E-Update for the Week of June 22, 2020
- On June 19, POLITICO reported that House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) sent a Dear Colleague Letter to members of the Appropriations Committee and outlined that the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) Subcommittee will mark-up its fiscal year (FY) 2021 bill at 5:00 pm on July 7.
- On June 18, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that the House will move forward with its consideration of the “Moving Forward Act,” which is House Democrats’ infrastructure proposal combining several related bills into one infrastructure package, including House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott’s (D-VA) school infrastructure bill. Speaker Pelosi indicated that she plans to move the bill to the House floor by the end of June.
- On June 17, a U.S. District Judge from California blocked USED Secretary DeVos from implementing her interim final rule regarding student eligibility to receive an emergency aid grant under the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund, as authorized by the CARES Act.
Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of 2:00 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.
Ways and Means Committee explores tax relief programs to support COVID relief efforts: The House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Tax Relief to Support Workers and Families During the COVID-19 Recession.” The hearing featured testimony by Amy Matsui, Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center; Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Co-Executive Director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality; Allison Bovell-Ammon, Director of Policy Strategy for Children’s HealthWatch; Martha Rodriguez, Preschool educator from Washington; and Kyle Pomerleau, Resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). During the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (D-CA) discussed the economic impact the pandemic has had on millions of American families. Chairman Thompson discussed the House Democrats’ HEROES Act, specifically mentioning the bill’s tax relief measures through the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Care and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Chairman Thompson’s full opening remarks are here. A recording of the hearing is here.
June 18, 2020
House Education panel explores impact of budget cuts on public education, witnesses warn of widespread layoffs without more support: The House Education & Labor Committee held a full committee hearing titled, “Budget Cuts and Lost Learning: Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Public Education.” The hearing focused on how public schools have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and how they will continue to be impacted given the expected widespread and significant state budget cuts. During the hearing, Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) called for additional federal resources to support the inequities experienced by students of color, low-income students, students with disabilities, and other marginalized student groups. Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) urged her Democratic peers and Congress to practice restraint in issuing additional funding given the incomplete spending of CARES Act funds. Additionally, Democratic and Republican Members both raised questions regarding expanding access to broadband and ensuring all students have access to remote learning opportunities. Witnesses predicted that state and local budget cuts will have a negative impact on the ability of schools and districts to reopen safely and to provide the adequate support to students returning in the fall. A recording of the hearing is here.
June 15, 2020
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
DeVos releases application for workforce development competitive grants: USED Secretary Betsy DeVos published the application for the Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant program. The $127.5 million program is part of the Department’s discretionary grant authority included in the Education Stabilization Fund authorized by the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The program, as summarized by the Department, will provide the opportunity for students to develop new skills, provide innovators and inventors the resources to expand existing businesses or build new ones, and encourage institutions of higher education to foster business development and innovation. States will have until August 24 to submit their applications and the Department intends to make awards no later than October 2020. A press release is here. More information on the grant program is here.
June 19, 2020
Federal judge blocks DeVos rule on CARES emergency student aid grants: A U.S. District Judge from California blocked USED Secretary DeVos from implementing her interim final rule regarding student eligibility to receive an emergency aid grant under the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund, as authorized by the CARES Act. The Department issued an interim final rule on June 11 prohibiting institutions from providing emergency aid grants to students who are not eligible to receive Title IV student aid, such as undocumented and international students. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’s preliminary injunction only applies to students attending California community colleges and prevents the Department from “imposing or enforcing any eligibility requirement for students.” The Department has indicated it will appeal the decision. A POLITICO article is here.
June 17, 2020
Budget and Appropriations:
House appropriators eye July 7 for FY21 Labor/HHS subcommittee mark-up: POLITICO reported that House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) sent a Dear Colleague Letter to members of the Appropriations Committee outlining the initial schedule for subcommittee markups of fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills. According to the letter, subcommittees will begin mark-ups the week of July 6, with the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) bill scheduled for 5:00 pm on July 7. Text of the bill will be released about 24 hours in advance of the markup. Further, in the letter, Chairwoman Lowey expressed that the FY2021 appropriations bills will also “address the emergency of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic collapse.” It is expected that full Committee markups will take place the week of July 16. The full letter is here.
June 19, 2020
Oversight committee Democrats seek investigation into DeVos borrower defense relief formula: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI) and House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) called for an investigation into reports of the USED having violated federal privacy laws and undermining legal protections for student borrowers. The Members call on the USED Office of the Inspector General to examine allegations that Secretary DeVos used information from the Social Security Administration to carry out directives that would prevent students who made borrower defense claims from receiving full loan relief. “We are concerned that under the Trump Administration, the Department has applied a “partial relief” formula that drastically limits the assistance available to students who have been defrauded, typically by for-profit colleges,” wrote the Members. A press release is here. The full letter is here.
