E-Update for the Week of July 18, 2022
- On July 11, the White House hosted an event to commemorate the signing of S.2938, the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” which includes several provisions related to firearms and firearms safety, as well as resources to support school climate and safety improvement.
- On July 12, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released a Notice Inviting Applications for the Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) grant program.
- On July 14, USED announced the Engage Every Student Initiative, which will help education leaders ensure that every child has access to high-quality summer programming and other out-of-school time (OST) opportunities.
National Park Service (NPS) announces $9.7 million to preserve Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): On July 8, NPS announced $9.7 million in grants will be issued to preserve 21 historic structures on HBCU campuses. The grant program funds projects that include pre-preservation studies, architectural plans and specifications, historic structure reports, campus preservation plans, and National Register nominations. North Carolina A&T State University, Mississippi Industrial College, and Selma University are among recipients of this year’s programs, all of which are using funds to preserve historical structures on campus. Read more about the program here.
July 8, 2022
AmeriCorps releases new opportunities for Volunteer Generation Funds: At a recent White House event to launch the National Partnership for Student Success, AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith announced that AmeriCorps will prioritize the $20 million in Volunteer Generation Funds included in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to assist non-profit organizations, schools, and other entities in recruiting and managing volunteers in these critical positions in schools. AmeriCorps released the Notice of Funding Opportunity for this program on July 12. This new funding opportunity marks the first time that schools, nonprofits, government agencies, and faith-based or community organizations are eligible to apply. A fact sheet with more information on NPSS is here.
July 12, 2022
White House holds an event to commemorate the signing of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act: On July 11, the White House hosted an event to commemorate the signing of S.2938, the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” which includes several provisions related to firearms and firearms safety, as well as resources to support school climate and safety improvement. The bill was signed into law by President Biden on June 25 following passage in the House by a vote of 234-193 on June 24 and in the Senate by a vote of 65-33 on June 23. Specifically, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes funding to support states wishing to adopt their own laws addressing State Crisis Intervention Orders (also known as “Red Flag” laws); new penalties on “straw purchases” of guns, which are designed to cut down on illegal weapons trafficking; enhanced background checks for gun buyers under 21; and additional funding for school safety and community mental health clinics. To support children and youth within school settings, the compromise legislation provides additional funding for existing programs, including those focused on increasing the number of school-based mental health service providers and increasing school safety. President Biden remarked at the event, “This legislation is real progress, but more has to be done. The provision of this new legislation is going to save lives.” Vice President Harris spoke to the family members and friends of gun violence who were in attendance at the event saying, “In the face of so much pain, you have shown incredible strength, and it is a profound honor to stand with you today.” A fact sheet released by the White House regarding Executive Actions addressing gun violence can also be here.
July 11, 2022
White House announces $40 Billion in ARP workforce investments: On July 13, the White House hosted an event to announce a $40 billion investment in the workforce through the ARP. The American Rescue Plan Workforce Development Summit focused on three major areas of investment: building a diverse and skilled infrastructure workforce, strengthening our care and public health workforce, and expanding access to the workforce for underserved populations. Vice President Harris opened the event, stating, “Together, we are investing in training programs and apprenticeships that give workers the skills they need to take on the jobs with better wages and better benefits — in particular, workers from underrepresented backgrounds.” Vice President Harris also went on to say, “And together, we are fighting to improve and expand our childcare and healthcare workforce so that everyone who needs better care can have access to better care, no matter where they live and no matter how much money they make.” The White House fact sheet on the summit includes summaries of best practices from specific state and local policies across North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles County, CA, Franklin County, OH, Louisville, KT, among others.
July 13, 2022
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED launches $68 million competition for Full-Service Community Schools grants and releases final priorities, definitions, and requirements for the Full-Service Community Schools program: On July 12, USED released a Notice Inviting Applications for the Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) grant program. Full-service community schools provide academic supports, integrated health and social services, and engagement opportunities to students while also creating stronger connections between families, communities, and their local public schools. Alongside the announcement of the grant competition, the Department also released a notice of final priorities, definitions, and requirements for the program, under which grantees must provide a continuum of coordinated supports to students that include social, health, nutrition, and mental health services and supports. According to the Department, the new program priorities emphasize quality implementation of the four pillars of community schools: integrated student supports that address out-of-school barriers to learning through partnerships with social and health service agencies and providers; expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities; active family and community engagement; and collaborative leadership and practices. Additionally, three priorities were included to assist in scaling programs from their capacity-building or developmental phase to district and statewide phases. USED is also interested in applications that are coordinating across multiple agencies and organizations to address community violence prevention and intervention. In a statement, USED Secretary Cardona noted, “These grants will help community schools provide quality wraparound services to students and their families, from access to health care and nutritional assistance, to tutoring and enrichment opportunities, to mental health supports and violence prevention programs. For low-income rural and urban communities hit hard by the pandemic, Full-Service Community Schools will help us meet the holistic needs of students, drive our recovery, and pave the way to a more equitable future.” A fact sheet from the Department is here.
