E-Update for the Week of June 6, 2022
Due to the holiday, we did not publish on May 27. As such, this week’s E-Update includes information for the weeks of May 23 and May 30.
- On June 1, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) approved $5.8 billion group discharge to cancel all remaining loans for 560,000 borrowers who attended Corinthian Colleges Inc. (Corinthian).
- On June 2, the House Judiciary Committee held an emergency hearing to mark up a series of gun-control bills in response to a wave of mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Tulsa, as well as soaring gun violence nationally.
- On June 2, President Biden delivered an address on gun violence in America following his visit to Uvalde, Texas, to honor the 19 children and 2 teachers killed at Robb Elementary School.
President Biden delivers commencement address at University of Delaware: On May 28, President Biden delivered a commencement address at his alma mater, the University of Delaware. In the speech, the President addressed the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, saying that progress in the U.S. has always been met with pushback from “the oldest and darkest forces.” “In the face of such destructive forces, we have to stand stronger,” he said. “We cannot outlaw tragedy, I know, but we can make America safer.” Telling the class of 2022 that they were entering the world at a pivotal moment, President Biden urged the graduates to get involved in breaking down unjust barriers and expanding opportunities for all. “This is no time to be on the sidelines,” he said.
May 28, 2022
President Biden delivers address on Gun Violence in America: On June 2, President Biden delivered a prime-time address to the nation focused on gun violence in America. The address followed President Biden’s recent visit to Uvalde, Texas, in the wake of the tragedy at Robb Elementary School, where 19 children and 2 teachers were killed. During the speech, the President noted, “Over the last two decades, more school-aged children have died from guns than on-duty police officers and active-duty military combined.” President Biden then went on to call for action on a range of proposals, including, but not limited to, “ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines…strengthen background checks. Enact safe storage laws and red-flag laws. Repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability. Address the mental health crisis deepening the trauma of gun violence and as a consequence of that violence.” The President also highlighted key pieces of his Unity Agenda from his State of the Union address, including his call for “more school counselors, more school nurses, more mental health services for students and for teachers, more people volunteering as mentors to help young people succeed, more privacy protection and resources to keep kids safe from the harms of social media.” A statement from USED Secretary Miguel Cardona following the events at Robb Elementary School is here.
June 2, 2022
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) releases “Condition of Education” report: On May 31, NCES released its “Condition of Education” 2022 report. The report summarizes the latest data on education and includes changes in enrollment from fall of 2019 through fall of 2020, the first year of schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key findings include that from 2019 to 2020, enrollment rates of young children fell by 6 percentage points for 5-year-olds and 13 percentage points for 3- and 4-year-olds; and that at the postsecondary level, total undergraduate enrollment decreased by 9 percent. “We know COVID-19 disrupted our schools and colleges, and this report serves as an important reminder of the work left to be done on the road to recovery,” USED Secretary Cardona said in a statement. “The Department’s urgency has shifted from getting institutions open to, now, keeping them open; providing the necessary academic, financial and mental health supports for students and families; and strengthening our K-12 and post-secondary education systems.”
May 31, 2022
USED approves $5.8 billion group discharge to cancel remaining loans for borrowers harmed by Corinthian wrongdoing: On June 1, USED announced it will discharge all remaining federal student loans borrowed to attend any campus owned or operated by Corinthian Colleges Inc. from its founding in 1995 through the group’s closure in April 2015. According to the Department, this will result in 560,000 borrowers receiving $5.8 billion in full loan discharges, including borrowers who have yet to apply for a borrower defense discharge. “While our actions today will relieve Corinthian Colleges’ victims of their burdens, the Department of Education is actively ramping up oversight to better protect today’s students from tactics and make sure that for-profit institutions – and the corporations that own them – never again get away with such abuse,” USED Secretary Cardona said in a statement.
June 1, 2022
Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will use enforcement authority to protect children’s privacy online: On May 19, the FTC issued a policy statement making clear the agency intends to fully enforce the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and subsequent regulations. The statement notes, “The Commission’s COPPA authority demands enforcement of meaningful substantive limitations on operators’ ability to collect, use, and retain children’s data, and requirements to keep that data secure.” The FTC further acknowledged that concerns about data collection are “particularly acute in the school context where children and parents often have to engage with ed tech tools in order to participate in a variety of school-related activities,” especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In investigating potential violations of COPPA by providers of ed tech and other covered online services, the Commission intends to focus on prohibitions against ed tech providers requiring a child to disclose more information than is reasonably necessary for the child to participate in that activity; limitations against the use of personal information they collect from children; the retention of personal information collected from a child longer than reasonably necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected; and procedures to maintain the confidentiality, security, and integrity of children’s personal information.