June 16, 2020
House Democrats to ‘move forward’ on infrastructure package, will include school construction: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that the House will move forward with its consideration of the “Moving Forward Act,” which is House Democrats’ infrastructure proposal combining several related bills into one infrastructure package. Speaker Pelosi indicated that she plans to move the bill to the House floor by the end of June. During the announcement, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) stated that the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act will be included in the infrastructure bill. Chairman Scott outlined that the bill would invest $100 billion over the next five years, targeted at high-poverty schools. Further, the Chairman explained that funding in the first year will be expedited to states so that they can “prioritize schools that are least prepared to meet public health reopening guidelines.” The package is also expected to include $100 billion for broadband. A press release is here.
June 18, 2020
Clark introduces child care infrastructure bill: Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA) introduced H.R.7201, the “Child Care is Infrastructure Act.” The bill would create a competitive grant program for states to address renovations or modifications to child care facilities; direct HHS to conduct two national needs assessments of early child care and learning facilities to better understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic; and authorize $10 billion over five years to invest in the nation’s child care infrastructure. “Child care in America is at its breaking point. The pandemic shook an already fragile system and now, as the nation looks to reopen, parents and providers face an impossible situation in which neither has the resources needed to get back to work safely,” stated Rep. Clark. A press release is here. The bill is here.
June 16, 2020
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
DeVos approves six more state CTE plans: USED Secretary DeVos announced the approval of additional states’ Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) state plans. The Secretary announced that six more states have been approved, including Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, New York, South Carolina, and Utah. A press release is here, including an overview of the approved states’ plans.
June 19, 2020
U.S. Supreme Court:
DACA safe, for now, with latest SCOTUS ruling, future legislative fixes still needed: The U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on Department of Homeland Security et al. v. Regents of the University of California, which revolved around the challenge to President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided protections to individuals who arrived in the country without documentation as children. The Court ruled, in a 5-4 opinion, that the Administration failed to follow the proper administrative procedure and justification to rescind the program. The opinion does not enshrine the DACA program as law, with advocates already suggesting a legislative fix is still needed to protect the program. The opinion is here. A POLITICO article is here.
June 18, 2020
SCOTUS affirms Title VII discrimination protections include gay, transgender identity; USED exploring impacts of opinion: The U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which combined multiple cases. The case revolved around claims of employment discrimination based on former employees’ sexual orientation and gender identity. The Court ruled, in a 6-3 opinion, that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, individuals who identify as gay or transgender are protected from employment discrimination because of the law’s inclusion of “sex” as a protected class. “Because discrimination on the basis of homosexuality or transgender status requires an employer to intentionally treat individual employees differently because of their sex, an employer who intentionally penalizes an employee for being homosexual or transgender also violates Title VII” wrote the Court. Given the implications of the ruling on interpretations of Title IX, which also includes “sex” as a protected class from discrimination and unequal access to educational opportunities, USED has indicated it is “reviewing the court opinion.” The opinion is here.
June 16, 2020
Publications (Congressional and Administration):
- On June 17, the HHS Office of the Inspector General published a report titled, “The Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Incident Reporting System is Not Effectively Capturing Data to Assist Its Efforts to Ensure the Safety of Minors in HHS Custody.” The report summarizes an investigation into the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and reports of sexual misconduct against minors in ORR care. Key findings of the report include identifying that ORR needs to improve its incident reporting system to prevent, detect, and report incidents of sexual misconduct; that between January 2018 and July 2018, ORR received 761 unique incident reports; and that the current system fails to capture sufficient data for ORR to investigate incidents and to provide efficient identification of issues that require immediate attention. The full report is here. A statement from Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On June 18, the Urban Institute published a report titled, “Racial and Ethnic Representation in Postsecondary Education.” The report summarizes a study of differences in access to higher education based on race and ethnicity. Key findings of the report include identifying that Black students continue to be severely underrepresented at more selective colleges; that Black students are overrepresented at for-profit schools by nearly 15 percent; and that white students continue to be overrepresented at selective colleges. The full report is here.
