E-Update for the Week of July 27, 2020

E-Update for the Week of July 27, 2020

Highlights:

  • On July 22 and 23, details began to emerge for what Senate Republicans will include in their proposed fourth coronavirus relief bill. According to multiple reports, including POLITICO, the $1 trillion package will include $15 billion for childcare and $105 billion for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education programs.
  • On July 23, the CDC published new guidance to support child care and schools in planning to reopen. The CDC published supplemental guidance, to its earlier publications, focused on how schools should consider the latest science related to transmission risk, and the costs and benefits of opening schools.
  • On July 20, the House Appropriations Committee announced that the full House will consider a seven-bill minibus including various fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills. The minibus, H.R.7617, will include the FY2021 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS).

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):

Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of July 24. 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:

Senate:

Next Republican pandemic relief bill begins to take shape, final bipartisan bill still far out of sight: Details began to emerge for what Senate Republicans will include in their proposed fourth coronavirus relief bill. According to multiple reports, including POLITICO, the $1 trillion package will include $15 billion for childcare and $105 billion for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education programs. The latter amount is expected to include $5 billion for governors to support elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education; $30 billion for institutions of higher education; $30 billion for public elementary and secondary schools; $10 billion for private elementary and secondary schools; and $30 billion for elementary and secondary schools that reopen in the fall. The Republican package has not yet been finalized and Senate Republicans are expected to continue conversations with the White House before releasing their plan sometime next week. Once released, Senate Republicans will still need to negotiate with House and Senate Democrats to reach a final compromise. Members are working against their scheduled August recess, which begins on August 6, but negotiations could continue past that date. A POLITICO article is here. A statement from the White House, which outlines President Donald Trump’s priorities for school reopening and support for private schools, is here.

Relatedly, on July 23, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced that as part of the Senate relief package, there will be provisions to support federal student loan borrowers. Specifically, the Senate Republican proposal for a relief package will include the Chairman’s “Student Loan Repayment and FAFSA Simplification Act.” The bill would ensure that student loan borrowers are able to access and continue an income-based repayment plan and would include a proposal to reduce and simplify the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A press release is here. A summary of the Chairman’s bill is here.
July 22 and 23, 2020

Scott, Alexander introduce relief bill focused on private school voucher programs: Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced S.4284, the “School Choice Now Act.” The bill would provide a one-time, emergency appropriation for scholarship-granting organizations in each state, which are responsible for administering private school voucher programs within the state; would provide dollar-for-dollar federal tax credits for contributions to scholarship-granting organizations, capped at $5 billion per year; and would allow states to create their own tax credit scholarship program. “We must ensure that all children have access to the necessary resources and opportunities – education included – to live a successful life,” stated Senator Scott. A press release is here. The bill is here.
July 22, 2020

House:

House education panel explores costs to reopening, need for public health guidance for planning: TheHouse Education and Labor Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Underfunded and Unprepared: Examining How to Overcome Obstacles to Safely Reopen Public Schools.” The hearing focused on what districts and states need in order to reopen safely and how they should consider the public health guidelines of their regions to inform their reopening plans. The Subcommittee was originally expecting to hear testimony by Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Instead, the Subcommittee heard testimony by Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent of Dallas Independent School District; Ms. Leslie Boggs, President of the National Parent Teacher Association; Dr. Penny Schwinn, Tennessee Commission of Education; and Dr. Sean O’Leary, Vice Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics. A recording of the hearing is here.
July 23, 2020

Administration:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

CDC releases revised school reopening guidance, notes science of child infection rate still unclear: The the CDC published new guidance to support child care and schools in planning to reopen. The CDC published supplemental guidance, to its earlier publications, focused on how schools should consider the latest science related to transmission risk, and the costs and benefits of opening schools. The guidance outlines the benefits associated with schools reopening such as support for students’ academic, social, and mental health needs; access to school nutrition programs; and supports for students with disabilities. According to a statement associated with the guidance, the CDC states that “the best available evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children.” The supplemental guidance is here. The CDC statement is here.
July 23, 2020

Non-Coronavirus Updates:

Budget and Appropriations:

