E-Update for the Week of July 6, 2021
- On July 1, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced it released more than $3 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to states to support Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grant programs that support infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.
- On June 30, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to extend the pause on federal student loan payments.
- On June 30, the White House announced the creation of an interagency working group focused on improving the safety and experiences of transgender Americans and students.
Coronavirus Updates (as related to education):
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED releases ARP supplemental special education funding: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced it released more than $3 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to states to support Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grant programs that support infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. The roughly $3 billion in funds were allocated to supplement IDEA’s three major formula grants programs, including $2.6 billion for IDEA Part B Grants to States for children and youth with disabilities aged 3 through 21; $200 million for IDEA Part B Preschool Grants for children with disabilities aged 3 through 5; and $250 million for IDEA Part C Grants for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. “It’s long past time that the federal government makes good on its commitment to students with disabilities and their families,” USED Secretary Miguel Cardona said. “With these crucial American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, our early intervention providers and schools will be better able to address the needs of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and ensure our education system reemerges even stronger than before the pandemic.” A press release is here.
July 1, 2021
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
HHS releases ARP Head Start supplemental funding: The Office of Head Start (OHS) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), announced it awarded $1 billion in supplemental Head Start funding from the ARP, which will help local Head Start programs across the country. According to ACF, the funding will support summer programming for roughly one third of Head Start programs as well as vaccination efforts for Head Start staff and families. “These funds from the American Rescue Plan Act will reach more eligible families, provide more comprehensive services, and support Head Start facilities as they begin providing in-person services again,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said. A press release is here.
June 30, 2021
Murray, Scott call on White House to extend student loan repayment freeze: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to extend the pause on federal student loan payments, which is currently set to expire on September 30. In the letter, the Members said that the pause on student loan payments has “been a financial lifeline to tens of millions of student loan borrowers nationwide” and argue that the President should extend pandemic relief for federal student loan borrowers until early 2022. The members also stressed that the Administration should ensure borrowers “have the information and resources they need to transition back to repayment and develop a comprehensive outreach plan,” to reengage borrowers over the course of at least four months. A press release is here.
June 30, 2021
White House creates interagency working group focused on safety and inclusion of transgender individuals, students: The White House announced the creation of an interagency working group, that includes USED, will focus on “safety, inclusion, and opportunity for transgender Americans.” The group will coordinate policies to advance safety, economic opportunity, and inclusion for transgender Americans; review policies that are upstream drivers of violence and poverty for transgender individuals; and strengthen their efforts to protect transgender individuals from violence and discrimination around the world. A press release is here.
June 30, 2021
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED implements TEACH grant changes: USED announced it will implement changes to the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program to simplify the program’s paperwork requirements. Key changes include requiring the TEACH Grant servicer to send annual notifications to recipients about service obligation requirements, timelines, and documentation reminders; and opening the reconsideration process to all TEACH Grant recipients whose grants have converted to loans. A press release is here.
July 1, 2021
Supreme Court of the United States:
SCOTUS passes on Gavin Grimm case, lower court ruling stands: The Supreme Court of the United States decided to leave a lower court’s ruling in place related to a legal fight over transgender students’ right to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The Supreme Court’s action regarding the case, Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, effectively sidelines the lawsuit, which aims bar transgender students from bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, and is seen as a major victory for transgender student rights. An article from POLITICO is here (note: a subscription to POLITICO Pro is required.)
June 28, 2021
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- On July 12 it is expected the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a markup of its fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bill.
- On July 15 it is expected the House Appropriations Committee will hold a full Committee markup of the FY22 LHHS appropriations bill.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On July 7 at 12:00 pm, the Cato Institute will hold an event titled, “The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth.” The webinar will focus on the role of colleges and universities in our pluralistic democracy. More information and registration are here.
- On July 7 at 2:00 pm, the Alliance for Early Success will hold an event titled, “Congress Must #SolveChildCare.” The webinar will feature the Center for American Progress, Child Care Aware of America, EducationCounsel, First Five Years Fund, MomsRising, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association for Family Child Care, National Women’s Law Center, UPLAN, and Zero to Three, and will focus on what advocates can do to turn this moment from opportunity into victory. More information and registration are here.
- On July 8 at 3:00 pm, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) will hold an event titled, “State Leadership in Creating Safe, Supportive Learning Environments.” The webinar will focus on how state leadership can create healthy and supportive learning environments for all students. More information and registration are here.
- On June 30, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report titled, “Need-Tested Benefits: Impact of Assistance on Poverty Experienced by Low-Income Families and Individuals.” The report examined how need-tested programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and subsidies received from the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) supported families and such supports’ impact on children living in poverty. Key findings from the report include identifying that in 2017, receiving need-tested benefits reduced the child poverty rate from 25.6 percent to 12.6 percent; and that benefits also reduced the aggregate poverty-gap among families with children by two-thirds. The full report is here.