July 12, 2022
USED awards final $198 million of ARP funds to support students at community colleges, rural, and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs): On July 13, USED awarded the final $198 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grants to 244 colleges and universities to assist students in pandemic recovery efforts. Specifically, the grants were awarded to public and private non-profit colleges and universities that have the greatest unmet needs. Additionally, the institutions were chosen because they serve a high percentage of diverse student populations and low-income students, and many have experienced enrollment declines since the start of the pandemic. Of the funds awarded, USED noted that almost 90 percent will go toward HBCUs, MSIs, community colleges, rural institutions, and institutions serving large populations of low-income students. The majority of institutions are also required to distribute roughly half of all grant funds directly to students with the greatest need, which could be used for housing and tuition support, as well as address food insecurity and other basic needs. “This funding will help HBCUs, MSIs, community colleges, and other inclusive institutions better support their students, from investing in campus mental health, to providing financial relief, to meeting housing, transportation, and child care needs,” stated USED Secretary Cardona. A breakdown of state-by-state grants is here and a list of institutions who received these grants is here.
July 13, 2022
USED’s plan to provide debt relief to student borrowers who claim they were defrauded faces legal challenges: On July 13, multiple for-profit institutions of higher education filed motions to argue against the Administration’s proposed class-action settlement that would cancel the debts of 200,000 borrowers who claim they were defrauded by their college or university. In June, USED Secretary Cardona announced that the Biden Administration would fully discharge nearly $6 billion in federal student loan debt for student loan borrowers who claim they were defrauded and attended about 150 institutions (nearly all of which are for-profit institutions) identified by the Department. The announcement came as a result of a proposed settlement following several years of litigation over the “borrower defense” law, which provides debt relief to federal student loan borrowers if their college defrauds or misleads them. According to Politico, “two of the for-profit colleges named in the settlement — American National University and Lincoln Educational Services Corp. — filed a motion to intervene in the case and argue against the proposed settlement in its current iteration. Everglades College, Inc., which operates Keiser University and Everglades University, separately filed its own motion to join the lawsuit to protest the proposed settlement, which it called a ‘farce.’” Note: a subscription to Politico Pro is required to view the article. Politico notes that, “Both groups of colleges say the proposed settlement is fundamentally unfair and maligns them without giving them a chance to respond to the allegations of misconduct against them…It also potentially complicates the Biden administration’s efforts to clear out the backlog of borrower defense claims as it also rewrites the regulations governing the program to make it easier for borrowers to obtain loan forgiveness.”
July 13, 2022
USED announces new initiative to help communities utilize ARP funds for high-quality out-of-school time (OST): On July 14, USED announced the Engage Every Student Initiative, which will help education leaders ensure that every child has access to high-quality summer programming and other OST opportunities. Specifically, the Department noted that the initiative will encourage and support schools, districts, local elected officials, local government agencies, community-based organizations, states, and others connected to out-of-school time efforts to take up USED’s call to action on universal access, and to encourage the utilization of ARP resources in addition to other federal, state, and local resources to support access to OST as an evidence-based strategy to support student recovery from lost instructional time during the pandemic. The Department is coordinating the Initiative with five organizations through a public-private partnership: the Afterschool Alliance, The National Comprehensive Center, the National League of Cities, The National Summer Learning Association, and AASA, the School Superintendents Association. USED Secretary Cardona shared, “We need bold action, especially for low-income students and students of color who have historically struggled to access quality afterschool programs and rich summer learning experiences. This new partnership cements the Department of Education’s commitment to ensuring that more students have access to meaningful, enriching out-of-school programming, not just some of the day, but all day, all year round.” In addition to the launch of the initiative, the Department also announced new resources to support OST, including a $3-4 million dollar contract that will be awarded in fiscal year (FY) 2023 to provide best practices in program implementation for summer and OST and a new tool from the Institute of Education Sciences to support states, districts or programs in building and using evidence to implement afterschool and summer learning programs.
July 14, 2022
Ranking Members Burr and Foxx send a letter to USED Secretary Cardona criticizing the Department’s proposed regulations for student loan relief programs and requesting an extension of the comment period: On July 12, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) and House Committee on Education and Labor Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sent a letter to USED Secretary Cardona opposing the Department’s recently proposed regulations for federal student loan relief programs and calling for an extension of the public comment period for an additional 30 days to “ensure that the American public has the proper time to review this costly and burdensome proposal” The current deadline to submit comments regarding the proposed regulations is August 12. The letter states, “The Department claims the proposed regulations “make critical improvements to student loan discharge programs and make student loans more affordable for borrowers.” In reality, the Department is trying to regulate its way out of following duly enacted laws and to further usurp the power of the purse assigned to Congress by the U.S. Constitution.” The letter goes on further to say, “This [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking] proposes sweeping changes to federal student loan programs which are estimated to cost the American taxpayer $85.1 billion and are buried within 750 pages of bureaucratic legalese. Therefore, we write today to oppose the Department’s push for a rule of such magnitude without giving Congress and the public sufficient time to consider such changes. As such, we request an extension of the public comment period by no less than an additional 30 days.” Read the full letter here and a fact sheet on the NPRM here.
