E-Update for the Week of July 30, 2018
- On July 25, Congress passed and sent to President Donald Trump H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act,” to reauthorize Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. The Senate passed its version of the bipartisan bill on July 23, which was then quickly adopted by the House. It is expected President Trump will sign the bill soon.
- On July 24, all 17 Democratic members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee released the “Aim Higher Act,” which is their version of a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).
- On July 25, USED proposed a new package of higher education regulations regarding the Obama-era “borrower defense to repayment” rules. The rules previously allowed student borrowers to seek relief from student loan payments due to fraud or other misrepresentation by their college or university. The newly proposed regulations would still allow for these claims but would make the standards more strict for student borrowers. The notice will be officially posted in the Federal Register on July 31 and will accept public comment for 30 days.
Budget & Appropriations:
Timing for Consideration of a Senate Labor/HHS, Defense Appropriations Mini-Bus To Be Determined: This week, Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) stated to CQ, “Our current plan would be to finish these four bills up early next week and then when we get back from the break to take Labor/HHS and Defense as a package to the floor and finish that before Labor Day.” It is important to note that since the floor schedule is still being determined that the U.S. Senate could begin consideration of a fiscal year (FY) 2019 Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations and the FY2019 Senate Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations mini-bus package (a combination of 2-3 appropriations bills) at some point next week following completion of its current work, but that timing would likely not allow for completion of the package prior to the upcoming, one-week Senate recess.
Earlier this week, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) delivered remarks indicating that the Senate could possibly consider a Labor/HHS and DoD mini-bus package as early as the week of July 30. However, since the Senate Chairman’s remarks, work on the appropriations package that the Senate had been considering this week stalled and will carry over to the week of July 30. Video of Senator Shelby’s remarks can be found here.
July 26, 2018
Senate Democrats Request Appropriators Reject House Religious Exception Provision: Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) led 39 Senate Democratic members in sending a letter to the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them not to include in a Senate bill or a final bill a provision included in the FY2019 House Labor/HHS bill. The provision would allow the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to withhold federal funding from states with nondiscrimination policies that prevent adoption and child welfare agencies from refusing to provide services to children and parents on the basis of religion, LGBTQ status, or family structure. The press release is here. The letter is here.
July 25, 2018
Enzi, Alexander Request CBO Examine Federal Loan Policies: Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) requested that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) examine the effects of federal loan policies on borrowing, loan repayment, cancellation, discharge, and forgiveness. Particularly, the Chairmen are concerned with the financial status and sustainability of income-driven-repayment (IDR) plans. The press release is here. The letter is here.
July 19, 2018
Congress Passes Reauthorization of CTE Bill, Sends to President: Congress passed and sent to President Donald Trump H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act,” to reauthorize Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. Key provisions of the bill include the continued allocation of nearly $1.2 billion in state grants to train students and workers to compete for high-skilled industry jobs. The bill would also eliminate the negotiation process between states and the USED when crafting their CTE program performance goals. The Senate passed its version of the bipartisan bill on July 23, which was then quickly adopted by the House.
President Trump stated, “I applaud Congress for its tremendous, bipartisan effort to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins)… By enacting it into law, we will continue to prepare students for today’s constantly shifting job market, and we will help employers find the workers they need to compete.” It is expected President Trump will sign the bill soon. U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos stated, “Congress came together to expand educational pathways and opportunities and give local communities greater flexibility in how best to prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow.” The statement from the President is here. The statement from Secretary DeVos is here.
The press release from the Senate HELP Committee is here. A statement from Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) is here. A joint statement by House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here. A statement by Chairwoman Foxx (R-NC) and Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) is here. A statement by Ranking Member Scott (R-VA) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) is here.
July 25, 2018
HELP Committee Explores Modernizing Apprenticeships: The Senate HELP Committee conducted a hearing titled, “Modernizing Apprenticeships to Expand Opportunities,” to explore how a modernized approach to apprenticeships may help more industries use apprenticeships to train skilled workers. During the hearing, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) highlighted, “concerns with the burdens of the registered apprenticeship programs’ requirements, which may discourage businesses from creating a registered apprenticeship program.” He also noted that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion recommended that the Administration promote high-quality industry recognized apprenticeships. This issue is expected to receive further attention as the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will need to resolve in FY2019 whether to expand the ability to use federal funding for apprenticeship programs, including non-registered apprenticeship programs. Senator Alexander’s opening remarks are here.
July 26, 2018
Murray, Warren Request NACIQI Expedite Study On Accreditation Process for For-Profit Conversions: Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murry (D-WA) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with three other Senate Democratic members, sent a letter to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) urging the federal accreditation advisory committee to work expeditiously to study how college accreditors approve for-profit to nonprofit college conversions. The letter requests that NACIQI, “release the subcommittee findings and report within the next three months so that its recommendations can inform the Department’s intended rulemaking in this area.” The letter is here.
