E-Update for January 13, 2017

E-Update for January 13, 2017


  • Both the House and Senate passed their FY2017 Budget Resolutions this week by a vote of 227-198 and 51-48, respectively. The budget resolutions in the House and Senate include reconciliation instructions for the repeal of Obamacare.
  • On January 10, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released a notice seeking state plan peer reviewers as required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
  • On January 5, USED Secretary John King released his cabinet exit memo which highlights the progress made by the outgoing Administration from preschool through college.

U.S. Congress

Confirmation Hearing for USED Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos Postponed: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a joint statement announcing the postponement of the confirmation hearing for USED Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos. The confirmation hearing will now take place on January 17 at 5:00 pm. More information and full webcast of the hearing will be available here.

  • Chairman Alexander released a statement in support of Secretary-designate DeVos, affirming his belief that DeVos will be confirmed quickly and will be a successful Secretary. Ranking Member Murray also released a statement following a meeting with DeVos, noting that she continues to have concerns about her record of working to privatize education and expand taxpayer-funded private school education and blocking accountability for charter schools. Chairman Alexander’s statement can be found here and Ranking Member Murray’s statement here.

January 9, 2016

House and Senate Pass Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget Resolutions: Today, the House voted to pass its Budget Resolution by a vote of 227-198 with only Republican support. The Senate also passed its FY2017 Budget Resolution on January 12 by a vote of 51-48 with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) as the only Republican to oppose the resolution. Both the Senate and House budget resolutions include reconciliation instructions for the repeal of Obamacare.

  • During Senate debate, an amendment offered by Senator Brown (D-OH) was rejected by a vote of 49-49 with Senator Collins (R-ME) and Senator Heller (R-NV) as the only Republicans to support the amendment. This amendment would have created a Budget Point of Order against legislation that would make changes to Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or federal requirements for private health insurance unless the Congressional Budget Office deems such changes would not reduce benefits or affordability for children’s health insurance.

January 13, 2016

Senate HELP Committee Sets Confirmation Hearing Date for Secretary-designate Tom Price: The Senate HELP Committee announced the confirmation hearing date for Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Chairman Alexander previously stated his support of Rep. Price for Secretary, lauding Rep. Price’s experience as a doctor as well as a lawmaker. The hearing will take place at 10:00 am. Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Murray released a statement following a meeting with Secretary-designate Price. She emphasized her concerns with Price’s record on issues pertaining to women, the LGBT community, and vulnerable populations. Ranking Member Murray’s statement can be found here.
January 11, 2016

Ranking Member Murray Issues Statement on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District: Ranking Member Murray released a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) hearing oral arguments in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, a case about the level of educational benefit school districts must provide students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In the statement, Ranking Member Murray noted her hope that the court would preserve Congress’ intent in IDEA to provide meaningful education for the nearly 6 million students who receive special education services.
January 11, 2016


USED Seeks Peer Reviewers for ESSA State Plans: USED released a notice seeking individuals to serve as state plan peer reviewers as required under ESSA. The multi-disciplinary peer review teams will consist of educators, state and local educational agency (SEA and LEA) personnel, and researchers. Applications are due on January 27th.
January 10, 2016

USED Secretary King Releases Cabinet Exit Memo: USED Secretary King released his cabinet exit memo in which he highlights some of the progress that the Administration has made in spurring systemic reform and promoting innovation from preschool through college. Specifically, the memo highlights progress on increasing access to preschool, increased high school graduation rates, and improved K-12 standards and assessments.
January 5, 2016

USED Releases Debt-to-Earnings Rates: USED released the debt-to-earnings rates for gainful employment programs, which continues the Department’s efforts to promote college completion and increase accountability in the postsecondary education marketplace. The data indicate that 98% of failing gainful employment programs are offered by for-profit institutions. A spreadsheet of the data can be found here.
January 9, 2016

USED Releases New ESSA Guidance: USED released guidance documents on consolidated state plans, state and local report cards, and high school graduation rates. An explanation of each document is below:

  • The consolidated state plan guidance provides input on the following information in state plans: state long-term goals; consultation and performance management plans; academic assessments; accountability, support, and improvement for schools; supporting excellent educators; and supporting all students.
  • The state and local report cards guidance includes information on SEA and LEA responsibilities regarding reporting data on per-pupil expenditures, state performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), postsecondary enrollment rates, the use of school improvement funds, state accountability system information, and data from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). Guidance here.
  • The high school graduation rates guidance includes information on the definition of the adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR), calculating the ACGR, and reporting the ACGR.