July 12, 2022
Senate Finance Committee considers nominee for Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): On July 12, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing to examine the nomination of Dr. Rebecca Lee Haffajee to be Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at HHS. Dr. Haffajee has served as Acting Assistant Secretary at ASPE for the last year. Before joining HHS, Dr. Haffajee was a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and an assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. In her testimony, Dr. Haffajee noted, “Researchers at ASPE work to ensure the President, Secretary, and leaders across HHS have the best available data and evidence when they are making decisions and measuring the impact of their decisions to improve the country’s health and well-being.” She went on to say, “If confirmed as the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, I would work to ensure that ASPE is focused on using the best research and data to expand health care access, strengthen behavioral health, and advance equity.” In his opening statement, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) emphasized the need for increased mental health resources across the country. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) called attention to Dr. Haffajee’s research on marijuana legalization, opioid addiction treatment, and public health emergencies, and raised the need for the Administration to fairly evaluate programs in these areas. A recording of the hearing can be found here.
July 12, 2022
Upcoming Events (Congress & Administration):
- On July 19 to 22, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) will hold a virtual meeting to consider applications from institutions of higher education (IHEs) for renewal of recognition, as well as compliance reports for certain IHEs. Information on how to attend and/or provide written or oral comments can be found here. Those who are interested can register here.
- On July 19 at 10:15 am, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment will hold a hearing titled, “The History and Continued Contributions of Tribal Colleges and Universities.” Witnesses have not yet been announced. More information and a livestream of the hearing will be here.
- On July 20 at 10:15 am, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections will hold a hearing titled, “Second Class Workers: Assessing H2 Visa Programs Impact on Workers.” Witnesses have not yet been announced. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- On July 20 at 10:30 am, the House Budget Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Examining the Powerful Impact of Investments in Early Childhood for Children, Families, and Our Nation’s Economy.” Witnesses include Dr. Hilary Hoynes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy and Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities, University of California Berkeley; Dr. Maureen Black, Distinguished Fellow in Early Childhood Development, RTI International, and Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine; Rasheed Malik, Director, Early Childhood Policy, Center for American Progress. The hearing will also examine a report released by the House Budget Committee highlighting the impact of investments in early childhood education. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- On July 20 at 1:00 pm, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity and the Subcommittee on Technology Modernization will hold a hearing titled, “Modernizing Veteran Education in the Shadow of COVID-19.” Witnesses have not yet been announced. More information is here.
- On July 21 at 2:00 pm, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) at the Department of Labor (DOL) will host an event titled, “Apprenticeships as a Career Pathway for Youth and Young Adults.” The virtual event will offer a space to learn about the apprenticeship system, components of high-quality pre-apprenticeship programs, and how apprenticeships compare to other models of work-based learning. The event will be moderated by Dr. Stephanie Rodriguez, Workforce & Training Fellow at the ETA, and presenters include Natalie Linton, ETA Program Analyst, and Randy Copeland, ETA Workforce Analyst. More information is here.
- On July 21 at 3:00 pm, USED, the Coalition for Community Schools, and Children’s Aid National Center are hosting the fourth webinar in a learning series on community schools titled, “Effectively Using Data for Continuous Improvement in Community Schools.” The webinar will explore how data and continuous improvement can aid in the success of Community Schools, and how some communities have used data to decrease their chronic absenteeism rate and other student success measures. More information and registration is here.
- On July 22 at 12:00 pm, the S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) will be holding a meeting to discuss 2023 and 2024 topics for USCCR reports, vote on Advisory Committee appointments, and receive presentations by State Advisory Committee Chairs on released reports and memorandums. The full agenda is here. A livestream of the meeting will be here.
- On July 27 at 2:00 pm, ETA will host a webinar titled, “Connecting Youth to Local Workforce Systems – Stories from the Field.” Participants will receive information from youth service providers on strategies and examples of how the youth workforce system operates and serves youth and young adults. The event will be moderated by ETA’s Maisha Meminger and Dr. Stephanie Rodriguez, and presenters include representatives from community workforce development organizations. More information is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On July 19 at 3:00 pm, EdReform Now will host a webinar titled, “Making the Most of Summer: State Summer Learning Plans.” Linda Jacobson from the 74 Million will host a panel discussing how states can strengthen the use of their ARP funds through evidence-based best practices and specific models for programming. Panelists include representatives from the North Carolina and Louisiana Departments of Education, the Council for Chief State School Officers, the Arkansas Out of School Network, and EdReform Now. More information and registration is here.
