E-Update for the Week of July 9, 2018
- On June 29, the U.S. Department of Education announced on the Federal Register that the Department would delay, for two years, the Equity in IDEA/Significant Disproportionality Rules until July 1, 2020. The regulations address disproportionate identification, placement, and disciplinary treatment of students of color in special education. The Federal Register notice is here.
- On July 2, the USED Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan for Oklahoma. Press release from Secretary DeVos is here. Press release from the Oklahoma Department of Education is here.
- On July 3, the New York Times reported that USED is rescinding Obama-era policy guidance and illustrations on affirmative action admission decisions for colleges and universities. The full New York Times article is here. A joint USED and Department of Justice letter is here. Statement by the American Council on Education (ACE) is here.
USED Approves Oklahoma ESSA State Plan: USED Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the approval of the ESSA state plan for Oklahoma. The Secretary stated, “I am pleased to approve Oklahoma’s plan, which complies with the requirements of the law. I encourage states to use their plans as a starting point, rather than a finish line, to improve outcomes for all students.” Only three states have not yet received final approval of their plan – California, Florida, and Utah. Press release from Secretary DeVos is here. Press release from the Oklahoma Department of Education is here.
July 2, 2018
Both the House and Senate were in recess this week. The Senate returned to session today, July 9, and the House will return on July 10.
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Delays Significant Disproportionality Rules for Two years: USED announced in the Federal Register that the Department would delay, for two years, the Equity in IDEA/Significant Disproportionality Rules until July 1, 2020. The regulations address disproportionate identification, placement, and disciplinary treatment of students of color in special education. The Department also announced it would postpone the date for including children ages three through five in the analysis of significant disproportionality, with respect to the identification of children with disabilities and as children with a particular impairment from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a joint statement opposing the Department’s action. Their statement is here. The formal announcement is here.
June 29, 2018
USED Delays Online Regulations Related to State Authorization of Online College Programs for Two Years: USED announced in the Federal Register that the Department would delay the effective date of selected provisions of the “Program Integrity and Improvement” regulations, published in the Federal Register on December 19, 2016. The delay is until July 1, 2020, and is based on concerns raised by regulated parties. The delay of selected provisions of the Program Integrity and Improvement Regulations relates to the definition of state authorization reciprocity agreements, state authorization of distance education regulations, definition of distance education, and institutional disclosures for distance or correspondence programs regulations. The Secretary is delaying the effective date of these provisions based on concerns recently raised by regulated parties and to ensure that there is adequate time to conduct negotiated rulemaking to reconsider the selected provisions and, as necessary, develop revised regulations. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) expressed his disappointment with the announcement, stating the delay is “…undermining states’ role in protecting consumers and taxpayers from fraudulent online college programs.” Federal Register notice is here. Ranking Member Scott’s full statement is here.
June 29, 2018
Puerto Rico to be First to Pilot Student-Centered Funding System: USED announced the Puerto Rico Department of Education would be the first school system to utilize new flexibility provided to school districts to create equitable, student-centered funding systems under a pilot program authorized by ESSA. Under ESSA, up to 50 schools systems have increased flexibility to develop and implement funding systems that combines local, state, and federal dollars, allowing systems to direct more resources to the students who need them the most. USED first announced the application process for school districts wishing to participate in the pilot program in February 2018. The press release from USED is here. More information on the pilot is here.
July 2, 2018
USED and DOJ Announce Rescission of Obama-Era Policy Guidance on Affirmative Action: The New York Times reported that USED is rescinding Obama-era policy guidance and illustrations on affirmative action admission decisions for colleges and universities. USED and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released a joint letter explaining the rescission. The letter states, “The Departments have reviewed the documents and have concluded that they advocate policy preferences and positions beyond the requirements of the Constitution, Title IV, and Title VI.” New York Times article is here. The joint USED and DOJ letter is here. Ranking Members Scott and Nadler’s statement is here. Ranking Member Murray’s statement is here. Statement by the American Council on Education (ACE) is here.
July 3, 2018
Consumer Financial Protections Board (CFPB):
Student Borrowers Likely to Pay Off Loans Before Final Due Date, According to CFPB Report: The Consumer Financial Protections Board (CFPB) released a new report on student loan repayment and broader household borrowing. Findings of the study suggest most borrowers pay off a student loan before the final payment is due; borrowers paying off a loan early also reduce their credit card balances and make large payments on their other student loans simultaneously; and the borrowers who pay off their loan according to the scheduled payments pay down, rather than take on, other debts in the months following payoff. The press release from the CFPB is here. The full study is here.
June 29, 2018
Institute of Education Sciences (IES):
IES Releases Webinars to Support FY2019 Funding Opportunities: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) announced it will be posting a series of on-demand webinars for FY2019 funding opportunities. The webinars are pre-recorded and can be accessed on the IES Webinar Series website. Webinars include: a basic overview of research grants and information for new applicants to IES; grant writing workshop; national research and development centers; and research networks focused on critical problems of policy and practice in special education. All available webinars are here.
July 5, 2018
Albro to Lead National Center for Education Research: IES Director Mark Schneider announced Dr. Elizabeth Albro will become the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Research (NCER). Since joining in 2002, Dr. Albro has served in various roles within IES and NCER, including the acting Commissioner of Education Research. Dr. Albro has a research background in behavioral and social sciences, cognition, and communication. Dr. Albro succeeds Tom Brock.
July 5, 2018
- On July 11 at 10:00 a.m., the full House Appropriations Committee will conduct a markup of the FY2019 House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Multiple amendments are expected to receive consideration during the markup. More information and a webcast is here.