plans to work with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) to discuss how to develop a bipartisan process to take full advantage of the recommendations in the report and to include many of them in reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), which the HELP Committee plans to begin the process of reauthorizing this year. He noted that the Senators will also schedule additional hearings to gather comment on the report from institutions not directly involved, as well as consumers of higher education, including parents, students, and taxpayers.
February 24, 2015

White House

White House Threatens to Veto H.R. 5: The White House threatened to veto H.R. 5. The Administration’s threat pointed to H.R. 5’s accountability measures and funding provisions as core reasons for its opposition. The White House statement included the following: “The Administration opposes H.R. 5 particularly because it would deny federal funds to the classrooms that need them the most and fails to assure parents that policymakers and educators will take action when students are not learning.”
February 25, 2015

New Legislation

H.R.1020 : STEM Education Act of 2015
Sponsor: Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21] (introduced 2/20/2015) Cosponsors (9)
Committees: House Science, Space, and Technology

H.R.1042 : To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to improve 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
Sponsor: Rep Kildee, Daniel T. [MI-5] (introduced 2/24/2015) Cosponsors (None)

H.R.1061 : To reauthorize the farm to school program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Fortenberry, Jeff [NE-1] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (1)

H.R.1064 : To reinstate year-round Federal Pell Grants under the Higher Education Act of 1965.
Sponsor: Rep Bustos, Cheri [IL-17] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (2)

H.R.1070 : To provide for adequate and equitable educational opportunities for students in State public school systems, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (None)

H.R.1071 : To amend section 1120A(c) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to assure comparability of opportunity for educationally disadvantaged students.
Sponsor: Rep Fattah, Chaka [PA-2] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (None)

H.R.1079 : To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to provide grants to States to establish a comprehensive school counseling program.
Sponsor: Rep Langevin, James R. [RI-2] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (11)

H.R.1080 : To amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in order to limit the penalties to a State that does not meet its maintenance of effort level of funding to a one-time penalty, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Lujan, Ben Ray [NM-3] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (1)

H.R.1081 : To assist coordination among science, technology, engineering, and mathematics efforts in the States, to strengthen the capacity of elementary schools, middle schools, and secondary schools to prepare students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Lujan, Ben Ray [NM-3] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (3)

H.R.1082 : To strengthen Indian education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Lujan, Ben Ray [NM-3] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (2)

H.R.1089 : To help fulfill the Federal mandate to provide higher educational opportunities for Native American Indians.
Sponsor: Rep Tipton, Scott R. [CO-3] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (11)

H.RES.121 : Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 529) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve 529 plans; providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 5) to support State and local accountability for public education, protect State and local authority, inform parents of the performance of their children’s schools, and for other purposes; and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Woodall, Rob [GA-7] (introduced 2/24/2015) Cosponsors (None)

H.RES.125 : Providing for further consideration of the bill (H.R. 5) to support State and local accountability for public education, protect State and local authority, inform parents of the performance of their children’s schools, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Foxx, Virginia [NC-5] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (None)

S.557 : A bill to promote Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs.
Sponsor: Sen Franken, Al [MN] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (None)

S.559 : A bill to prohibit the Secretary of Education from engaging in regulatory overreach with regard to institutional eligibility under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Burr, Richard [NC] (introduced 2/25/2015) Cosponsors (16)

S.RES.83 : A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of the Secondary School Student Athletes’ Bill of Rights.
Sponsor: Sen Menendez, Robert [NJ] (introduced 2/23/2015) Cosponsors (1)


Brookings Institute Paper: Preserving the Federal Role in Encouraging and Evaluating Education Innovation: With both houses of Congress moving apace to reauthorize the ESEA, the question is not whether the new legislation will reduce the federal government’s footprint in K-12 education; it assuredly will. The question is whether, in their understandable efforts to rein in Washington’s influence, legislators can preserve those elements of federal policy that stand to benefit students and taxpayers—particularly those that fulfill functions that would otherwise go unaddressed within our multi-layered system of education governance. In the current environment, Congress may be tempted to eschew all programs structured as competitive grants, preferring to rely on formulas to ensure that schools receive their fair share of federal funds. That would be a mistake. In particular, the Investing in Innovation (i3) fund, a program created through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that is not a part of the reauthorization bills now moving through Congress, deserves a second look.
February 19, 2015

Regional Education Laboratory Program Report: Comparing Methodologies for Developing an Early Warning System: The purpose of this report was to explicate the use of logistic regression and classification and regression tree (CART) analysis in the development of early warning systems. It was motivated by state education leaders’ interest in maintaining high classification accuracy, while simultaneously improving practitioner understanding of the rules by which students are identified as at-risk or not at-risk readers. Results indicate that CART is comparable to logistic regression, with the results of both methods yielding negative predictive power greater than the recommended standard of .90. Details of each method are provided to assist analysts interested in developing early warning systems using one of the methods.
February 2015

The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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