E-Update for the Week of January 13, 2020
- This week, the House is expected to consider H.J.Res.76, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval of the USED’s final regulation on the Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule. On January 3, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a Dear Colleague letter to the House Democratic caucus, which outlined expected legislative activity for the upcoming few weeks, including consideration of this resolution of disapproval.
- Last week, the White House announced that it plans to publish the fiscal year (FY) 2021 president’s budget proposal on February 10. According to CQ, the White House intends to release a full budget proposal instead of the “skinny” proposal that has been issued in years past.
- On January 8, USED published in the Federal Register a notice for proposed priorities under the State Assessments grant program. Specifically, the Department proposes to use one or more priorities to expand the number of states able to leverage the Innovative Assessment pilot program.
Budget and Appropriations:
White House plans to release full FY21 budget proposal on Feb. 10: Last week, the White House announced that it plans to publish the fiscal year (FY) 2021 president’s budget proposal on February 10. According to CQ, the White House intends to release a full budget proposal instead of the “skinny” proposal that has been issued in years past. A full proposal will include all department budget requests, including funding for the U.S. Department of Education (USED) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The release of the budget will follow the State of the Union address, which is scheduled for February 4.
January 8, 2020
House Budget Committee Chairman predicts there may be no FY21 budget resolution: House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) expressed that the House may not complete a budget resolution for fiscal year (FY) 2021. The Committee is expected to hold a hearing with Russell Vought, the White House Budget Director, after the release of the FY2021 budget proposal. However, according to Chairman Yarmuth it is “more unlikely than likely” that the House drafts a budget resolution this year. Without a budget resolution, the House will be able to move forward with its appropriations process since the spending deal from 2019 included the total discretionary spending limits for defense and nondefense programs for FY2021. Due to the spending deal, which was signed into law last year, defense programs will be increased by $2.5 billion and nondefense programs will also be increased by $2.5 billion from FY2020 levels.
January 8, 2020
Senator Loeffler joins HELP Committee, replaces former Senator Isakson: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released a statement in which he welcomed Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) to the Committee. Senator Loeffler was appointed to fill the vacancy left by former Senator Johnny Isakson, who retired due to health reasons at the end of last year. “I welcome Senator Kelly Loeffler to the Senate and look forward to working with her to lower what Americans pay out of their own pockets for health care and to make a college education worth students time and money,” stated Chairman Alexander. The full statement is here.
January 7, 2020
House likely to consider resolution of disapproval for USED borrower defense regulation: This week, the House is expected to consider H.J.Res.76, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval of the USED’s final regulation on the Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a Dear Colleague letter to the House Democratic caucus, which outlined expected legislative activity for the upcoming few weeks, including consideration of this resolution of disapproval. The resolution of disapproval proposes to overturn recent final regulations issued by the Trump Administration, but that do not go into effect until July 2020. According to the Majority Leader in the letter, the resolution will “ensure those due relief can get it,” referencing the students who have applied for discharge of loans under the borrower defense rule. The Senate would also need to approve the resolution meaning a path forward is unclear following likely House approval. The Dear Colleague letter is here.
January 3, 2020
Senior House Education and Labor Committee Republican to retire at end of this session: Representative Phil Roe (R-TN), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee announced his anticipated retirement from Congress at the conclusion of this session. In his statement, Rep. Roe stated, “As a senior member of the House Education and [Labor] Committee, I was proud to be on the forefront of some very consequential accomplishments. The work we did to help workers’ retirement security through multiemployer pension reforms in 2014 is significant. I was also pleased to be a part of passing the Every Student Succeeds Act to repeal and replace the burdensome federal mandates associated with No Child Left Behind Act.” The full statement is here.
January 3, 2020
White House outlines principles on child care reform, highlights economic benefits: On The House published a document titled, “White House Principles for Child Care Reform: Increasing Access to Affordable, High Quality Child Care in America.” The document was published following a White House summit on December 12, which focused on how child care can be improved. The principles include putting parents first; reauthorizing and reforming the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act; addressing the child care cliff; improving flexibility to address local circumstances and special populations; strengthening health and safety and increasing child care availability through improved implementation of background checks; building the supply of child care providers and increasing choices for families; exploring new incentives for businesses looking to offer child care benefits to employees; promoting innovation and modernizing the child care business model; increasing the availability of high quality child care across settings; ensuring common sense, aligned regulations for child care providers; addressing the child care workforce shortage; and developing recommendations for creating a rational financing framework for child care in America. The full principles are here.
Relatedly, the White House Council of Economic Advisers published a report titled, “The Role of Affordable Child Care in Promoting Work Outside the Home.” The report analyzes the economic and workforce impacts of access to child care. A key finding of the report includes identifying that improving the affordability of child care could help up to 10.4 million parents in entering the labor force or increase their work hours. The full report is here. A summary from the White House is here.
December 12, 2019
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED publishes webinar on use of restraint and seclusion: USED released a webinar that provided technical assistance to states and local education agencies related to the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools. The webinar follows an announcement from January 2019 that the Department would examine the possible inappropriate uses of restraint and seclusion. The webinar is here.
