E-Update for the Week of May 11, 2020
- On May 7, POLITICO reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on a call with members of the Democratic caucus acknowledged that a vote on a package that could provide additional relief in response to the coronavirus is possible next week, but not certain.
- On May 6, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) Federal Student Aid Office (FSA) published additional guidance for institutions of higher education regarding reporting requirements for funds received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. As part of the CARES Act, institutions received funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund to support emergency grants to students.
- On May 6, USED published the final rule for Title IX, as related to sexual harassment and assault. The final rule comes more than a year after the Department initially published a proposed rule in November 2018. The final rule applies to institutions of higher education and K-12 schools.
Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of 3:00 pm on May 8, 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.
Scott, Murray call on DeVos to rethink distance learning proposed rule: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding the Department’s notice of proposed rulemaking regarding distance education and innovation for postsecondary institutions. The Members noted that during the coronavirus pandemic, the proposed rule could weaken accountability for distance education and other providers. “Especially during this crisis, students must trust that distance education can provide them with a high-quality education. Thus, we urge the Department to delay this rulemaking until Congress and the public can better assess the needs of students and institutions in order to properly respond,” wrote the Members. A press release is here. The full letter is here.
May 4, 2020
Anticipated House phase five bill could happen this week, timing still uncertain: POLITICO reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on a call with members of the Democratic caucus acknowledged that a vote on a package that could provide additional relief in response to the coronavirus is possible next week, but not certain. While Democratic leadership had been hoping to introduce a package the week of May 4, a proposal has yet to be introduced, but could be unveiled in the coming days. POLITICO article here (subscription required).
May 7, 2020
Education Committee holds virtual briefing on remote learning: The House Education and Labor Committee held a virtual briefing titled, “Remote Learning in the Time of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The briefing focused on how the abrupt closures of schools has “exacerbated longstanding inequities” in K-12 education. “As Congress crafts the next coronavirus relief package, we must provide all school communities, particularly those most in-need, with the necessary support to ensure our students that right,” stated Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA). The briefing included discussions with Marlon Styles, Superintendent of Middletown City School District, and Robin Lake, Director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education. A press release is here. The full briefing is here.
May 7, 2020
Appropriators explore pandemic response, Rep. Clark calls for support of child care system: The House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “COVID-19 Response.” The hearing was focused on the healthcare needs and challenges associated with the pandemic. During the hearing, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) stated, “Child care is critical to reopening our economy. We are not going to have success if we don’t have a child care system, which has been so under -funded and teetering at the brink.” A recording of the hearing is here. The opening remarks by Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) are here.
May 6, 2020
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
Colleges, universities to publish number, amount, and calculation methods for CARES emergency student grants: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) Federal Student Aid Office (FSA) published additional guidance for institutions of higher education regarding reporting requirements for funds received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. As part of the CARES Act, institutions received funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund to support emergency grants to students. The guidance indicated that institutions, within 30 days of receiving funds, will need to report on their websites the total amount of funds the institution received, the total amount of emergency grants distributed to students, the estimated total number of students eligible to receive emergency grants, the total number of students who did receive an emergency grant, the methods used to determine which students received the grants and how much they would receive, and any instructions or guidance provided to students. Institutions will need to update their reporting every 45 days. The full guidance from FSA is here.
May 6, 2020
USED OIG outlines oversight plan of CARES implementation: The USED Office of the Inspector General (OIG) published an oversight plan for how the OIG will conduct its oversight of the Department’s implementation of the CARES Act, specifically the Education Stabilization Fund. The plan outlines that the OIG will include auditing the Department, its grantee management, and spending of the funds. Further, the OIG will examine the effectiveness of the relief programs and will investigate any misuse of funds. The full oversight plan is here.
May 5, 2020
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
ACF adds new features to ChildCare.gov website in light of pandemic: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the creation of a separate page on ChildCare.gov dedicated to helping parents connect to child care providers open during the pandemic. Additionally, the page provides information on access to emergency child care (for essential workers), child care financial assistance, and other resources to help find child care. A press release is here.
May 5, 2020
House Democrats opposed to USED changes to Borrower Defense application: The House Education and Labor Committee Democrats sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos in which they described their opposition to the Department’s proposed changes to the Borrower Defense program. The Committee Democrats raised concerns with the Department’s changes to the application and urged the Department to shorten the form so that it is clearer and more accurate of the borrowers’ individual circumstances. A press release is here. The full letter is here.
May 4, 2020
Jordan, Foxx seek more information on China investments in US colleges, universities: The House Oversight Committee Republicans sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos requesting information on how China has invested in U.S. postsecondary institutions. “For some time, we have been concerned about the potential for the Chinese government to use its strategic investments to turn American college campuses into indoctrination platforms for American students… These actions all bring into question whether U.S. IHEs receiving federal taxpayer dollars should be allowed to accept funds from China, the CCP, or other affiliated organizations,” wrote the Committee Republicans. Joining House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) was House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC). A press release is here. The full letter is here.