July 20, 2018
House Democrats Release HEA Reauthorization Bill, “Aim Higher Act”: All 17 Democratic members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee released the “Aim Higher Act,” which is their version of a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The Democratic bill is in response to the Republican-led reauthorization, titled the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act,” which was voted out of committee in December 2017. The Minority press release is here. A summary of comments made by relevant organizations is here. Bill text is attached.
Key provisions of interest included in the bill are: simplification of the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); an increase of the maximum Pell Grant Award by $500 each award year and indexing of the Pell Grant to inflation; the elimination of the student record data ban (in line with H.R. 2434, the “College Transparency Act”); a strengthening of institutional accountability and quality; a maintenance of Title II of HEA (teacher preparation programs); and a maintenance of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, among other provisions.
July 24, 2018
House Subcommittee Explores Flexible Work, Paid Leave Programs: The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing titled, “Workflex in the 21st Century Act.” Under H.R. 4219, the “Workflex in the 21st Century Act,” employers that choose to participate in the program would follow a single federal framework for offering their full- and part-time employees paid leave. Participating employers would also be required to offer all employees a flexible work—or workflex—option, which could include a compressed work schedule, telecommuting program, job-sharing program or other option. Those employers that opt in would be exempt from state and local paid leave and workflex laws. The opening statement from Subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg (R-MI) is here. The opening statement from Subcommittee Ranking Member Gregorgio Sablan (D-MP) is here. The Majority press release is here. The Minority press release is here. H.R.4219 is here.
July 24, 2018
White House and Administration:
Sessions, DeVos, Mulvaney Speak at Turning Point USA Summit: Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered remarks at the 2018 Turning Point USA High School Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. Attorney General Sessions focused his remarks on issues of freedom of speech on college campuses. He stated, “It should be clear that the First Amendment is not a partisan issue. Constitutional rights are for all Americans – not just those in one party or one faction.” On July 25, USED Secretary DeVos also spoke at the summit with her remarks focusing on school safety, her continued approach to less intervention by the Federal government in state education systems, and her push for more school choice. Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney also addressed the summit and told attendees to be wary of any calls for “free college.” Additionally, Director Mulvaney stated, “When folks start paying for you, they get to start making decisions for you.” Attorney General Sessions’s full remarks are here. The Secretary’s full remarks are here.
July 24, 2018
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Proposes Changes to CMO Competition: On July 26, USED published in the Federal Register a pre-publication notice titled, “Proposed Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria – Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Program; Grants to Charter Management organizations for the Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools.” A key provision of the notice includes a prioritization on funding charter schools that serve rural students, and Native American students; schools that plan to operate diverse schools and schools that serve low-income students; schools that have a history of success in turning around failing public schools; and charter management organizations that operate several schools. Comments on the notice will be accepted until August 27, 2018. The notice is here.
July 26, 2018
USED Rescinds Obama-era Borrower Defense Rules, Proposes Stricter Standards: USED proposed a new package of higher education regulations regarding the Obama-era “borrower defense to repayment” rules. The rules previously allowed student borrowers to seek relief from student loan payments due to fraud or other misrepresentation by their college or university. The newly proposed regulations would still allow for these claims but would make the standards more strict for student borrowers. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) stated, “The Obama Administration went too far in rewriting this provision by setting overly broad and vague standards and as a result, put taxpayers on the hook for too many loans.” HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) stated, “This rule would cut billions in debt relief to students who were simply trying to better themselves and instead were cheated out of their education and savings.” The notice will be officially posted in the Federal Register on July 31 and will accept public comment for 30 days. The pre-publication notice of proposed rulemaking is here. An overview of the notice is here. The press release from USED is here. Chairman Alexander’s statement is here. Ranking Member Murray’s statement is here. A statement by House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here.
July 25, 2018
Federal Commission on School Safety:
Federal School Safety Commission Explores Behavioral Health, School Resource Officers: The Federal Commission on School Safety conducted its second field visit to explore behavioral health integration in schools. Members of the Commission visited Adams-Friendship Middle School in Adams County, Wisconsin, to see how the state’s mental health framework was being implemented in schools. On July 26, the Federal Commission on School Safety held its fourth session with the theme “Proactively Protecting Our Schools.” The session included three panel discussions, including: improving school safety through information-sharing and accountability; the value of school resource officers; and best practices in school safety. Attorney General Sessions led the meeting, with USED Secretary DeVos, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar also attending. The press release for the July 25 field visit is here. A recording of the July 26 listening session is here.