January 9, 2020
USED seeks to expand innovative assessments pilot program: USED published in the Federal Register a notice for proposed priorities under the State Assessments grant program. Specifically, the Department proposes to use one or more priorities to expand the number of states able to leverage the Innovative Assessment pilot program. The pilot allows states to develop and implement new testing methods or formats, while still remaining in compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Currently, only Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, and New Hampshire have received approval from USED to participate in the program. The notice is here. A POLITICO article is here.
January 8, 2020
Institute of Education Sciences (IES):
IES Director outlines accomplishments, future direction in end of year update: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) published an update from Mark Schneider, Director of IES. The update outlines recent accomplishments of IES, including improved communication of findings and guidance aimed at improving the readability of reports. Further, the Director describes efforts to increase the emphasis on long-term outcomes, including on employment and wages, and is currently designing a competition that will “incentivize research using state longitudinal data systems (SLDS).” Additionally, the Director described his frustration in the lack of progress with improving reading skills of students. “It’s not just the poor scores that depress me – it’s that we haven’t made enough progress using known science, including rigorous brain science, in teaching and improving reading.” The full update is here.
January 8, 2020
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
HHS, USED publish non-regulatory guidance on FERPA, HIPPA intersections: HHS and USED published non-regulatory joint guidance on the application of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The guidance is focused on how the two laws related to student health records. The guidance outlines what is allowable under the two laws, especially when a school provides health care to a student as part of normal course of business or transmits any personal health information electronically. The guidance is here.
Publications (Congressional and Administration):
- On January 3, the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) published a memo titled, “Federal Student Aid Posts New Reports to FSA Data Center.” The memo summarizes various quarterly reports including those on the federal student loan debt; student loan repayment; and the public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) program. Key findings of the reports include identifying that the outstanding federal student loan portfolio is $1.51 trillion; that approximately 8.1 million unique borrowers are enrolled in income-driven repayment (IDR) plans; and that of the 125,000 processed applications for loan forgiveness under PSLF, more than 74 percent were ineligible for forgiveness due to not meeting the program requirements, but over 1,500 applications have been approved resulting in $71.9 million in discharges. The full memo is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On January 9, the Education Commission of the States published a policy snapshot titled, “Dual Enrollment Access.” The publication summarized an analysis of 2019 legislation that focused on dual enrollment programs and categorized the legislation into four categories: reducing cost; expanding eligibility; removing barriers; and increasing qualified educators. Key findings of the report include identifying that at least 108 bills were introduced in 37 states; that 36 bills were enacted in 23 states; and that Tennessee enacted the most bills of any state, with four having been passed. The full report is here.
- On January 9, the Education Trust published a report titled, “Inequities in Advanced Coursework.” The report summarizes an analysis of access to advanced placement (AP), international baccalaureate (IB), and dual enrollment programs. Key findings of the report include identifying that Black and Latino students are successful in advanced courses, when they have access to participate; that Black and Latino students are not fairly represented in advanced courses; and that inequities are largely due to the under-enrollment of students in majority Black and Latino schools. The full report is here.
- On December 16, the journal of Policy Analysis and Management published a study titled, “Do Housing Vouchers Improve Academic Performance? Evidence from New York City.” The study examined the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) House Choice Voucher program and how it may impact the academic performance of students within the New York City public school system. Key findings of the study include identifying that over 88,000 students were analyzed in the study; that students in voucher households perform 0.05 standard deviations better in both English and math assessments; and that impacts were largely due to reduced rent burdens, increased disposable income, or a greater sense of residential security. The full study is here.
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- On January 14 at 10:15 am, the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a full committee markup of H.R.5191, the “Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act of 2019.” The markup will also include consideration of H.R.2694, the “Pregnant Worker Fairness Act.” The markup will be webcast here.
- On January 15 at 10:00 am, the House Budget Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Why Federal Investments Matter: Stability from Congress to State Capitals.” The hearing will feature testimony from Tracy Gordon of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, Jeanne Lambrew of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Mark Poloncarz of Erie County, New York, Larry Walther of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, and Kim Murnieks of the Ohio Office of Budget and Management. More information will be posted here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On January 16 at 3:30 pm, Future Ready will hold an event titled, “Personal & Authentic: Designing Learning Experiences that Impact a Lifetime.” The webinar will discuss Thomas Murray’s new book of the same title. Particular focus will be paid to the impact of relationships on building a culture for learning for all students. Deb Delisle, president of Alliance for Excellent Education, will moderate the conversation. More information and registration are here.
A bill to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to identify, review, and implement effective interventions in Head Start programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)
A bill to provide for a Federal partnership to ensure educational equity and quality.
Sponsor: Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
A bill to establish a rural postsecondary and economic development grant program.
Sponsor: Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
A bill to remove college cost as a barrier to every student having access to a well-prepared and diverse educator workforce, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
A bill to establish competitive Federal grants that will empower community colleges and minority-serving institutions to become incubators for infant and toddler child care talent, training, and access on their campuses and in their communities.
Sponsor: Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)