E-Update for the Week of July 20, 2020

E-Update for the Week of July 20, 2020

Highlights:

  • On July 14, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released the “Back to Work Child Care Grants Act of 2020.”
  • On July 13, the full House Appropriations Committee completed a markup of the FY 2021 Labor/HHS appropriations bill. The bill was reported favorably out of Committee by a 30-22 partisan vote.
  • On July 13, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a Dear Colleague Letter to outline the House floor schedule for the rest of July. Included in the letter, the Majority Leader indicated that during the week of July 27, the House could consider the next coronavirus relief package, which will be dependent on action in the Senate.

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):

Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of July 17. Given the fast-moving nature of congressional and Administrative actions to address the growing pandemic, we will do our best to update this information as quickly as possible.

Congress:

Congressional Democrats calls for investigation into USED implementation of CARES: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) sent a letter to the acting Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education (USED). The Members called on the Inspector General to investigate the Department’s execution of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, specifically the Act’s provisions to support schools during the pandemic. “We ask that you pay particular attention to the Department’s implementation of key provisions of this law, including interpretations of provisions under the Act, policy decisions and decision-making processes, the guidance provided to States, educational institutions, students and families, any misconduct by the Secretary of Education or any member of her staff, the extent to which assistance is reaching institutions, school districts, and postsecondary students as intended, and whether the Department or any of its employees violated any applicable laws or regulations in the implementation of the CARES Act,” wrote the Members. Additionally, they requested that the Inspector General investigate the Department’s decision and interpretation of the CARES Act to prohibit students who are not eligible to receive federal student aid from receiving CARES Act relief grants. A press release is here. The letter is here.
July 16, 2020

Congressional Democrats concerned with DeVos CARES higher ed guidance: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-VA), and House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) sent a letter to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos expressing their concern with the Department’s guidance related to emergency student grants as provided by the CARES Act. The letter outlines that the congressional Democrats disagree with the Department’s guidance arguing that the Department has established “arbitrary and unauthorized restrictions that target some of the most vulnerable students.” A press release is here. The letter is here.
July 15, 2020

Senate:

Ernst, Alexander release child care relief and support bill: Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released the “Back to Work Child Care Grants Act of 2020.” The bill would support child care providers and parents by providing financial assistance to providers who reopen; allowing for states to design state-specific plans to support child care centers; and requiring that all providers receiving assistance follow all state and local health and safety guidelines. A press release is here. A summary of the proposal is here. The bill is here.
July 14, 2020

House:

Scott, Grijalva seek info on how USED has supported Puerto Rico during pandemic: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos requesting more information related to distribution of emergency educational relief to Puerto Rico. The Members outlined that the CARES Act included funding for education relief for all states and territories, including Puerto Rico, but the Department has only allocated $7 million to the region. “While ensuring recipients have sufficient internal controls to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse is paramount to the successful implementation of any program, delayed funding distribution has undermined the core purpose of this program,” wrote the Members. A press release is here. The full letter is here.
July 16, 2020

Hoyer outlines House floor schedule for July, could see next COVID relief vote as early as next week: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a Dear Colleague Letter to outline the House floor schedule for the rest of July. Included in the letter, the Majority Leader indicated that during the week of July 27, the House could consider the next coronavirus relief package, which will be dependent on action in the Senate. Further, Majority Leader Hoyer expects that the House will consider H.R. 7027, the “Child Care is Essential Act,” and H.R. 7327, the “Child Care for Economic Recovery Act.” Lastly, the letter alluded to the possibility that the House may consider the fiscal year (FY) 2021 Labor/HHS appropriations bill that week as well. The House is currently scheduled to begin its annual August recess on August 3; however, the Majority Leader indicated that this could be delayed if additional time is needed to complete the next coronavirus relief package stating “Regardless, the House will return, if needed, to do its job whenever required to help Americans get through this crisis.” The full letter is here.
July 13, 2020

Administration:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

ICE reverses previous announcement barring international students from staying in country if enrolled online: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a reversal of a previous announcement to prevent international students from attending schools operating entirely online. Previously, ICE announced it was planning to offer a temporary final rule for the fall 2020 semester that would prohibit nonimmigrant students from remaining in the United States if they were taking their courses entirely online. In response to the original announcement, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE to prevent the policy from being enacted. The reversal in position was announced at a preliminary hearing but the case has not fully closed.
July 14, 2020