May 19, 2022
House Judiciary Committee approves gun violence prevention legislative package, bipartisan group of Senators try to find common ground: On June 2, the House Judiciary Committee held an emergency hearing to mark up a series of gun violence prevention bills in response to a wave of mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Tulsa, as well as soaring gun violence nationally. The legislative package, which was sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), was approved by a committee vote of 25-19 along party lines. According to Punchbowl News, the legislation would “bar the sale of semi-automatic rifles to anyone under 21; ban high-capacity ammunition magazines; prohibit the sales of ‘ghost gun’ kits without a background check or serial numbers stamped on the parts used in assembling the weapon; boost penalties for illegal ‘straw purchases’ of guns; and require gun owners to store their weapons safely, especially when minors are present.” The package, called the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” is likely to be taken up by the full House next week, though action in the Senate remains uncertain. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of Senators, led by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), are attempting to negotiate a separate legislative package in the Senate.
June 2, 2022
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee advances USED nominees: On May 25, the Senate HELP Committee advanced to the full Senate the nominations of Nasser H. Paydar to be Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education and LaWanda Amaker Toney to be Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach at USED. The Committee advanced Dr. Paydar’s nomination with a bipartisan 15-7 vote, and Toney’s nomination with a bipartisan 13-9 vote. Dr. Paydar previously served as chancellor emeritus of Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and executive vice president of Indiana University (IU). In a statement following his nomination USED Secretary Cardona said of Dr. Naydar, “Throughout his more than 35 years of experience as a higher education leader, Dr. Paydar has championed equitable and affordable access to postsecondary education. He also has placed an important focus on diversifying the higher education workforce… I’m confident that Dr. Paydar will advance our efforts at the Department of Education and throughout the Biden-Harris administration to provide students of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities with more inclusive, affordable postsecondary learning opportunities, whether they be college degrees or career and technical programs.” Prior to her nomination, Toney was the director of strategic communications for the National Parent Teacher Association. Both nominations will be considered by the full Senate in the coming weeks.
May 25, 2022
House Appropriations Subcommittee holds a hearing on the teacher shortage: On May 25, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Tackling Teacher Shortages.” Witnesses included Dr. Lindsey Burke, Director of the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation; Desiree Carver-Thomas, Research and Policy Analyst at the Learning Policy Institute; Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers; and Dr. Jane West, an education policy consultant. During the hearing, Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) highlighted the impacts of the pandemic on the teaching workforce, including the exacerbation of previous challenges facing the workforce such as declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs, the burden of student debt on teachers, and concerns with teacher reported stress levels. Additionally, Chairwoman DeLauro advocated for the funding and policies “necessary to help increase recruitment and retention, improve working conditions, and support teacher advancement” within fiscal year (FY) 2023 appropriations bills. Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) also cited teacher reported concerns such as increased stress, lack of respect from parents, and unsupportive administrators as reasons for teachers leaving the workforce; however, the Ranking Member noted “there is no single program we can create at the federal level” and instead urged a “shift in our culture.” Witnesses in their testimony discussed the need to address teacher compensation; improve school leadership to support teacher retention; reconsider the number of non-teaching staff districts employ; and highlight the disparate shortages of special education teachers. Additionally, witnesses discussed the role of teacher credentials as a vehicle for improving quality; however, there were differences in perspective on how credentialing processes impact recruitment and quality. Several witnesses noted credential processes, including teacher residencies, can help improve teacher preparation, which in turn supports teacher retention. Dr. Burke, of the Heritage Foundation, conversely highlighted arduous teacher credential processes as a barrier for recruitment of aspiring teachers.
May 25, 2022
House Education and Labor Committee holds a hearing to examine USED policies and priorities related to the FY2023 President’s budget request: On May 26, the House Education and Labor Committee held a full Committee hearing titled, “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education,” during which the Committee heard testimony from USED Secretary Cardona. During the hearing, Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) noted the impact of the funding from the American Rescue Plan and schools’ uses of those funds to implement COVID-19 safety protocols, improve ventilation systems, and address learning loss through extending school days, hiring more counselors, and offering comprehensive afterschool and summer learning programs. Additionally, the Chairman highlighted the continued disproportionate rates of school discipline on students of color and students with disabilities and commended the Department for reviewing guidance to address such disparities. The Chairman also highlighted the Department’s efforts to forgive student debt held by defrauded student borrowers and borrowers qualifying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. However, the Chairman advocated for additional actions to be taken, including increasing the Pell Grant, eliminating or significantly reducing interest on student loans, making existing student loan forgiveness programs more generous, and promoting short-term Pell Grants for job training programs.
