E-Update for May 13, 2016

E-Update for May 13, 2016


  • The U.S. Departments of Education (USED) and Justice (DOJ) issued Title IX guidance to school districts on protections for transgender students’ right to participate in activities and access facilities consistent with their gender identity, such as restrooms and locker rooms. USED’s press release and guidance is available here. USED also released a document with examples of policies and emerging practices for supporting transgender students, available here.
  • The Congressional Research Service released a report regarding draft supplement, not supplant regulations released (but not agreed to) by USED during Negotiated Rulemaking discussions. The report includes a legal analysis of USED’s authority to issue the draft regulations. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued a joint press release regarding the report.

U.S. Congress

Scott and Murray Write Secretary King to Support Engaging Teachers in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Implementation: House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) wrote a letter to Secretary King urging USED to support educators as they implement ESSA through meaningful guidance and technical assistance. In the letter, Senator Murray and Rep. Scott highlighted the importance of engaging and consulting with teachers as stakeholders in order to ensure that local plans meet the needs of all students.
May 11, 2016

Senators Highlight Drop in Student Loan Rates: Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander, along with the bipartisan group of Senators that sponsored the, “Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013,” issued a press release highlighting that for loans issued on or after July 1 for academic year 2016-17 , the interest rate on undergraduate loans will be 3.76 percent, down from the current rate of 4.29 percent.
May 11, 2016

Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on Dyslexia: The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing entitled, “Understanding Dyslexia: The Intersection of Scientific Research and Education.” This hearing, chaired by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), was focused on the experiences of individuals with dyslexia, the latest research, and opportunities for early identification and support. Sen. Cassidy’s opening statement is available here; Sen. Mikulski’s opening statement is available here.
May 10, 2016

Warren Writes Federal Student Aid, Concerned About For-Profit Higher Ed Lobbying: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to the chief operating officer of USED’s Federal Student Aid office inquiring about recent hikes in lobbying spending by the large student loan servicer Navient Solutions, Inc. In the letter, Senator Warren expressed concern about the nature of these lobbying activities, and urged USED to keep the interests of student loan borrowers ahead of those of loan servicers.
May 10, 2016

Reps. Napolitano and Katko Host Briefing Promoting School-Based Mental Health Services: Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and John Katko (R-NY) co-hosted a bipartisan briefing to promote school-based mental health services. Rep. Napolitano spoke on the importance of talking with family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues about mental health, in order to reduce stigma and elevate the issue of mental health to the same level as physical health.
May 11, 2016


Secretary King Hosts Stakeholder Forum on ESSA Implementation: USED and Secretary John King hosted a stakeholder forum to provide an update on USED’s implementation of ESSA. The forum also included a panel discussion on stakeholder engagement currently underway at the federal, state, and local levels. Panelists included representatives from the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Governors Association, the National Parent Teacher Association, and the National Urban League.
May 10, 2016

USED Announces Grant Competition to Replicate and Expand High-Quality Charter Schools: USED announced a $65 million grant competition for creating and expanding high quality charter schools that support underserved students. Applications are due by June 20.
May 10, 2016

USED Releases Guidance on Pell Grant Eligibility: USED released guidance on Pell Grant eligibility for students without a high school diploma who are enrolled in career pathways programs. The guidance includes clarification of an eligible career pathways program and information regarding implementation of ability to benefit provisions included in the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill.
May 9, 2016

USED Pushes for Alternatives to Criminal History Questions in College Admissions: USED released a resource guide entitled “Beyond the Box: Increasing Access to Higher Education for Justice-Involved Individuals.” The guide includes alternatives for institutes of higher education to inquire about criminal histories while not creating barriers to prevent citizens with criminal records from pursuing higher education.
May 9, 2016


On May 17, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Helping Students Succeed by Strengthening the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act,” at 10:00 am in 2175 House Rayburn Building.  Witnesses have not yet been announced. A webcast of the hearing will be available here.

On May 18, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “ESSA Implementation: Perspectives from Education Stakeholders,” at 10:00 am in 430 Senate Dirksen Building.  Witnesses have not yet been announced. A webcast of the hearing will be available here.

On May 18, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) will host an event releasing 11 policy papers developed by the National Postsecondary Data Infrastructure Expert Working Group focused on a variety of emerging options for improving the quality of data infrastructure to inform state and federal data policy conversations. Information, including a webcast of the event, is available here.

New Legislation

H.R.5175 : To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to disapprove, for purposes of the educational assistance programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs, programs of education determined to have utilized deceptive or misleading practices in violation of section 3696 of such title, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Takano, Mark [CA-41] (introduced 5/10/2016)      Cosponsors (None)
Committees: House Veterans’ Affairs

H.R.5201 : To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to expand eligibility for public service student loan forgiveness to certain contractor employees of national laboratories.
Sponsor: Rep Swalwell, Eric [CA-15] (introduced 5/11/2016)      Cosponsors (13)
Committees: House Education and the Workforce


Findings from the Third-Grade Round of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K: 2011): This report from the National Center for Education Statistics examines overall third-grade achievement of a cohort of students who were attending kindergarten for the first time in the 2010-11 school year and were in third grade in the 2013-14 school year using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011). Reading, mathematics, and science assessment scores in the spring of third grade are included in the report, both overall and by selected child and family characteristics.
May 12, 2016

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