July 25-26, 2018
Upcoming Events (Congress & Administration):
- On August 2-4, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will conduct a Quarterly Board Meeting. On August 2, there will be an open Ad Hoc Committee session on Measures of Postsecondary Preparedness that will provide a spotlight on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Secondary Research and provide an overview of the Ad Hoc Committee’s draft recommendations. The full agenda and notice of the meeting is here.
- On September 16-19, the 2018 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week Conference will be hosted by the White House Initiative on HBCUs in Washington, D.C. The focus of the conference will be “HBCU Competitiveness: Aligning Instructional Missions with America’s Promise.” Registration and more information is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On August 1 at 9:30 am, Educators for Excellence is hosting a briefing to highlight the findings of their teacher-designed survey. The survey was intended to capture insight into the views and opinions of educators across the country. Registration information is here.
- On August 1 at 1:00 pm, the Urban Institute will host an online demonstration to provide information on its education data portal which is intended to ease access to national datasets on schools, districts, and colleges (e.g. Common Core of Data, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, etc.). Urban Institute’s Education Policy Program has developed the online portal which aggregates PK-12 and higher education data, making it easier for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to generate rigorous, accurate, and actionable insights. Registration is available here.
- On August 3 at 11:00 am, the Learning Policy Institute is hosting a webinar titled, “ESSA and Chronic Absenteeism: A Conversation with Visionary Policy Leaders.” This webinar will focus on how chronic absenteeism impacts student learning, and how ESSA addresses this issue. Topics to be discussed include: why ESSA puts chronic absenteeism front and center; implications for current and future state and federal policy; and ways state and district leaders can craft strategies to address this issue. Registration information is here.
Publications (Congressional & Administration):
- On July 26, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released its report titled, “Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): Action Needed to Improve Participation in Education’s HBCU Capital Financing Program.” The report examined the use of the HBCU Capital Financing Program and found most HBCUs rely on state appropriations, tuition, and fees to finance necessary capital projects. Particularly, the GAO found significant project needs in the areas of deferred maintenance, facilities modernization, and preservation of historic buildings. Fewer than half of HBCUs have used the funds available in the Capital Financing Program to support these projects. The full report is here.
- On July 18, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) published an information resource, in connection with a recent webinar presentation, on funding for school improvement and direct student services. The resource includes an overview of each topic, how grants are awarded and implemented, and applicable use of funds. The resource is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On July 27, the Alliance for Early Success released a policy brief focused on improving pre-K programs titled, “3 Practices and 3 Policies Indispensable for High-Quality Teaching and learning in Pre-K.” The brief suggests policies and practices that should be implemented in order to improve the quality of early education programs. The practices recommended include engaging in positive interactions with children and their families; using learning trajectories in subject areas and domains; and promoting children’s social development and self-regulation. The policies recommended include allocating increased, predictable, and sustainable funding; providing educators with professional learning; and using high-quality data to promote continuous quality improvement. The full brief is here. A summary is here.
- On July 26, the Brookings Institution published a report titled, “Can schools commit malpractice? It depends.” The report analyzes recent court cases that have claimed schools have harmed students by not moving the students toward grade-level or not providing them access to high-quality teachers. The report includes key legal precedent and how it is impacting practices today. The full report is here.
- On July 26, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, in partnership with the RAND Corporation and the American Institutes for Research (AIR), published a draft report of their studies on dual-credit education in Texas. The study was intended to establish baseline information on current practices in the state and to develop guidance on how such practices could be reformed. The draft report is here and is open to public comment until August 27.
- On July 10, the Brookings Institution released a research brief titled, “How gender diversity among the teacher workforce affects student learning.” The report examines how the gender of a student’s teacher impacts their achievement, as measured by scores on the NAEP. The full report is here.
A bill amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to increase transparency and reporting on campus sexual violence, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)
A bill to appropriate funds to the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies for fiscal year 2019.
Sponsor: Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
A bill to increase transparency with respect to loan repayment options for Federal student loan borrowers.
Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
A bill to authorize the Attorney General to establish a five-year pilot program to make grants to local educational agencies for the hiring of school resource officers, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
A bill to amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to establish a permanent, nationwide summer electronic benefits transfer for children program.
Sponsor: Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)
A bill to prohibit discrimination in higher education against certain undocumented students on the basis of immigration status, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
A bill to establish an Office of Rural Education Policy in the Department of Education, make other modifications to Federal law to improve rural schools, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. David Loebsack (D-IA)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to prevent certain alcohol and substance misuse.
Sponsor: Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH)
A bill to require the Secretary of Education to annually report on the Federal civil rights violations of educational institutions, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)