In her opening remarks, Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) expressed her frustrations with reports of the Department exploring blanket student loan forgiveness, and for going “well beyond the narrow limits” of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Additionally, the Ranking Member also discussed her concerns with the Department’s “push to end” school choice programs, such as the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program, and the Department’s proposed rule for the Charter Schools Program. Ranking Member Foxx urged the Secretary to work with her and her Republican colleagues and cautioned against the Department being “obstructive.”
During his opening statement, USED Secretary Cardona acknowledged the investments Congress provided in the FY2022 appropriations bills, including increases for Title I and the maximum Pell Grant. The Secretary went on to describe the FY2023 budget request for the Department and explained the budget is organized around five core themes: Supporting students through pandemic response and recovery over the long term; Boldly addressing opportunity and achievement gaps; Supporting a talented and diverse educator workforce; Making higher education inclusive and affordable; and Building pathways through postsecondary education that lead to successful careers. Specifically, Secretary Cardona urged Congress to invest further in Title I; invest in full-service community schools; provide $1 billion to hire staff to support students’ mental health; provide $350 million to support teacher recruitment and retention efforts; and to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $1,775. The Secretary concluded his remarks by noting the immense challenges the nation’s schools have overcome the last two years but acknowledged there are new and different challenges ahead. “We must work together to protect children with a greater sense of urgency and collaboration at the federal level.”
May 26, 2022
House Republicans criticize American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and NewsGuard’s misinformation tool: On June 1, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC), along with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT), sent letters to the AFT and NewsGuard Inc. seeking additional information about a recent partnership between the two organizations to provide teachers and students with a tool to help spot disinformation. More specifically, the Members call into question NewsGuard’s “misinformation scoring system,” which they argue has a “clear liberal bias” that will “politicize classrooms.” The Members ask for additional information about how NewsGuard’s product would be used in classrooms, and the involvement, if any, of local officials and parents in the rollout.
June 1, 2022
Upcoming Events (Congress & Administration):
- On June 7 at 10:30 am, the Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a hearing to examine the FY2023 President’s budget request for USED. USED Secretary Cardona is expected to testify. More information will be published here.
- On June 8 at 10:00 am, the House Oversight and Reform Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The Urgent Need to Address the Gun Violence Epidemic.” Witnesses have yet to be announced. More information will be published here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On June 6 at 2:00 pm, the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold an event titled, “The Path Forward on Student Debt: A Conversation with James Kvaal.” The hybrid event will feature a fireside chat with James Kvaal, Under Secretary of Education, about possible next steps for the student loan system, followed by an expert panel discussion about relief for struggling borrowers and a more sustainable system for all. More information and registration are here.
- On June 7 at 2:00 pm, the Hunt Institute will hold an event titled, “Children Thrive in Equitable Communities: Eleven Simple Rules to Help us Get There.” During this webinar, panelists will introduce the framework of the Eleven Simple Rules, which aims to help adults establish a new, equitable model of working together to create thriving communities. More information and registration are here.
- On June 7 at 6:00 pm, EveryDay Labs will hold an event titled, “Addressing the Attendance Gap in the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD).” The webinar will explore SCUSD’s efforts to use attendance as a systemic lever to reduce gaps and drive more equitable student outcomes. More information and registration are here.
- On June 8 at 3:00 pm, the Education Commission of the States will hold an event titled, “Partnering for Success: Using Data to Support Learning Recovery and Acceleration.” The webinar will feature leaders from North Carolina and Missouri who will discuss their state’s efforts to recover from the pandemic, explore innovative education pathways, and help schools bridge gaps in learning. More information and registration are here.
Publications (Congress & Administration):
- On May 31, NCES released findings from the School Pulse Panel’s (SPP) April data collection. The SPP data examine the mental health needs of students and what services were provided, as well as the prevalence of student and staff quarantines. Key findings include identifying that 70 percent of public schools reported an increase in the percentage of their students seeking school-based mental health services, while 76 percent reported an increase in staff voicing concerns about their students’ exhibiting symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trauma. Additionally, while the number of students needing to quarantine in April dropped by one percentage point, there was an increase in quarantine prevalence for staff, with 15 percent of public schools having staff quarantine. The full data are here.
- On May 31, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled, “Broadband: National Strategy Needed to Guide Federal Efforts to Reduce Digital Divide.” The report recommends that the Biden Administration develop and implement a national broadband strategy. According to the report, current federal broadband efforts are fragmented and overlapping, with more than 100 programs administered by 15 agencies. The GAO wrote that US broadband expansion efforts “are not guided by a national strategy with clear roles, goals, objectives, and performance measure.” The full report is here.
