E-Update for January 22, 2016

E-Update for January 22, 2016


On January 19, the Administration called for significant new investments in the federal Pell Grant program. Specifically, the Administration supports two new proposals to encourage students to accelerate their progress towards degrees. First, the Pell for Accelerated Completion would allow full-time students the opportunity to earn a third semester of Pell Grants in an academic year, allowing them to take additional courses during the summer. Second, the On-Track Pell Bonus would incentivize students to stay on track or accelerate their progress by increasing the maximum Pell Grant award by $300 for students who take 15 credits per semester in an academic year. These two new programs would expand the Pell grant program by $2 billion. A fact sheet is available here.

U.S Congress

Senate Agriculture Committee Passes Bipartisan Reauthorization of Child Nutrition Programs: The “Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016,” a bipartisan effort to reauthorize America’s child nutrition programs, passed the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously by a voice vote. The bill, sponsored by Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), would streamline summer and after-school meals programs to make it easier to serve children throughout the year.
January 20, 2016

Summary of the Budget and Economic Outlook 2016-2026: This report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects solid economic growth this year and next, but also predicts that the deficit this year will increase, relative to the size of the economy, for the first time since 2009. Specifically, the report projects that the deficit in 2016 will be $544 billion, CBO estimates, $105 billion more than the deficit recorded last year. This summary was released ahead of the full report to assist Congress as they work on the 2017 budget resolution. More details will be available in the full report, to be released on January 25.
January 19, 2016


USED and HHS Send Letter to States and Districts on Supporting Collaboration between the Health and Education Sectors: The Departments of Education (USED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) sent a letter to governors, chief state school officers, state health officials, and others recommending action steps to better coordinate health and education services for all families. USED and HHS also released a new toolkit that highlights five opportunities for states and local school districts to support stronger communities through collaboration between education and health sectors.
January 15, 2016

USED’s OCR Reaches Agreement with Toledo Public Schools on Equitable Access to Resources for African American Students: USED’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) reached an agreement with Toledo Public Schools to ensure compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act in providing equitable resources to African American students. OCR’s compliance review of Toledo Public Schools in 2010 had revealed several potential Title VI compliance concerns around equitable access to resources for African American students, including experienced teachers, teachers with master’s degrees, library access for K-8 students, and distance learning classes for high school students. The resolution agreement addresses all the OCR’s concerns.
January 21, 2016

USED Hosts Regional Meeting for Stakeholders to Provide Input on ESSA Implementation and Guidance: USED hosted a regional meeting in Los Angeles for the public to provide advice and recommendations concerning issues in ESSA for which regulations may be helpful to clarify statutory ambiguities or provide appropriate flexibility. This is the second of two meetings for this purpose. USED also issued a Request for Information (RFI), soliciting from stakeholders recommendations and advice for regulations or guidance on the implementation of various Title I programs. Comments in response to the RFI were required to be submitted by January 21.
January 19, 2016


On January 26, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Expanding Educational Opportunity Through School Choice.” The hearing will take place at 10:00am in room HVC-210 of the Capitol Visitor Center. Additional information, including the live webcast of the hearing, will be available here.

On January 26, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing focused on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) Budget and Economic Outlook for fiscal years 2016-2026. CBO Director Keith Hall will be testifying. Additional information, including the live webcast of the hearing, will be available here.

New Legislation

S.2456 : A bill to simplify and improve the Federal student loan program through income-contingent repayment to provide stronger protections for borrowers, encourage responsible borrowing, and save money for taxpayers.
Sponsor: Sen Warner, M. [VA] (introduced 1/20/2016)
Committees: Senate Finance

S.2455 : Educational Freedom Accounts Act.
Sponsor: Sen Cruz, Ted [TX] (introduced 1/20/2016)      Cosponsors (None)
Committees: Senate Finance

S.2445 : A bill to improve the effectiveness and coordination of nutrition education.
Sponsor: Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN] (introduced 1/19/2016)      Cosponsors (1)
Committees: Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 

S.2457 : A bill amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the exclusion for employer-provided education assistance to employer payments of student loans.
Sponsor: Sen Warner, Mark R. [VA] (introduced 1/20/2016)      Cosponsors (2)
Committees: Senate Finance


Parallel Play in the Education Sandbox: The Common Core and Politics of Transpartisan Coalitions: In this report, authors Patrick McGuinn and Jonathan Supovitz offer a detailed post-mortem of the unlikely alliance of political polar opposites against Common Core. The report forms part of the Strange Bedfellows paper series, led by the New Models of Policy Change Project in New America’s Political Reform Program. The series examines how new policy ideas emerge from unlikely corners of the right or left, and find allies on the other side who may come to the same idea from very different worldviews—a “transpartisan” approach. The project has explored successes, failures and key figures of this transpartisan approach to policy change over four case studies in criminal justice reform, Pentagon spending reductions, climate change, and, now, opposition to Common Core education standards.
January 21, 2016

Pennsylvania’s Tool for Evaluating School Leaders: Final Findings from a Pilot: This series of reports examines the accuracy of performance ratings from the Framework for Leadership (FFL), Pennsylvania’s tool for evaluating the leadership practices of principals and assistant principals. The report found that the tool was reliable and that there was evidence of the FFL’s concurrent validity: principals with higher scores on the FFL, on average, make larger estimated contributions to student achievement growth. This evidence of the validity of the FFL sets it apart from other principal evaluation tools: no other measures of principals’ professional practice have been shown to be related to principals’ effects on student achievement.
January 21, 2016


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