E-Update for the Week of June 29, 2020
- On June 25, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos published an interim final rule in the Federal Register related to equitable services requirements for districts when spending funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
- On June 25, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced, on behalf of Democrats from their respective committees, H.R.7327, the “Child Care for Economic Recovery Act.”
- On June 23, POLITICO reported that Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) indicated his support for additional federal financial support to schools and colleges so they can continue to respond and recover from 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 8:00 pm on June 25, 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.
Schumer, Senate Democrats to push for move pandemic response funding: A CQ/Roll Call reporter tweeted that Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that Senate Democrats will attempt to pass additional COVID-19 aid bills next week, including funding to help schools open safely and aid to state, local, and tribal governments. Additionally, the reporter quoted Minority Leader Schumer as saying, “With cases rising in more than 20 states, with emergency unemployment insurance for American families set to expire, we cannot wait another month to act.” Given this, we could see Senate Democrats attempt to call up and pass legislation the week of June 29 aimed at providing additional coronavirus relief, including an education-focused package. The full tweets are here.
June 25, 2020
Alexander supports future federal funding for schools, colleges for pandemic response: POLITICO reported that Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) indicated his support for additional federal financial support to schools and colleges so they can continue to respond and recover from the coronavirus pandemic. In an interview, Chairman Alexander stated that schools and colleges should have “the money they need to safely reopen in the fall.” The Chairman indicated that, based on estimates he was provided, school administrators will need between $50 and $75 billion to properly equip schools and expressed that the federal government should provide that funding. A POLITICO article is here. (NOTE: A subscription to POLITICO Pro is required.)
June 23, 2020
House Democrats release child care recovery bill: House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced, on behalf of Democrats from their respective committees, H.R.7327, the “Child Care for Economic Recovery Act.” The bill would improve the child and dependent care tax credit; expand dependent care flexible spending accounts; create a new tax credit to help employees access quality, affordable child care; provide a new refundable payroll tax credit for child care providers; authorize $850 million to support states in filling gaps in dependent care for essential workers during the pandemic; and invest $10 billion to improve infrastructure related to child care safety. A press release is here. The bill is here.
June 25, 2020
House explores child care crisis and impacts from pandemic: The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support held hearing titled, “The Child Care Crisis and the Coronavirus Pandemic.” During the hearing, Subcommittee Members called attention to the importance of child care and reopening the economy. Subcommittee Chairman Danny Davis (D-IL) noted, “As states lift stay-at-home orders and other economic restrictions, more parents are returning to work, if they can. Quality, affordable child care is a cornerstone of parents’ ability to work and move up the economic ladder.” The opening statement for Subcommittee Chairman Danny Davis (D-IL) is here. A recording of the hearing is here.
June 23, 2020
House education panel explores racial inequities caused by pandemic: The House Education and Labor Committee held a full Committee hearing titled, “Inequities Exposed: How COVID-19 Widened Racial Inequities in Education, Health, and the Workforce.” During the hearing, Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) called for more equitable funding to address the funding gaps caused by state and local tax revenue disparities between high-income and low-income communities. Also, Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) urged states and schools to reopen and to have students return to in-person instruction as soon as possible. One of the witnesses, John King, former U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary, urged Congress to address the impacts of the pandemic on education by substantially supporting early childhood education with at least $50 billion; supporting K-12 education by providing at least $175 billion; and supporting higher education by providing at least $50 billion. A recording of the hearing is here.
June 22, 2020
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
DeVos publishes interim final rule on equitable services, provides two options to districts: U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos published an interim final rule in the Federal Register related to equitable services requirements for districts when spending funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In the past, students eligible for equitable services under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) had been limited to disadvantaged and at-risk private school students; however, the Department sparked criticism when it took the position in guidance that CARES Act funding should be used to benefit all private school students within local school district boundaries, not just certain private school students. The interim final rule comes in response to the uncertainty created by the Department’s initial guidance, which was non-binding for school districts. The interim final rule, which takes effect immediately, is required to be followed by districts, though it may be subject to judicial challenge.
The interim final rule provides school districts two options – to use CARES Act funding to support all students in public schools and then calculate funding for equitable services for all students enrolled in private schools; or, to use CARES Act funding to only support students in Title I schools and then calculate funding for equitable services for only Title I eligible students enrolled in private schools. A press release is here. The full rule is here. A statement from House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here. A statement by Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is here.
June 25, 2020
House fails to overturn Trump veto of borrower defense disproval resolution: The House failed to override President Trump’s veto of a Congressional Review Act resolution that would have prevented the borrower defense rule issued by the USED Secretary Betsy DeVos from taking effect on July 1. To override a Presidential veto, support from two-thirds of the majority is required; however, the House vote was 238-173. The rule issued by Secretary DeVos revises regulations put forth under the Obama Administration outlining how the federal government will provide loan forgiveness to borrowers defrauded by their institution of higher education. In a floor statement during the debate to override President Trump’s veto, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) stated, “The Department’s rewrite of the Borrower Defense rule, which is set to go into effect on July 1, will mean that the vast majority of defrauded student borrowers will get virtually no relief.” Following the vote, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) issued a statement noting, “The Trump administration’s borrower defense rule – which ensures that all students are protected, including our student veterans, saves taxpayers billions, and holds all institutions accountable – will take effect in July.” A statement from House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here. A statement by Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is here.