- On June 30, the USED Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report examining previous USED Secretary Betsy DeVos’s actions related to Dream Center Education Holdings, a for-profit college operator. Key findings from the report include identifying that despite findings of significant financial risk, the Department in 2017 issued temporary provisional status program participation agreements to all Dream Center schools, which allowed them to participate in Title IV programs; that in 2018, the Department approved temporary nonprofit status for two of the schools despite not having determined if the schools satisfied the regulatory definition of a nonprofit school; and that because of the provisional status of the programs to participate in Title IV programs, four of the Dream Center schools received $207 million in federal aid and that due to their later closing, the Department spent at least $97 million for closed school loan discharges. The full report is here. A statement from House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here. A summary from the Committee is here.
- On June 29, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a report titled, “Supervisory Highlights,” which found issues in how student loan servicing companies responded to borrowers seeking to participate in the debt forgiveness program for public servants. In the report, CFPB found that services of guaranteed student loans “regularly provided inaccurate information” to borrowers about their eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Other key findings from the report include identifying education loan entities engaged in deceptive marketing regarding private education loan rates; misrepresented the effect of employer certification forms; and failed to reverse the consequences of automatic natural disaster forbearances. The full report is here.
- On June 29, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published a report titled, “Teacher Requirements to Help Students Outside Regular School Hours in 2017–18.” The report examined whether teachers were required to help students with their academic or social and emotional needs outside regular school hours in schools across the United States. Key findings include identifying that 20 percent of principals said that teachers in their school were required to help students with their academic needs outside regular school hours; that 10 percent of principals said that teachers in their school were required to help students with their social and emotional needs outside regular school hours; and that both of these expectations were more often required of teachers in private schools than public schools. The full report is here.
- On June 29, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report titled, “Disparities in Learning Mode Access Among K–12 Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic, by Race/Ethnicity, Geography, and Grade Level – United States, September 2020–April 2021.” Key findings from the report include identifying that white students’ access to traditional classrooms increased 36.6 percentage points since January – compared with 31.1 percentage points for Black students, 23 percentage points for Hispanic students, and 30.6 percentage points for students of other races; and that to increase equitable access to full-time in-person learning for the next school year, school leaders should focus on providing safety-optimized in-person learning options across grade levels in all geographic areas. The full report is here.
- On June 28, NCES published new data to the Common Core Data (CCD) Files. Key findings from the data include identifying that overall public school enrollment dropped 3 percent during the 2020-21 school year compared with the prior year; that the biggest declines came from the youngest age groups, with preschool enrollment dropping by 22 percent and kindergarten enrollment dropping by 9 percent; and that 18 states saw declines of 3 percent or more. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On June 30, the Center for American Progress published a report titled, “Closing Advanced Coursework Equity Gaps for All Students.” The report examines the patterns of which high school students are enrolling and succeeding in Advanced Placement (AP) classes based on the availability of AP courses offered at their schools. Key findings include identifying that students who are Black, Indigenous, and other non-Black people of color (BIPOC) are not enrolled in AP courses at rates comparable to their white and Asian peers and experience less success when they are, including even when attending schools with similar levels of AP course availability; and that enrollment and success gaps in AP courses for these students either persist or become even more pronounced in schools that are offering high numbers of AP courses. The full report is here.
- On June 29, Third Way and New America co-published a report titled, “One Year Later: COVID-19’s Impact on Current and Future College Students.” The report commissioned three national polls: one in August 2020, one in December 2020, and one in May 2021, to better understand the impact of the pandemic on students’ lives and their future outlook. Key findings include identifying that 65 percent of surveyed students said that higher education is not worth the cost anymore; a majority of students are concerned their degree is less valuable because it was online; and that, when asked what policy should be the most important for the Biden Administration and Congress to implement, 47 percent selected policies that make higher education more affordable. The full report is here.
- On June 28, FutureEd published a report titled, “Covid Relief Playbook: Smart Strategies for Investing Federal Funding.” The report highlights 18 evidence-based practices that have delivered improvements in instructional quality, school climate, student attendance, or student achievement. Key recommendations include encouraging schools and districts to consider ways to increase participation in out-of-school time programs, including by partnering with community organizations and offering food, transportation, and other basic needs; investing COVID-relief funding in the setting up and management of early warning data systems; and seeking buy-in from educators before pursuing innovative staffing models, like multi-teacher teams. The full report is here.
A bill to establish the Mental Health in Schools Excellence Program to increase the recruitment and retention of school-based mental health services providers, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
A bill to amend section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to clarify the enforcement of such section, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN)
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: Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI)
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a credit against tax for charitable donations to nonprofit organizations providing workforce training and education scholarships to qualified elementary and secondary students.
Sponsor: Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide loan deferment and loan cancellation for certain founders and employees of small business start-ups, to amend the Small Business Act to establish a young entrepreneurs business center, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)