E-Update for March 6, 2015

E-Update for March 6, 2015

E-Update for March 6, 2015


On February 27, Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives decided to postpone a vote on H.R. 5, the “Student Success Act,” the Republican bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Meanwhile, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) continue negotiations to develop a bipartisan ESEA reauthorization bill for Committee markup. Though the markup was initially slated for the week of March 9, it is now expected to take place the week of March 16 at the earliest. No formal announcement on the markup has been made at this time.

EducationCounsel News

EducationCounsel has published a white paper on the challenges of creating an effective, efficient regulatory approach for the American higher education system. The paper, Getting Our House in Order: Transforming the Federal Regulation of Higher Education as America Prepares for the Challenges of Tomorrow, assesses the state of regulation today and examines how it should evolve, with a special focus on accountability for institutions of higher education. Download the paper here.


On March 10, the Alliance for Excellent Education will host a webinar on “Transforming Schools Using Project-Based Learning, Performance Assessment, and Common Core State Standards.” The webinar will focus on a discussion of how innovative schools can use performance assessment and project-based learning to transform education and improve learning for all students. In recent years, a growing number of educators and policymakers have embraced the idea of deeper learning-enabling all students to master core content and use that knowledge to solve problems and think critically, communicate effectively, collaborate with peers, learn how to learn, and develop academic mindsets. A network of schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, known as Envision Schools, has been operating according to those principles for more than a decade, and has shown that students from low-income backgrounds can graduate from high school and go on to college in large numbers. Register here.

On March 11, MDRC and the Alliance for Excellent Education will host a webinar on “Leveraging Innovations to Increase Educational Attainment.” The webinar will address recent innovations in high school reform and high-impact strategies to keep all students on the path to high school graduation and college and career readiness. Panelists will include: Robert Balfanz, PhD, Principal Investigator and Researcher, Center for the Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University School of Education; Ronald Chaluisan, Vice President, New Visions for Public Schools; Mariana Haynes, PhD, Senior Fellow, Alliance for Excellent Education, and more. Register here.

On March 12, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host an event on “The Federal Statistical System in a Big Data World.” A panel of leading experts will discuss whether Big Data can replace the federal statistical system, and if not, whether the two can complement each other. The production of social and economic statistics is among the most important and useful functions of government. Because the production of official statistics has long been considered a public good, it has been inconceivable that any organization other than government could produce the reliable and accurate information necessary for business decisions and public policy design – until now. Register here.

U.S Department of Education

U.S. Department of Education to End Contracts with Several Private Collection Agencies: Following a review of 22 private collection agencies, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it will wind down contracts with five private collection agencies that were providing inaccurate information to borrowers. The five companies are: Coast Professional, Enterprise Recovery Systems, National Recoveries, Pioneer Credit Recovery, and West Asset Management. The Department also announced that it will provide enhanced Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices monitoring and guidance for all private collection agencies that work with the Department to ensure that companies are consistently providing borrowers with accurate information regarding their loans.
February 27, 2015

Secretary Duncan Testifies for LHHS Subcommittee: On March 4, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request.  The proposal includes investments to expand high-quality early learning programs; increase equity and opportunity for all students; support teachers and school leaders; and improve access, affordability, and student outcomes in college. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “The President has made clear that he will not accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward.” Overall, the President’s budget includes $70.7 billion in discretionary spending for the Education Department, an increase of $3.6 billion, or a 5.4 percent hike over fiscal 2015 levels.
March 4, 2015

New Legislation

H.R.1179 : To prohibit waivers relating to compliance with the work requirements for the program of block grants to States for temporary assistance for needy families, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Reed, Tom [NY-23] (introduced 2/27/2015)      Cosponsors (13)

H.R.1194 : To strengthen families’ engagement in the education of their children.
Sponsor: Rep Thompson, Glenn [PA-5] (introduced 3/2/2015)      Cosponsors (1)

H.R.1226 : To amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to clarify the maintenance of effort requirement for local educational agencies.
Sponsor: Rep Ribble, Reid J. [WI-8] (introduced 3/3/2015)      Cosponsors (None)