House to consider seven-bill spending minibus this week, including FY21 Education funding: The House Appropriations Committee announced that the full House will consider a seven-bill minibus including various fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills. The minibus, H.R.7617, will include the FY2021 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS). A floor vote has not yet been scheduled, but the House Rules Committee will meet on July 27 to consider amendments to the bill. A press release is here. A division-by-division summary of the minibus is here. Amendments filed on the bill are here.
July 20, 2020

Congress:

House:

House adopts private student loan forgiveness as part of annual Defense authorization bill: The House passed the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes a number of U.S. Department of Defense programs. As part of the bill’s floor debate, Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) offered an amendment that would require the U.S. Treasury Department to provide up to $10,000 in automatic student loan forgiveness for private student loan borrowers. The amendment was adopted by a 217-198 largely partisan vote. Further, Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) offered an amendment that would suspend monthly payments and interest accrual on private student loans until October 2021. The amendment was adopted by voice vote. While unlikely to be included in a final negotiated bill with the Senate, the amendments could be issues that are resolved in upcoming negotiations around an additional federal coronavirus relief bill. Previously, the “Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security” (CARES) Act only provided temporary payment relief to federal student loan borrowers through September 30, 2020. A POLITICO article is here. Rep. Dean’s amendment is here. Rep. Adams’s amendment is here.
July 21, 2020

Administration:

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

DeVos announces $85 million for DC school voucher program over next five years: USED Secretary DeVos announced that the Department will award $85 million over the next five years to students and families in Washington, D.C. as part of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. “Students and parents love the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program because it gives them the freedom to choose the right education fit for them,” stated the Secretary. According to the Department, nearly 10,000 students have been awarded since the program began in 2003 with 40,000 students having applied for the scholarships over the same period. A press release is here.
July 22, 2020

Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):

  • On July 27 at 2:00 pm, the House Rules Committee will meet to consider the rule to bring to the floor next week, H.R. 7617, an appropriations minibus, including the FY2021 Labor/HHS bill. The meeting announcement is here. Amendments filed on the bill are here.
  • On July 29, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a full Committee hearing titled, “Preparing to Head Back to Class: Addressing How to Safely Reopen Bureau of Indian Education Schools.” No witnesses have yet been announced. More information will be posted here.
  • 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.
  • On July 31 at 10:30 am, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will hold a meeting. The agenda includes COVID-19 and policy implications for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). More information is here.

Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):

  • 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 the third part of a four-part series. More information and registration are here.
  • On July 30 at 2:30 pm, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will hold an event titled, “COVID-19 this fall: Public health, the economy, and schools.” The webinar will discuss how the pandemic has upended American public life and what is the nation’s outlook going forward. Panelists will include Scott Gottlieb, Michael Strain, and Rick Hess. More information and registration are here.
  • On July 31 at 12:00 pm, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will hold an event titled, “Beyond the Classroom: Student Life During COVID-19.” The webinar will focus on how the pandemic will impact campus student life, student organizations, and preparing students to reflect on nationally important issues during the 2020 election. 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 (Outside Organizations):

  • On July 24, the Urban Institute published a report titled, “Meeting the School-Age Child Care Needs of Working Parents Facing COVID-19 Distance Learning.” The report outlines challenges that families with low-incomes, families with higher health risks, and families who face employment inequities will face as schools and communities reopen or remain closed. Key findings of the report include identifying that in 2019, 76 percent of mothers with a child between the ages of 6 and 17 were employed, with 80 percent of them employed full time; that working parents need at least 43.5 hours per week of child care coverage; and that hybrid school reopening models that have children at school half time would require parents to find care for 28.5 hours per week. The full report is here.
  • On July 22, the Alliance for Excellent Education published a report titled, “Students of Color Caught in the Homework Gap.” The report summarizes a study of student access to technology or high-speed internet necessary to participate in remote learning. Key findings of the report include identifying that 16.9 million children lack the home internet necessary to support online learning; that Black, Latino, and Native American students were more likely to not have access to high-speed home internet; and that Black, Latino, and Native American students were twice as likely as White students to live in a household without a computer. The full report is here.
  • On July 22, the Century Foundation published a report titled, “Closing America’s Education Funding Gaps.” The report summarizes a study of education spending across all 50 states, including per pupil expenditures. Key findings of the report include identifying that the United States is underfunding public education by nearly $150 billion annually; and that the majority of school districts in the country will need a significantly higher public investment in order to overcome a “funding gap,” which exists because current investments are below the nation’s average. The publication includes an interactive data exploration tool which provides specific spending information on each school district in the country. The full report is here.
  • On July 22, New America published a report titled, “Grow Your Own Teachers: A 50-State Scan of Policies and Programs.” The report summarizes a review of national “grow your own” programs, which are highly-localized teacher preparation programs that are designed to meet the needs of the school systems in which prospective teachers will work. Key findings of the report include identifying that grow your own programs vary in definitions across localities; that most states have at least one grow your own program, but there is large variety in program design and strategy; and that pathways for high school students are the most common type of grow your own program. The full report is here.