- On July 20 at 3:30pm, the Wallace Foundation will host a webinar titled, “Using Federal Funds for Summer Learning and Afterschool: A New Guide for Providers, School Districts and Intermediaries.”Sharing strategies from a comprehensive guide developed by EducationCounsel, participants will learn how federal funding can be used to support afterschool and summer learning programs in three categories: preparing for program delivery, creating and sustaining equitable conditions for learning, and building and aligning ecosystems of support. Panelists for the event include Shital Shah, Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships at USED, Sean Worley, author of the resource and Policy Advisor at EducationCounsel, and Barbara Couto Sipe, President and CEO of NextUp RVA. More information and registration is here.
Publications (Congress & Administration):
- On July 14, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled, “Student Population Has Significantly Diversified, but Many Schools Remain Divided Along Racial, Ethnic, and Economic Lines.” The report showed that more than a third of students attended schools where at least 75% of students were of a single race or ethnicity. It highlighted that school district boundaries can contribute to division along racial/ethnic lines. The full report is here.
- On July 13, Democratic Members of the House Budget Committee released a report titled, “Examining the Powerful Impact of Investments in Early Childhood for Children, Families, and Our Nation’s Economy.” The report highlighted the impact of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit, including that 3.7 million children were lifted out of poverty from the expanded CTC and 3.2 million children were lifted out of poverty due to the economic impact payments. It also emphasizes the potential of enacting universal child care and the research that supports increased outcomes in areas such as school readiness and college attendance as a result of such investments. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On July 11, UnidosUS published a report titled, “Latino Student Success: Advancing U.S. Educational Progress for All.” The report raises evidence that the pandemic had a disproportionately negative impact on Latino students and provides recommendations for policymakers to prioritize the needs of the Latino student population. The full report is here.
- On July 12, Education Reform Now released a new report titled, “The State of Summer Learning Grants: An Analysis of States’ Use of ARP Summer Enrichment Funds.” The report examines how states are using the federal funds on summer programs, specifically around aligning evidence-based best practices, the targeting of funds, and types of programming. It also includes a set of recommendations for federal, state, and local policymakers to advocate for effective summer programming and in-depth evaluation of programs. The full report is here.
- On July 12, the Education Development Center (EDC) released a report titled, “Supporting Quality in Summer Learning: How Districts Plan, Develop, and Implement Programs.” EDC conducted a landscape analysis to discover ways that districts are improving the quality of their summer learning initiatives. The report highlights community partnership opportunities, state, local, and other sources of funding, as well as implications for advancing policy and practices. The report can be found here.
- On July 12, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers published a new report titled, “Alternative Credentials: Considerations, Guidance, and Best Practices.” The report addresses a nation-wide increased interest in alternative credentials, particularly micro-credentials and digital badges, and proposes campus guidelines and best practices for these credentials. The report is here.
- On July 12, the Economic Policy Institute published a report titled, “Public education funding in the U.S. needs an overhaul.” The report found that the current system’s funding leads to inequities for low-income students, recessions magnify these inadequacies, and increased federal spending after recessions could help mitigate the challenges that school districts face. The report is here.
- On July 12, RAND Corporation published a report titled, “State of the Superintendent — High Job Satisfaction and a Projected Normal Turnover Rate.” Results of a field survey showed that while superintendents indicated the role has become more difficult over the past decade, their job satisfaction rate remains high. The report includes recommendations for sustaining the superintendent profession and encouraging states and districts to develop pipelines to support the field in promoting educators to the role. The full report is here.
- On July 13, the Student Experience Project (SEP), led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, published a report titled, “Increasing Equity in College Student Experience: Findings from a National Collaborative.” SEP partnered with universities to conduct research on creating equitable learning environments in higher education, and this report outlines early findings and potential next steps for university leaders. The full report is here.
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to amend the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
A bill to direct the Secretary of Education to award grants to provide financial assistance to certain educators to make down payments on certain homes, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to reauthorize the Federal Work-Study program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to establish a work-based learning opportunities pilot grant program.
Sponsor: Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA)
A bill to prohibit the Secretary of Agriculture from establishing or enforcing certain requirements related to spaces reserved for biological males and biological females in schools that participate in the school meal programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ)
A bill to repeal the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO)
A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to exclude child and dependent care services and payments from the rate used to compute overtime compensation.
Rep: Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
A bill to authorize the Secretary of Education to make grants to local educational agencies to make physical improvements at the elementary schools and secondary schools served by such agencies, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Jefferson Van Drew
A resolution expressing the commitment of the Senate to building on the 20 years of success of the George McGovern-Robert Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.
Sponsor: Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)