Non-Coronavirus Updates:

Budget and Appropriations:

House appropriators advance Labor/HHS FY21 spending bill, floor vote could happen by end of month: The full House Appropriations Committee completed a markup of the FY 2021 Labor/HHS appropriations bill. The bill was reported favorably out of Committee by a 30-22 partisan vote. There were six amendments considered during the markup, only one of which was related to education programs. House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) offered, and immediately withdrew, an amendment related to the Charter Schools program, which would have restored a proposed $40 million cut within the bill. The bill is likely to be considered by the full House within the next few weeks. A summary provided by the House Appropriations Committee is here. The bill is here. The report is here. A statement by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) is here. A statement from House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) is here.
July 13, 2020

Administration:

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

States file lawsuit against USED for borrower defense rule: Twenty-three state attorneys general, including the District of Columbia, filed a federal lawsuit against USED in attempts to block the Department’s rule related to borrower defense. The lawsuit claims that the rule is “arbitrary and capricious” and violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The suit is filed in the Northern District of California. A POLITICO article is here. (NOTE: A subscription to POLITICO Pro is required.)
July 15, 2020

Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):

  • On July 22 at 2:30 pm, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a full Committee hearing titled, “Protecting the Integrity of College Athletics.” No witnesses have yet to be announced. More information is here.
  • On July 23 at 10:15 am, the House Education and Labor Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee while hold a hearing titled, “Underfunded and Underprepared: Examining How to Overcome Obstacles to Safely Reopen Public Schools.” The hearing was expected to feature testimony by Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Robert Redfield; however, a POLITICO article reported that the White House is blocking Dr. Redfield’s testimony. More information on the hearing is here. The POLITICO article is here. (NOTE: A subscription to POLITICO Pro is required).
  • On July 29 and 30, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) will hold a meeting. The Committee will focus on various applications for institutional approval and recognition. More information is here.

Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):

  • On July 20 at 1:00 pm, Bellwether Education Partners will hold a webinar titled, “Making Next Year Count: Equity in School Accountability.” Speakers will include Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida; John B. King, Jr., former U.S. Secretary of Education and President and CEO of The Education Trust; and Carissa Moffat Miller, Executive Director of Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The discussion will explore how statewide standards and annual testing should move forward next year and beyond as tools for achievement, transparency, and equity, as well as key ways leaders should make their testing and accountability systems resilient to changing circumstances on the ground. More information and registration are
  • On July 20 at 11:00 am, the Committee for Children and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) will hold a congressional briefing to address the critical need for social-emotional learning (SEL), especially as schools being to reopen. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will speak at the event. More information and registration are here.
  • On July 21 at 3:00 pm, the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and EducationCounsel will hold an event titled, “Connecting K-12 and Higher Education Through the Use of Performance Assessments.” The webinar will address why and how to align K-12 performance assessment systems for use in higher education and will focus on why such alignment is critical to support access to higher education for groups historically underrepresented in institutions of higher education. The webinar is part of the Reimagining College Access (RCA) initiative. More information and registration are here.
  • On July 22 at 3:00 pm, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will hold an event titled, “The educational and economic implications of COVID-19 on American families.” The webinar will discuss the various ways that the pandemic has impacted families and will focus on how parents are feeling about schools reopening, what they believe schools should provide over the summer, and their current worries about racism and discrimination in school. More information and registration are here.
  • On July 22 at 3:00 pm, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will hold an event titled, “Start with Equity – Addressing Harsh Discipline and its Disproportionate Application.” The webinar will explore discipline practices in learning settings and the disproportionate application on students of color – particularly Black children, children with disabilities, and boys. This is the second part of a four-part series. More information and registration are here.
  • On July 28 at 3:00 pm, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will hold an event titled, “Start with Equity – Expanding Inclusive Learning for Children with Disabilities.” The webinar will explore segregated learning for children with disabilities. This is third part of a four-part series. More information and registration are here.
  • On August 6 at 3:00 pm, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will hold an event titled, “Start with Equity – Equitably Expanding High Quality Learning Opportunities for Dual Language and English Learners.” The webinar will explore inequitable access to bilingual learning opportunities and the persistent status quo of “English-only” instruction. This is the fourth and final part of a four-part series. More information and registration are here.

