E-Update for the Week of July 11, 2022
- On July 5, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released its final priorities, definitions and selection criteria for the Charter Schools Program (CSP).
- On July 5, the Biden Administration launched the “National Partnership for Student Success,” a new coalition of education and service organizations that will support the expansion, launch and improvement of high-impact tutoring, mentoring and other programs.
- On July 6, USED released the first of two notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proposing changes to existing federal student loan discharge programs, including Borrower Defense to Repayment (BD), Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, Closed School Discharge, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED releases final priorities, definitions, and selection criteria for the Charter Schools Program (CSP): On July 5, USED released its final priorities, definitions and selection criteria for the CSP. In addition to the final rules, the Department also published notices inviting applications (NIAs) for the CSP Grants to State Entities competition, the Charter School Developers for the Opening of New Charter Schools competition, and the Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools competition. In March, the Department first released proposed priorities, definitions and selection criteria for the program that drew criticism from certain education stakeholders who argued the proposed rules placed undue burden upon applicants. One particularly controversial provision required applicants to conduct a “community impact analysis” that would demonstrate a need for a new charter school in their community. The final rule moves away from the previously proposed “community impact analysis,” and instead requires a more general “needs analysis” which “provides applicants with a number of examples of evidence they may provide to indicate the need for the proposed charter school, such as current waitlists for existing charter schools, or interest in a specialized instructional approach,” according to a blogpost from the Department. However, the final rules maintain the requirement that applicants disclose ties to for-profit entities and charter management organizations. “We are all working toward the same goal of ensuring students from all ages, backgrounds, and communities have access to high-quality education, including through high-quality public schools,” the Department wrote. “These final rules will support high-quality charter schools and the students and families they serve.” Meanwhile, in a joint statement, House Education and Labor Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) expressed their disappointment in the rules, saying that they will, “end up limiting opportunities for students and families – quashing educational freedom.” More information on the final priorities and the competitions can be found in the Federal Register notices linked above, and applications are due August 5. A fact sheet from the Department is here.
July 5, 2022
White House and USED launch new partnership to expand range of student support services: On July 5, the Biden Administration launched the “National Partnership for Student Success,” a new coalition of education and service organizations that will support the expansion, launch and improvement of high-impact tutoring, mentoring and other programs. Operating in collaboration with AmeriCorps and Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center, the Department announced that it will recruit 250,000 professionals to tutoring, mentorship, and student success coaching roles to help students make up for lost instructional time while supporting youth mental health and overall wellbeing. “Now – more than ever – students need to feel supported, seen, heard, and understood by adults within their schools and communities,” USED Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. The NPSS “will mean more students have a trusted adult in their corner and more adults are prepared to address students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs.” In conjunction with the partnership’s launch, the Department also announced that it will expand its Best Practices Clearinghouse to spotlight evidence-based and promising practices implemented by states, districts, and schools using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to support learning recovery, increased academic opportunities, and student mental health. A press release from the Department is here, and a fact sheet from the White House is here.
July 5, 2022
USED releases proposed regulations to expand federal student loan discharge programs: On July 6, USED released the first of two notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) proposing changes to existing federal student loan discharge programs, including Borrower Defense to Repayment (BD), Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, Closed School Discharge, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The NPRMs build upon previous negotiations on student loan issues in late 2021, during which consensus was reached on three issues in this package: interest capitalization, total and permanent disability discharges, and false certification discharges. While agreement was also reached on regulations governing a statutory change to make incarcerated individuals eligible to receive federal Pell Grants, the Department announced that those regulations and income-driven repayment changes will be released via a separate notice this summer. “We are committed to fixing a broken system,” USED Secretary Cardona said. “If a borrower qualifies for student loan relief, it shouldn’t take mountains of paperwork or a law degree to obtain it… These proposed regulations will protect borrowers rights, save them time, money, and frustration, and will hold their colleges responsible for wrongdoing.” The regulations will be open for comment for 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register, which is anticipated to be on or about August 7. A fact sheet from the Department is here, and a press release is here.
July 6, 2022
Upcoming Events (Congress & Administration):
- On July 14, USED Secretary Cardona and the Afterschool Alliance, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, the National League of Cities, the National Summer Learning Association, and the National Comprehensive Center at Westat, will co-host an event titled, “Engage Every Student.” The event will celebrate National Summer Learning Week and launch the Engage Every Student Initiative. More information and registration are here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On July 13 at 3:30pm, New America will host a webinar titled, “The What and Why of Educator Apprenticeship for Youth and Adults.” The webinar will explore the national momentum behind educator apprenticeships and highlight successful models for training educators. New America experts will be joined by speakers from Clarksville-Montgomery County School System and CareerWise Colorado to share opportunities, challenges, and common misconceptions about apprenticeships as a method to develop careers in education. More information and registration are here.
- On July 19 at 3:00pm, the Campaign for Grade Level Reading (CGLR) will host a webinar titled, “Building Blocks for the New Normal: Mining the Bright Spots and Silver Linings.” A panel of experts from CGLR, Digital Promise, the Foundation for Child Development, and the Annenberg Institute will discuss several pandemic-driven developments that can contribute to a better “new normal” in early childhood and elementary school systems. More information and registration are here.
Publications (Congress & Administration):
- On July 5, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report titled, “Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Education.” In the report, the GAO issues a series of recommendations for USED, “that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies.” More specifically, the recommendations aim to support the Department in protecting the investment in higher education and ensuring the well-being and education of the nation’s school-age children. The full report is here.
- On July 6, the GAO published a report titled, “Higher Education: Testing Companies Most Commonly Granted Extra Time to Accommodate Individuals with Disabilities.” The report reviewed accommodations on higher education tests. More specifically, the report examined the types of accommodations testing companies grant and how they make those decisions, the challenges associated with testing accommodations, and how the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has enforced compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requirements related to testing accommodations. The report found that the most common accommodations granted on the ACT, AP Exams, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, PSAT, and SAT, 2019-2020 were for individuals who needed extra time or adjustments to the testing environment. The full report is here.
- On July 6, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released new findings from the School Pulse Panel, updated through May 2022. According to the data, public schools reported that student chronic absenteeism and teacher absences have increased compared to prior school years. Additionally, more than 8 in 10 public schools have seen stunted behavioral and socioemotional development in their students because of the COVID-19 pandemic. More analysis of the findings are here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On July 7, EdChoice published a report titled, “How Do Teachers Spend Their Time? Reporting Findings from a National Survey of Educators in District, Charter, and Private Schools.” The paper analyzes survey results from teachers about how much time teachers spend on various activities throughout their day and how much of teachers’ time is consumed by non-teaching activities and unproductive interruptions. The report especially notes the impact of spending time on student discipline, the amount of time teachers are working outside their typical school day, and the differences among school sectors and how teachers spend their time. The full report can be found here.
- On July 7, the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) published a report titled, “How Comprehensive Student Success Programs Learned and Adapted through COVID-19.” The report analyzed student success programs throughout the pandemic to highlight insights for the field on innovative approaches to recruiting and retaining students during a time of enormous pressure and upheaval. In addition to outlining several shared challenges amongst the programs, the report explains how institutions adapted by expanding enrollment requirements and providing enhanced crisis support for students. The full report is here.
A resolution addressing the national crisis of suicide among minority adolescents.
Sponsor: Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)