January 6, 2016

USED Releases Resource Guide on Early Learning: USED released a resource guide for early educators and families, which provides tips for educators in early learning programs to facilitate school enrollment by immigrant families and promote healthy child development. It also includes a handbook for parents, guardians, and families with tips on how to promote and facilitate children’s education from birth. The resource guide can be found here.
January 11, 2016

HHS Announces Head Start and Early Head Start Awards: The Department of Health and Human Services announced approximately $290 million in awards to 665 Head Start and Early Head Start programs to expand the number of children-attending programs that offer full school day and full school year services.
January 3, 2016

USED Releases Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities: USED released guidance on the civil rights of students with disabilities, which included a parent and educator resource guide, a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) and a Q&A document on the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools, and a DCL and Q&A document on the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools.
December 28, 2016

USED Publishes Blog Post on Federal Early Learning Programs: Libby Dogget, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning, wrote a blog post on a recent report from USED and HHS on federal early learning programs. As Dogget explains, each program reviewed in the report, including the Child Care and Development Fund, Head Start, and Preschool Development Grants, was found to provide critical and unique services for young children and their families, therefore contradicting claims of redundancy. The report can be found here.
January 13, 2016

USED Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell Calls for Innovation in Higher Education: During his final speech, USED Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell emphasized the need for innovation in higher education in order to better serve all students, including traditionally underserved groups, with a focus on expanding access and affordability.
January 12, 2016


To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to improve the efficiency of summer meals.
Sponsor: Rep. Young, Don [R-AK-At Large]

To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide loan deferment and loan cancellation for founders and employees of small business start-ups, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Velazquez, Nydia M. [D-NY-7]

To end the use of corporal punishment in schools, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Hastings, Alcee L. [D-FL-20]

To establish a grant program for stipends to assist in the cost of compensation paid by employers to certain recent college graduates and to provide funding for their further education in subjects relating to mathematics, science, engineering, and technology.
Sponsor: Rep. Jackson Lee, Sheila [D-TX-18]

To amend GEAR UP to require that schools receiving funding under the program provide students with access to academic and mental health counseling services, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Lawrence, Brenda L. [D-MI-14] (Introduced 01/10/2017) Cosponsors: (0)

To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow an individual to qualify for both teacher loan forgiveness and public service loan forgiveness, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Lawrence, Brenda L. [D-MI-14] (Introduced 01/10/2017) Cosponsors: (0)

To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to strengthen accountability of authorized public chartering agencies and reduce charter school authorizing misconduct.
Sponsor: Rep. Lawrence, Brenda L. [D-MI-14] (Introduced 01/10/2017) Cosponsors: (0)

To establish an Early Federal Pell Grant Commitment Program.
Sponsor: Rep. Lawrence, Brenda L. [D-MI-14] (Introduced 01/10/2017) Cosponsors: (0)

To reinstate Federal Pell Grant eligibility for individuals incarcerated in Federal and State penal institutions, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Davis, Danny K. [D-IL-7] (Introduced 01/04/2017) Cosponsors: (4)

To increase the credit for employers establishing workplace child care facilities, to increase the child care credit to encourage greater use of quality child care services, to provide incentives for students to earn child care-related degrees and to work in child care facilities, and to increase the exclusion for employer-provided dependent care assistance.
Sponsor: Sen. Shaheen, Jeanne [D-NH] (Introduced 01/04/2017) Cosponsors: (2)

To repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and amendments to that Act.
Sponsor: Rep. Massie, Thomas [R-KY-4] (Introduced 01/03/2017) Cosponsors: (1)

To support recruitment, employment, and on-the-job “earn as you learn” training of African-American young men.
Sponsor: Rep. Scott, David [D-GA-13] (Introduced 01/03/2017) Cosponsors: (9)

To amend title 11 of the United States Code to stop abusive student loan collection practices in bankruptcy cases.
Sponsor: Rep. Conyers, John, Jr. [D-MI-13] (Introduced 01/03/2017) Cosponsors: (2)

To amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the use of Post-9/11 Educational Assistance to pursue independent study programs at certain educational institutions that are not institutions of higher learning.
Sponsor: Rep. Mullin, Markwayne [R-OK-2] (Introduced 01/03/2017) Cosponsors: (0)

To require the Secretary of Education to provide assistance to the immediate family of a teacher or other school employee killed in an act of violence while performing school duties.
Sponsor: Rep. Hastings, Alcee L. [D-FL-20] (Introduced 01/03/2017) Cosponsors: (1)

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