E-Update for the Week of June 1, 2020

E-Update for the Week of June 1, 2020

Highlights:

  • On May 29, President Donald Trump vetoed H.J.Res.76, which provided for “congressional disapproval… of the rule submitted by [USED] relating to borrower defense.” The resolution was intended to enact the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to prevent USED Secretary DeVos from enacting or enforcing her rule related to borrower defense.
  • On May 27, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced “Child Care is Essential Act.” The bill would create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund.
  • On May 22, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) sent a letter to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in response to the organization’s challenge against the Department’s guidance regarding use of funding from the CARES Act. The Department indicated that USED Secretary Betsy DeVos would be issuing an interim final rule within the “next few weeks” to “resolve any issues in plenty of time for the next school year.”

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):

Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of 4:00 pm on May 29, 2020. 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:

Democratic education leaders propose $50 billion child care relief fund: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced “Child Care is Essential Act.” The bill would create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund within the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. “To date, the Congress has provided much needed [child care] funding to deal with the crisis—passing a $3.5 billion infusion in the [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)] Act and $7 billion in the House-passed Heroes Act—but now needs to do much more to meet the demands of this historic moment,” stated Chairwoman DeLauro. The House bill is H.R. 7027, and the bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate next week. A press release is here. The bill text is here. A one-pager is here.
May 27, 2020

Senate:

CRS analysis suggests USED CARES Act guidance could be invalidated: POLITICO reported that the Congressional Research Service (CRS) sent a memo to the Senate HELP Committee Minority Staff outlining their interpretation of the USED guidance regarding the use of CARES Act funding for emergency student grants. CRS has determined that neither the CARES Act nor Title IV “explicitly prohibits non-Title IV-eligible students from receiving emergency financial aid grants” authorized by the CARES Act. The Department previously issued guidance that argued the CARES Act funding cannot be used to provide grants to non-Title IV-eligible students, including undocumented students. CRS goes on further to state that a court might “invalidate” the Secretary’s guidance because the Secretary did not announce the interpretation through notice and comment rulemaking, and that the Secretary’s interpretation is “not a particularly persuasive reading of the statute.” The memo is here. (NOTE: A POLITICO Pro subscription is required).
May 28, 2020

House:

House to spend majority of June focused on committee work, appropriations markups could start near end of month: House Democratic leadership released the Summer 2020 House floor schedule.  In a Dear Colleague letter, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) noted that he, “expects the House will be in session at some point in June, once the Senate does act,” to consider a next package in response to the coronavirus.  He also stated, “Throughout the month of June, legislative work in House committees will be our focus, with committees meeting to hold hearings and to mark up and report legislation.” Regarding the work of the Appropriations Committee, the Majority Leader said, “the Appropriations Committee held its first hearing with remote participation this week, and it will continue to hold necessary COVID-19 oversight hearings before beginning subcommittee and full-committee markups at the end of June and beginning of July.” The Dear Colleague is here.
May 29, 2020

House education panel explores impact of pandemic on child care system: The House Education and Labor Committee held a virtual members’ briefing titled, “The Impact of COVID-19 on America’s Child Care System.” The briefing explored the challenges currently facing child care centers and the widespread closures of centers due to economic and health impacts of the pandemic. “Access to affordable child care is an essential step to helping parents get back to work and successfully reopening our communities that we cannot ensure without further federal funding,” stated Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) during the briefing. Members heard testimony from Hannah Matthew, Deputy Executive Director for Policy at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and Mary De La Rosa, a child care provider from Los Angeles. A recording of the briefing is here.
May 26, 2020

Administration:

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

USED to issue ‘interim final rule’ on equitable services funding under CARES Act: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) sent a letter to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in response to the organization’s challenge against the Department’s guidance regarding use of funding from the CARES Act. The Department previously issued guidance on how districts should distribute funds to non-public schools so that districts can provide equitable services using CARES Act funding. CCSSO argued that the guidance is an incorrect interpretation of the statute. In response, the Department indicated that USED Secretary Betsy DeVos would be issuing an interim final rule within the “next few weeks” to “resolve any issues in plenty of time for the next school year.” A POLITICO article is here.
May 22, 2020

Non-Coronavirus Updates:

Administration:

White House:

Trump vetoes Congress’s borrower defense resolution: President Donald Trump vetoed H.J.Res.76, which provided for “congressional disapproval… of the rule submitted by [USED] relating to borrower defense.” The resolution was intended to enact the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to prevent USED Secretary DeVos from enacting or enforcing her rule related to borrower defense. “The Department of Education’s rule strikes a better balance, protecting students’ rights to recover from schools that defraud them while foreclosing frivolous lawsuits that undermine higher education and expose taxpayers to needless loss,” stated the president upon vetoing the resolution. It is unclear if either the House or the Senate will attempt to overrule the veto. A statement from the White House is here. The veto message is here. A statement from House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here. A statement from Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) is here.
May 29, 2020

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

Nine more states have CTE plans approved: USED Secretary DeVos announced the approval of more states’ Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) state plans. The Secretary announced that nine more states have been approved, including Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. A press release is here, including an overview of the approved states’ plans.
May 29, 2020

Office of Civil Rights finds Connecticut transgender inclusive athletics policy in violation of Title IX, threatens financial sanctions: The USED Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a notice of impending enforcement action to six school districts in Connecticut and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) as a result of an investigation into violations of Title IX. OCR was investigating the districts and CIAC after receiving a complaint that their policy regarding the permissibility of transgender student athletes to compete in athletics divisions based on the gender by which they identify. OCR determined that the policy results in the loss of athletic benefits and opportunities for cisgender female athletes. Neither the school districts nor the CIAC have entered into voluntary resolution agreements with OCR and accordingly, the Office has issued the notice threatening to “suspend, terminate, or refuse to grant or continue and defer financial assistance.” The notice is here. A statement from CIAC is here.
May 15, 2020

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On May 27, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) published a report titled, “The Great Recession Badly Hurt Kids’ Schooling; Today’s Recession Could Do Much Worse.” The report summarizes an analysis of state education budgets as a result of the 2008 recession and compares findings to expected state budget shortfalls due to the pandemic. Key findings of the report include identifying that state budget shortfalls over the next three years will total $765 billion; that federal aid to date only covers about 20 percent of that, leaving states $590 billion short; and that states, on average, provide 47 percent of all K-12 funding, with education accounting for about 26 percent of state budgets. The full report is here.

Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):

  • On June 2 at 2:30 pm, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a full Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Russell Vought to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Currently, Vought is serving as acting Director. The hearing will be held remotely. More information is here.
  • On June 3 at 2:30 pm, the Senate Budget Committee will hold a full Committee hearing to discuss the nomination of Russell Vought to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Vought will testify in front of the Committee. More information is here.
  • On June 4 at 10:00 am, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a full Committee hearing titled, “COVID-19: Going Back to College Safely.” Witnesses will include Mitchell Daniels, President of Purdue University; Dr. Christina Paxson, President of Brown University; Dr. Logan Hampton, President of Lane College; and Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association. The hearing will be streamed here.
  • On June 4 at 11:00 am, the House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “COVID-19 Response.” Dr. Robert Redfield, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will testify. The hearing may be streamed here.
  • On June 4 at 2:00 pm, USED’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is hosting the first in a series of webinars focused on ready-to-use resources, tools, and practices from OSEP-funded grantees to support the educational, developmental, and social-emotional needs of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities through remote and distance learning. Registration is available here.
  • On June 10 at 10:00 am, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a full Committee hearing titled, “COVID-19: Going Back to School Safely.” No witnesses have yet been announced. The hearing will be streamed here.

Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):

  • On June 2 at 2:00 pm, the Center for Applied Research in Postsecondary Education (CARPE) will hold an event titled, “Leveraging ‘Nudges’ for Increased Postsecondary Connections.” The webinar will focus on the various tools, such as text messaging interventions and other virtual “nudges,” that institutions and districts can use to support postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and attainment. More information and registration are here.
  • On June 2 at 3:00 pm, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) will hold an event titled, “Fostering Healthy School Climates for Pandemic Recovery.” The webinar will discuss a roadmap for how state policymakers and education leaders can create safe, supportive learning environments for students and teachers when they return to classrooms. Strategies discussed will include climate surveys; social, emotional, academic, and mental health supports; and the weaving of equity into school climate efforts. More information and registration are here.
  • On June 3 at 1:00 pm, the Center for American Progress (CAP) will hold an event titled, “The Need for Federal Investment in K-12 Public Schools Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The webinar will discuss how federal investments need to be increased and better targeted to support schools as they address growing inequities amplified by the pandemic. More information and registration are here.

Legislation:

H.R.7027
A bill to make additional supplemental appropriations for disaster relief requirements for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

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