H.R.1279 : To carry out pilot programs to improve skills and job training, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Carney, John C., Jr. [DE] (introduced 3/4/2015)      Cosponsors (None)

H.R.1285 : To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to eliminate origination fees for Federal Direct Loans.
Sponsor: Rep Davis, Susan A. [CA-53] (introduced 3/4/2015)      Cosponsors (None)

H.R.1287 : To amend the eligibility requirements for funding under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
Sponsor: Rep DeSantis, Ron [FL-6] (introduced 3/4/2015)      Cosponsors (25)

H.R.1306 : To direct the Secretary of Education to conduct a study to determine the relationship between school start times and adolescent health, well-being, and performance.
Sponsor: Rep Lofgren, Zoe [CA-19] (introduced 3/4/2015)      Cosponsors (7)

H.R.1310 : To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act to combat campus sexual violence, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-12] (introduced 3/4/2015)      Cosponsors (11)

H.R.1318 : To reauthorize the Impact Aid Program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
Sponsor: Rep Noem, Kristi L. [SD] (introduced 3/4/2015)      Cosponsors (3)

H.AMDT.65 to H.R.5 : An amendment numbered 43 printed in Part B of House Report 114-29 to require that the Student Success Act shall not go into effect until the Secretary of Education determines that its enactment will not reduce the college and career readiness of racial or ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, English learners, and low-income students and provides written notification to Congress on such determination.
Sponsor: Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2] (introduced 2/27/2015)      Cosponsors (None)

S.622 : A bill to strengthen families’ engagement in the education of their children.
Sponsor: Sen Reed, Jack [RI] (introduced 3/2/2015)      Cosponsors (2)

S.643 : A bill to amend titles I and II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to strengthen connections to early childhood education programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] (introduced 3/3/2015)      Cosponsors (1)

S.645 : A bill to assist States in providing voluntary high-quality universal prekindergarten programs and programs to support infants and toddlers.
Sponsor: Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] (introduced 3/3/2015)      Cosponsors (None)

S.649 : A bill to amend the eligibility requirements for funding under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
Sponsor: Sen Lee, Mike [UT] (introduced 3/4/2015)      Cosponsors (4)

S.658 : A bill to reauthorize the impact aid program under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
Sponsor: Sen Thune, John [SD] (introduced 3/4/2015)      Cosponsors (1)

S.671 : A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to strengthen elementary and secondary computer science education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] (introduced 3/4/2015)      Cosponsors (1)

S.672 : A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to support a reduction in school suspension and expulsions.
Sponsor: Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] (introduced 3/4/2015)      Cosponsors (None)


Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Report: The ABC of Gender Equality in Education: Aptitude, Behavior, Confidence: This compilation of the recent data on gender differences in education presents a wealth of data, analyzed from a multitude of angles in a clear and lively way. In particular it looks at underperformance among boys, lack of self confidence among girls and family, school and societal influences, as well as addresses policies to help boys and girls reach their full potential.
March 5, 2015

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Report: Public Elementary and Secondary School Arts Education Instructors: This Statistics in Brief uses data from two administrations of the Fast Response Survey System to present findings related to the different types of school staff (e.g., full-time staff, part time staff) used to provide arts instruction in public elementary and secondary schools; the extent to which public elementary schools used arts specialists (i.e., education professionals with a teaching certificate in an arts discipline who provide separate instruction in that discipline) to provide arts education to students; and the prevalence of arts instruction facilities in public elementary schools.
March 5, 2015

Brookings Institution Report: Measuring and Understanding Education Advocacy: The traditional delivery system for public K-12 education in the U.S. is being disrupted by forces from without (e.g., forms of competition, including charter schools) and from within (e.g., new regulatory requirements, including meaningful teacher evaluation and the Common Core). As in any sizable sector of the economy, challenges to the status quo in education are often met by organized advocacy efforts. Because education in this country is by-and-large a public enterprise, champions of change and defenders of the status quo must turn to elected and appointed officials to advocate for their desired outcome. This paper examines if advocacy efforts succeed in influencing the public policy that governs education.
March 4, 2015

The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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