Legislation:

H.R.7692
A bill to provide a grant program for elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher education to help offset costs associated with complying with guidelines, recommendations, and other public health communications issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a State, Indian Tribe, Tribal organization, or locality related to mitigating the hazards presented by COVID-19.
Sponsor: Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV)

H.R.7693
A bill to establish a grant program to fund the installation of green roof systems on public school buildings, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)

H.R.7704
A bill to amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to establish the Food and Nutrition Education in Schools Pilot Program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK)

H.R.7706
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to encourage voting by students and to establish emergency procedures for institutions of higher education to assist students in exercising their right to vote.
Sponsor: Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL)

H.R.7710
A bill to provide liability protection for elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher education during the COVID-19 public health emergency, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Gregory Murphy (R-NC)

H.R.7720
A bill to permit child care providers that receive payment for services provided under the of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to use a portion of such payment to pay the cost of sanitization and other costs associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency, necessary to protect the health of participating children and child care workers.
Sponsor: Rep. Gilbert Cisneros (D-CA)

H.R.7726
A bill to permit child care providers that receive payment for services provided under the of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to use a portion of such payment to purchase personal protective equipment, and other equipment, necessary to protect the health of participating children and child care workers.
Sponsor: Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL)

H.R.7736
A bill to require elementary schools and secondary schools to provide an option for safe, in-person attendance during school year 2020-2021.
Sponsor: Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA)

H.R.7737
A bill to amend the Federal Pell Grant Program to support career training opportunities for young Americans.
Sponsor: Rep. John Carter (R-TX)

H.R.7739
A bill to establish eligibility requirements for education support professionals under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL)

H.R.7746
A bill to direct the Secretary of Education to establish a formula grant program to provide funds to assist educational agencies with expenses related to resuming educational activities during the 2020-2021 school year arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. French Hill (R-AR)

H.R.7758
A bill to provide for assistance to rural health, education, and public safety facilities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA)

H.R.7761
A bill to provide for student loan forgiveness for public service workers whose employment may have been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Sponsor: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

H.R.7763
A bill to direct the Secretary of Education to develop and disseminate an evidence-based curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12 on substance use disorders.
Sponsor: Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX)

H.R.7764
A bill to temporarily modify child nutrition programs due to COVID-19, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)

S.4221
A bill to provide for grants to support the provision of child care by reopening and maintaining the operation of child care programs.
Sponsor: Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)

S.4237
A bill to extend zero interest rate benefits and payment suspension to all Federal student loan borrowers, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Jack Reed (D-RI)

S.4247
A bill to simplify loan repayment for Federal student loans under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, to make it easier to apply for Federal aid and making that aid predictable, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

S.4254
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to encourage voting by students and to establish emergency procedures for institutions of higher education to assist students in exercising their right to vote.
Sponsor: Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO)

S.4261
A bill to establish a grant program to assist elementary and secondary schools with reopening after closures related to COVID-19, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator David Purdue (R-GA)

S.4284
A bill to provide for emergency education freedom grants, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to establish tax credits to encourage individual and corporate taxpayers to contribute to scholarships for students through eligible scholarship-granting organizations, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)

S.4285
A bill to establish a pilot program through which the Institute of Museum and Library Services shall allocate funds to States for the provision of Internet-connected devices to libraries.
Sponsor: Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)

S.4292
A bill to prohibit Federal funds from being made available to teach the 1619 Project curriculum in elementary schools and secondary schools, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)

S.4302
A bill to utilize national service programs to directly respond to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
Sponsor: Senator Todd Young (R-IN)

S.4310
A bill to prohibit in-person instructional requirements during the COVID-19 emergency.
Sponsor: Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)

S.4314
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to address the teacher and school leader shortage in early childhood, elementary, and secondary education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)

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