June 26, 2020
Pence, DeVos call for expanded school choice, tout Education Freedom Scholarship program: Vice President Mike Pence and USED Secretary DeVos held a roundtable discussion on school choice in Wisconsin. The Vice President and Secretary visited Waukesha STEM Academy and discussed the value of school choice and its impact on education in Wisconsin. “[E]mpowering parents to choose where their children go to school doesn’t simply make better education available for those families; we believe that competition makes everybody better,” stated Vice President Pence. At the event, Secretary DeVos discussed her Education Freedom Scholarships proposal. A full transcript is here.
June 23, 2020
U.S. Department of Education:
USED postpones ACICS approval consideration until next year: POLITICO reported that USED had announced that it was delaying a decision as to whether the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), which mainly accredits for-profit colleges, is meeting federal standards. In December 2018, USED Secretary DeVos extended the federal approval of ACICS, which had been terminated by the Obama Administration. The consideration of ACICS is now scheduled to take place in February 2021. POLITICO article is here.
June 24, 2020
Publications (Congressional and Administration):
- On June 25, House Education and Labor Committee Democrats published a report titled, “Delayed and Denied: Borrower Defense Relief Under the Trump Administration.” The report summarizes actions taken by USED Secretary DeVos related to borrower defense, including the development of a new partial relief formula for defrauded students. Key findings of the report include identifying that before the Department’s implementation of a partial relief formula in 2019, 47,942 applications were approved between August 2015 and September 2019; that the average amount discharged per borrower between 2015-2019 was $11,154; that after implementation of the partial relief formula, 7,456 applications were approved; and that the average amount discharged per borrower between October 2019 and March 2020 was $523. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On June 24, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a report titled, “America’s Opportunity Gaps: By the Numbers.” The report summarizes data from the Equality of Opportunity Initiative to illustrate the systemic barriers to equality that Black Americans and people of color still face. Key findings of the report include identifying that Black students entering kindergarten scored 21 percent lower on math assessments compared to white students; that Black students are twice as likely to attend a high-poverty school compared to white students; and that Black Americans make up only 8.9 percent of “high earning management and professional” roles even though they make up 12 percent of the total workforce. The full report is here.
- On June 18, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) published a report titled, “Access to High-Quality Early Education and Racial Equity.” The report summarizes a review of the Black-White achievement gaps and the impact of high-quality early childhood education on eliminating those gaps. Key findings of the report include identifying that only 15 percent of Black children are enrolled in high-quality programs compared to 24 percent of their white peers; and that high-quality universal pre-Kindergarten can reduce Black-White Kindergarten achievement gaps by 45 percent in math and 98 percent in reading. The full report is here.
- On June 8, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) published a report titled, “Held Down and Held Back: Systemically Delayed Principal Promotions by Race and Gender.” The report summarizes a study of principal promotion practices. Key findings of the report include identifying that Black principals are least likely to be promoted compared to their white assistant principal peers; that Black principals have to wait longer for promotion compared to their white peers; and that even though women have over a year more experience, on average, before promotion to assistant principal, they are less likely to be promoted to high school principal compared to men. The full report is here.
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- 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.
- On July 1 at 10:00 am, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a full Committee hearing titled, “Exploring a Compensation Framework for Intercollegiate Athletes.” Witnesses will include Keith Carter, Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Mississippi; Dr. Michael Drake, Chairman of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors; Greg Sankey, Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference; and Eric Winston, former National Football League (NFL) player and former college athlete. More information is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On June 29 at 1:30 pm, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will hold an event titled, “COVID-19, Systemic Racism, and the Responses of HBCUs: A Virtual Town Hall Discussion.” The event will focus on how Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are helping investigate potential treatments to the coronavirus, as well as remain on the forefront of struggles against institutionalized discrimination and systemic inequality. More information and registration are here.
- On June 30 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 30 at 12:30 pm, the Wallace Foundation and EducationCounsel will hold an event titled, “Unpacking the Federal Response to COVID-19 in Education.” The webinar will focus on the CARES Act, provide updates on its implementation at the federal and local level, and forecast what could be happening next for federal response to the pandemic. More information and registration are here.
- On June 30 at 3:30 pm, Assessment HQ will hold an event titled, “Summative Spring.” The webinar will focus on the complications of not having data from spring 2020 summative assessments and looks ahead to the spring 2021 assessment landscape. More information and registration are here.
A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide best practices on student suicide awareness and prevention training and condition State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and tribal educational agencies receiving funds under section 520A of such Act to establish and implement a school-based student suicide awareness and prevention training policy.
Sponsor: Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA)
A bill to suspend Federal Perkins Loans repayments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA)
A bill to improve the safety of school buses, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL)
A bill to improve quality and accountability for educator preparation programs.
Sponsor: Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL)
A bill to amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to establish grants to support the establishment of personal reemployment accounts to assist Americans in gaining skills and returning to work following the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.
Sponsor: Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)
Child Care for Economic Recovery Act
A bill making additional supplemental appropriations for disaster relief requirements for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)