- On June 17, the Hope Center published a report titled, “#RealCollege During the Pandemic: New Evidence on Basic Needs Insecurity and Student Well-Being.” The report summarizes a study of students attending college and their actual needs caused by the pandemic. Key findings of the report include identifying that nearly 3 in 5 students were experiencing basic needs insecurity; that Black students were 19 percent more likely to experience basic needs insecurity compared to their white peers; and that 44 percent of students at two-year institutions and 38 percent of students at four-year institutions experienced food insecurity. The full report is here.
- On June 16, EducationCounsel published a report titled, “What School Districts Need: Principles and Priorities for State COVID-19 Guidance and Action.” The report summarizes a series of interviews of 18 superintendents and outlines their needs as they develop plans to reopen. Key findings of the report include identifying that districts need guidance from state educational agencies (SEAs) that is equitable, flexible, inclusive, and aligned; that district leaders have identified continuity of learning, conditions for learning, leadership and planning, and funding and policy as key priorities for reopening; and that district leaders need SEAs to advocate for additional state funding to support districts, and to advocate for additional federal funding to support states and districts. The full report is here.
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- On June 22 at 12:00 pm, the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a full Committee hearing titled, “Inequities Exposed: How COVID-19 Widened Racial Inequities in Education, Health, and the Workforce.” The hearing will be conducted virtually. Witnesses have not yet been announced. More information is here.
- On June 23 at 11:00 am, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a full Committee hearing titled, “Member Day Testimony for FY21 Appropriations.” A list of Members testifying has not yet been announced. More information is here.
- On June 23 at 2:00 pm, the House Way and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “The Child Care Crisis and the Coronavirus Pandemic.” The hearing will be held virtually. Witnesses have not yet been announced. More information is here.
- On June 30 at 10:00 am, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a full Committee hearing titled, “COVID-19: Update on Progress Toward Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School.” Witnesses will include Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Dr. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More information is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On June 23 at 1:00 pm, Boston University will hold an event titled, “Confronting Systemic Racism: Policing, Mass Incarceration, and Black Lives Matter.” The webinar will include an in-depth discussion with experts, facilitated by Kimberly Atkins, MSNBC contributor. More information and registration are here.
- On June 24 at 11:00 am, the Center for Education Reform (CER) will hold an event titled, “Driving Charter School Graduate Success.” The event will focus on how charter schools are adapting to support students given the impacts of COVID-19 and will feature leaders from KIPP, Collegiate Academies, and other charter networks. More information and registration are here.
- On June 23 at 12:00 pm, the Federalist Society will hold an event titled, “A Virtual Conversation with Betsy DeVos.” The webinar will focus on the Department’s recently published final rule regarding Title IX. The webinar will feature USED Secretary DeVos, Senior Counselor to the Secretary Robert Eitel, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Deputy General Counsel Candice Jackson. More information and registration are here.
- On June 23 at 1:30 pm, Assessment HQ will hold an event titled, “Diagnostic Dilemma.” The webinar will focus on the challenges and opportunities of implementing instructionally informative assessment options. 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 24 at 12:00 pm, New America will hold an event titled, “Varying Degrees: How Americans Perceive Higher Education in 2020.” The webinar will focus on a recent survey conducted by New America and the results that illustrate the perception of higher education, in light of the impact of the pandemic. More information and registration are here.
- On June 24 at 12:00 pm, the Manhattan Institute will hold an event titled, “Education After COVID: Emerging From the Fiscal Crisis Facing Private Schools.” The webinar will focus on how private schools can sustain themselves and recover from the financial impacts of the pandemic and what policymakers can do to support both public and private schools. 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.
- On June 25 at 1:00 pm, u-aspire will hold an event titled, “Beyond the College Bill: The Hidden Hurdles of Indirect Expenses.” The webinar will focus on the burden of non-tuition costs associated with college and how such costs limit access to higher education. The webinar is sponsored by the office of Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). More information and registration are here.
- On June 25 at 1:00 pm, New America will hold an event titled, “Closing the Home Learning and Homework Gap: Innovative School and Community Wi-Fi Initiatives.” The webinar will discuss the connectivity crisis laid bare by the pandemic and how policymakers and communities can respond to the needs. More information and registration are here.
- On June 25 at 2:00 pm, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will hold an event titled, “Supporting Student Borrowers in the Next COVID Response Bill.” The webinar will discuss the economic consequences of the pandemic and what still is needed for student loan borrowers. More information and registration are here.
A bill to establish a scholarship program to diversify the national security workforce through partnership with historically black colleges and universities and other minority institutions, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD)
A bill to provide assistance with respect to child care infrastructure, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA)
A bill to ensure that college athletes, and not institutions of higher education, are able to profit from their name, image, and likeness, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Marco Rubio (R-FL)