E-Update for the Week of June 15, 2020
- On June 11, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released a rule for public comment related to student eligibility to receive emergency aid grants, as provided by the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund included within the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The interim final rule requires that institutions may only provide emergency aid grants to Title IV student aid eligible students, which will prohibit undocumented and international students from receiving emergency aid grants.
- On June 10, CQ reported that the Senate Appropriations Committee plans to begin mark-ups on fiscal year (FY) 2021 bills the week of June 22.
- On June 10, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full Committee hearing titled, “COVID-19: Going Back to School Safely.” The hearing, which was conducted virtually, focused on how elementary and secondary schools can reopen safely in the fall, given the continued impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
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 June 12, 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.
State education leaders urge Congress to provide additional federal response to support K-12 school reopening efforts: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full Committee hearing titled, “COVID-19: Going Back to School Safely.” The hearing, which was conducted virtually, focused on how elementary and secondary schools can reopen safely in the fall, given the continued impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Witnesses included Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner, Dr. Penny Schwinn; Nebraska Department of Education Commissioner, Dr. Matthew Blomstedt; Denver Public Schools Superintendent Ms. Susana Cordova; and, President and CEO of The Education Trust, John. B. King, Jr. (former U.S. Department of Education Secretary). During the hearing, Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) was interested in the coordination between state and local governments with school districts to ensure that state reopening plans address the needs of schools. Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) advocated for additional, increased federal investment in education so that districts and schools can properly plan for a safe fall reopening. Full opening remarks from Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN) are here. Full opening remarks from Committee Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) are here. A recording of the hearing is here.
June 10, 2020
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED publishes CARES Act regulation, officially prohibits DACA, international students from receiving emergency grants: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) released a rule for public comment related to student eligibility to receive emergency aid grants, as provided by the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund included within the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The interim final rule requires that institutions may only provide emergency aid grants to Title IV student aid eligible students, which is similar to the Department’s previous guidance on the issue. The rule now has the force of law and provides the Department the ability to enforce the eligibility requirements. By limiting eligibility to Title IV eligible students, the Department prohibits institutions from distributing emergency aid grants to students such as undocumented students and international students. The interim final rule will become effective once it is published in the Federal Register, which is expected to be on or about June 15. A press release from the Department is here. The interim final rule is here. A statement from Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) is here.
June 11, 2020
Department highlights remote learning best practices from around the country: USED held a virtual forum titled, “Remote Learning Best Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The forum was open to K-12 education leaders and focused on what leaders across the country have done to support remote learning for their students. Practices highlighted included establishing clear lines of communication with students and parents; conducting virtual field trips; and equipping teachers with the knowledge and training needed for successful distance learning instruction. A readout of the forum is here.
June 10, 2020
Budget and Appropriations:
Senate appropriators look to June 22 to start FY21 markups: CQ reported that the Senate Appropriations Committee plans to begin mark-ups on fiscal year (FY) 2021 bills the week of June 22. When asked about topline spending levels for individual appropriations bill, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) stated, “Everything’s not complete but we’ve got our markup schedule, and we’ll go from there.” A CQ article is here. (NOTE: A subscription is required)
June 10, 2020
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED approves 10 more states’ Perkins plans: USED Secretary DeVos announced the approval of additional states’ Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) state plans. The Secretary announced that ten more states have been approved, including Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin. A press release is here, including an overview of the approved states’ plans.
June 12, 2020
Publications (Congressional and Administration):
- On June 11, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) published a report titled, “Child Care in Crisis: Solutions to Support Working Families, Children, and Educators.” The report examines the state of child care within Oregon and was informed by conversations with child care providers, early childhood educators, parents, and advocates. Key findings of the report include identifying that all 36 counties within Oregon were considered to be child care deserts; that high costs continue to be a barrier to accessing high-quality child care options; and that early childhood educators continue to be underpaid compared to their peer educators. A press release is here. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On June 11, FutureEd published a report titled, “Attendance Playbook: Smart Strategies for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism in the COVID Era.” The report provides recommendations for how educators can address chronic absenteeism, even while using distance learning. The report includes over 24 recommendations, each of which considers key factors such as contact with students and families; connectivity to internet; engagement between educators and students; and participation in distance learning programs. The full report is here.
- On June 11, Zero to Three published its annual “State of Babies Yearbook.” The publication compares national and state-by-state data on the well-being of infants and toddlers. Key findings of the report include identifying that more than half of America’s infants and toddlers are children of color; that two out of every five infants and toddlers live in families with low income; and that by nearly every measure, children living in poverty and children of color face obstacles such as low birthweight, unstable housing, and limited access to quality early learning experiences. The full report is here.
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- On June 15 at 12:00 pm, the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a full Committee hearing titled, “Budget Cuts and Lost Learning: Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Public Education.” The hearing will be conducted virtually. Witnesses will include Michael Leachman, Vice President for State Fiscal Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Eric Gordon, CEO of Cleveland Metropolitan School District; and Becky Pringle, Vice President of the National Education Association (NEA). The hearing will be streamed here.
- On June 18 at 12:00 pm, the House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Tax Relief to Support Workers and Families during the COVID-19 Recession.” The hearing will be conducted virtually. No witnesses have yet been announced. More information is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On June 17 at 11:00 am, the Heritage Foundation will hold an event titled, “Right to a ‘Basic Minimum’ Education? What Does the Constitution Say?” The webinar will focus on a recent ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals related to students’ rights to a basic minimum education and will consider the ruling as well as what the U.S. Constitution says on the matter. More information and registration are here.
- On June 23 at 3:00 pm, the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), EducationCounsel, and Education First will hold an event titled, “Performance Assessment in College Admissions: How Students Show What They Know and Can Do.” The webinar will address the use of performance assessments for equitable admissions and college success and will focus on examples from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Wheaton College. More information and registration are here.
- On June 25 at 10:30 am, the Brookings Institute will hold an event titled, “Education and structural inequalities during COVID-19 – How do Finland and the US Compare?” The webinar will explore the Finnish approach to providing quality education for all learners of all races, backgrounds, and income levels before and after the pandemic, and will compare that approach to those of the U.S. More information and registration are here.
A bill to prohibit the Secretary of Education from providing funding to certain educational institutions unless the institutions return to in-person instruction, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN)
A bill to require institutions of higher education to disclose gifts from foreign sources in the publications of certain professors and affiliates, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK)
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the exclusion for educational assistance programs.
Sponsor: Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA)
A bill to provide emergency relief to youth, children, and families experiencing homelessness, in light of the health and economic consequences of COVID-19.
Sponsor: Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
A bill to provide tax credits to low- to moderate-income individuals for certain computer and education costs, to direct the Federal Communications Commission to modify the requirements for the Lifeline program to provide increased support, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)
A bill to protect the entitlement of individuals to Post-9/11 Educational Assistance who discontinue pursuit of a program of education during the national emergency relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
A bill to amend the provisions relating to the higher education emergency relief fund to clarify the flexibility provided to institutions and for students under the fund, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit kindergarten through grade 12 educational expenses to be paid from a 529 account during the Coronavirus Emergency Period.
Sponsor: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)