- On June 1, the Institute of Education Sciences’ (IES) What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) highlighted two new study reviews of positive behavior interventions designed for preschoolers. In the first intervention, First Step Next, early childhood educators, with support from intervention coaches, instructed children in social-emotional skills and provided feedback about their behavior during classroom activities. Parents simultaneously used a workbook to reinforce the skills the child is learning in the classroom at home. The second intervention, Getting Ready, provided early childhood educators and parents with strategies they can use to strengthen their relationships with one another and collaboratively determine developmental goals for children’s learning. WWC found that both interventions meet USED’s standards for Promising Evidence (Tier 3).
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On May 31, the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) published its Whole Child Policy Toolkit, which aims to give state policymakers and education leaders a set of strategies, state policy examples, and resources to advance whole child policy. Produced with input from more than a dozen Whole Child Policy Table partners, individual organizations, and experts, the toolkit is organized around a framework of five key whole child policy elements. The framework outlines how policymakers can support schools, districts, and communities to make shifts to meet the needs of every child efficiently, effectively, and equitably. The toolkit is here.
- On June 1, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) released a report titled, “Show Me the Data 2022.” In its analysis, DQC reviewed report cards from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to see how states are sharing information with the public. While state report cards are a federal requirement, DQC found that many states have “largely failed to provide context for how schools are supporting students during recovery and, if data is not available, explain why.” The full report is here.
- On June 1, the Trevor Project published a research brief titled, “Behaviors of Supportive Parents and Caregivers for LGBTQ Youth.” The brief outlined behaviors of supportive caregivers and parents and found that speaking respectfully with LGBTQ youth about their identity was associated with more than 40 percent lower odds of a suicide attempt. The brief is here.
- On June 1, the Hunt Institute released the third and final brief of its three-part Attainment for All: Equity in Postsecondary Pathways The brief brings the discussion on equity “full circle” by examining the use of disaggregated data to narrow equity gaps in postsecondary education. The brief is here.
- On June 2, Results for America (RFA) and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University released a new EdResearch for Recovery brief titled, “Design Principles for Effective Online Credit Recovery.” According to the brief, schools have increasingly turned to online credit recovery to help students make up missed coursework. But research shows that even when students regain course credits, online credit recovery often leads to little substantive learning and negative long-term outcomes, including lower lifetime earnings. This brief provides specific, research-based principles for effective online credit recovery, including which students benefit most, how to group classes, and how to train instructors. The brief is here.
- On June 2, the AFT’s Albert Shanker Institute released a report titled, “Segregation and School Funding: How Housing Discrimination Reproduces Unequal Opportunity.” The report found that in seven metro areas, roughly 90 percent of school districts serving majority-Black or Hispanic student populations received funding “below estimated adequate levels,” compared with about 12 percent of majority-white districts. Additionally, districts that serve disproportionately large shares of their metro areas’ Black and Hispanic students also have less adequate funding compared with their metro areas overall. The full report is here.
A bill to increase the total maximum Federal Pell Grant, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Salud Carbajala (D-CA)
A bill to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to ensure that certain education and workforce development benefits administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs are treated as income by landlords evaluating the ability of a servicemember, veteran, or a spouse or child of a servicemember or veteran, to pay rent, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)
A bill to direct the Attorney General and the Secretary of Education to develop and implement best practices for occupation-specific education for school resource officers.
Sponsor: Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA)
A bill to require the Attorney General and the Secretary of Education to conduct a survey of all public schools to determine the number of school resource officers at such schools.
Sponsor: Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to terminate the authority to make Federal direct PLUS loans, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC)
A bill to keep schools safe using unobligated Federal funds available to the Secretary of Education to respond to the coronavirus.
Sponsor: Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX)
A bill to amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to require an action plan in each local plan for entities within the one-stop delivery system to meet the needs of individuals who have experienced trauma, mental health challenges, or substance use disorder, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL)
A resolution expressing support for the designation of the week of May 23 through 27, 2022, as “Educator Mental Health Awareness Week”.
Sponsor: Rep. David Trone (D-MD)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to authorize a new student loan forgiveness program.
Sponsor: Senator Shelton Whitehouse (D-RI)
A bill to establish a temporary program for the refinancing of certain Federal and private student loans, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Shelton Whitehouse (D-RI)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to amend the public service loan forgiveness program.
Sponsor: Senator Shelton Whitehouse (D-RI)