Publications (Congressional and Administration):

  • On July 15, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) published a report titled, “Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019.” The annual report summarizes a study of topics such as victimization, bullying and electronic bullying, school conditions, fights, weapons, and student perceptions of personal safety at school. Key findings of the report include identifying that during the 2017-2018 school year, 51 percent of public schools provided diagnostic mental health assessment to students; 52 percent of public schools reported that inadequate funding was a major limitation to provide mental health services to students; and that in the 2018-2019 school year, there were 66 reported school shootings with casualties at public and private elementary and secondary schools. The full report is here.

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On July 15, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a report titled, “Reopening K-12 Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The report examines plans to reopen schools and argues that decisions need to be informed by the most-up-to-date evidence about the pandemic. Key considerations and recommendations include identifying that plans need to account for closures impact on students and families; understand the full complexities of operating school buildings during a pandemic; and urges districts to consider supporting younger children in limited reopenings before older children given capacity constraints. The full report is here.
  • On July 15, NWEA published a report titled, “Assessment and accountability in a post-coronavirus world.” The report examines how assessments and accountability systems can support reopening plans, including how to understand student learning loss. Key recommendations of the report include identifying that assessments should be used to drive equitable outcomes and to ensure that students can access high-quality content; that states should prioritize innovative statewide assessment design; and that states should be intentional about using growth and proficiency within accountability systems. The full report is here.
  • On July 14, the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) published a report titled, “First District Reopening Plans Illuminate Tradeoffs and Confusion in Politically Charged Environment.” The report summarizes a review of district and state reopening plans and identifies trends across them. Key findings of the report include identifying that health and safety planning dominates districts’ information; that districts are planning for a variety of contingencies, including at least some in-person learning time; and that almost all plans reviewed include some in-person learning this fall. The full report is here.
  • On July 14, Democrats for Education Reform Now published a report titled, “An Education Policy Agenda for the 117th Congress and Administration.” The report outlines a series of recommendations for both Congress and an incoming administration to consider. Key recommendations include expanding access to affordable and flexible high-quality early education; promoting resource equity and significantly increasing federal investments in Title I, Title III, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs; and promoting that all two- and four-year public colleges, as well as private Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) be debt-free. The full set of recommendations are here.
  • On July 9, the Brookings Institution published a report titled, “About 14 million children in the US are not getting enough to eat.” The report summarizes a study of food security within United States households, and how the pandemic has impacted this. Key findings of the report include identifying that 16.5 percent of households with children reported children were sometimes or often not getting enough to eat; that during the pandemic food insecure households with children increased 5.6 times compared to all of 2018 and increased 2.7 times compared to the 2008 Great Recession; and that 17.4 percent of mothers with children 12 and under reported their children were not eating enough because they could not afford enough food. The full report is here.
  • On July 1, the American Psychological Association (APA) published a report titled, “Racialized Emotion Recognition Accuracy and Anger Bias of Children’s Faces.” The report summarizes a study of adult racial bias and perceptions of how angry a child may be. Key findings of the report include identifying that adults had a significantly significant false anger perception toward Black boys and Black girls; that Black boys and Black girls were falsely seen as angry more often than White boys and White girls; and that implicit or explicit racial bias did not increase the odds of Black children being victim to anger bias. The full report is here.

Legislation:

H.R.7587
A bill to improve the literacy and English skills of English language learners, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)

H.R.7591
A bill to support the health and well-being of current and former foster care youth transitioning into adulthood.
Sponsor: Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)

H.R.7601
A bill to establish limitations regarding Confucius Institutes, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL)

H.R.7614
A bill to provide appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies.
Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

H.R.7635
A bill to direct the Secretary of Labor to award grants to develop, administer, and evaluate early childhood education apprenticeships, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)

H.R.7662
A bill to modify certain requirements of LIHEAP for purposes of the use of certain funds appropriated in fiscal year 2020, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI)

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