May 4, 2020
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
DeVos publishes long-awaited Title IX rule, K-12 and postsecondary schools impacted by changes: USED published the final rule for Title IX, as related to sexual harassment and assault. The final rule comes more than a year after the Department initially published a proposed rule in November 2018. The final rule applies to institutions of higher education and K-12 schools. “This new regulation requires schools to act in meaningful ways to support survivors of sexual misconduct, without sacrificing important safeguards to ensure a fair and transparent process,” stated USED Secretary Betsy DeVos. The final rule includes, but is not limited to, provisions such as defining sexual harassment to include sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking; requiring that K-12 schools respond to notifications of sexual harassment made by any school employee; and requiring that schools adopt one of two standards of evidence – the preponderance of the evidence or the clear and convincing standard. The final rule is here. A fact sheet from the Department is here. A press release from the Department is here.
A statement from Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is here. A statement from Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) is here. A statement from House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here. A statement from Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is here.
May 6, 2020
Publications (Congressional and Administration):
- On May 5, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Director, Mark Schneider, published a blog titled, “Making Common Measures More Common.” The blog post outlined a new initiative by IES to identify and use common measures of student outcomes. The post indicates that IES will search the What Works Clearinghouse to identify measures most often found in studies catalogued; will identify measure that are widely used across the research grants IES has funded over the years; will form a panel of experts to help identify common metrics defined by grade/subject band; will closely examine EdInstruments.com and other compendia of metrics; and will solicit input from the field on how best to proceed. The full blog post is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On May 5, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) published a report titled, “Preparing Facilities for Students’ Return in the Wake of COVID-19.” The report outlines a set of recommendations for how districts and schools can best prepare their schools to reopen. Key recommendations include cleaning and disinfecting schools; using environmentally safe chemicals when cleaning school facilities; developing a plan for how a school will distance desks and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to students and staff; and using this current moment to address other environmental health concerns such as removing lead-based paint, asbestos, mold, and other harmful pollutants from school facilities. The full report is here.
- On May 6, the Aspen Institute published a report titled, “Policy Recommendations to Support Social, Emotional, and Academic Development: Fostering Connectedness in the Pandemic Era.” The report outlines ten recommendations for state leaders to develop, maintain, and strengthen the “crucial connections and relationships” necessary for learning. Key recommendations include establishing a student advisory council for statewide education issues; identifying and addressing the stress and trauma that students have experienced during school closings; identifying and addressing the stress and trauma school personnel have experienced during school closings; and establishing a clear definition of “student engagement” and health conditions for learning. The full report is here.
- On May 6, the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) published a report titled, “Nearly 250,000 Fewer Low-Income FAFSA Renewals This Cycle Nationally.” The report summarizes an analysis of Federal Student Aid (FSA) data between October 2019 and mid-April 2020. Key findings of the report include identifying that FAFSA renewals have decreased 5 percent compared to last year; that FAFSA renewals for low-income students decreased by 8 percent compared to last year; and that applicants with income between $25,000 and $50,000 have decreased by 4 percent. The full report is here.
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- On May 12 at 10:00 am, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled, “COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School.” Witnesses will include members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force including 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; Dr. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and Dr. Stephan Hahn, Commissioner of Food and Drugs of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More information is here.
- On May 13 at 10:00 am, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The State of Broadband Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The hearing will examine initiatives by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to maintain and expand high-speed broadband internet. Witnesses will include Steven Barry, President of Competitive Carriers Association; Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA, the Rural Broadband Association; Gene Kimmelman, Senior Advisor of Public Knowledge; and Jonathan Spalter, President of USTelecom, the Broadband Association. More information is here.
- On May 15, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will hold its quarterly meeting. More information and registration are here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On May 13 at 1:00 pm, the Center for American Progress (CAP) will hold an event titled, “A Federal Right to Education: From Brown to Rodriguez and What Lies Ahead.” The webinar will focus on the history of the federal government’s role in providing equal access to high-quality education to all students. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) will provide introductory remarks. More information and registration are here.
- On May 14 at 1:30 pm, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) will hold an event titled, “Principal Turnover: Causes, Impacts and Solutions.” The webinar will feature a panel discussion on principal turnover and retention efforts, and the federal and state policy opportunities to support retention. More information and registration are here.
- On May 14 at 2:00 pm, the National Coalition on School Diversity will hold a keynote presentation. The webinar will feature Vanessa Siddel Walker, Elizabeth McRate, and Dani McClain. More information and registration are here.
- On May 15, the Fordham Institute will hold an event titled, “Social and Emotional Supports for Public, Private, and Charter School Students during the COVID-19 Crisis.” The webinar will feature a moderated panel discussion around how social and emotional learning (SEL) can be supported within remote learning. More information and registration are here.