E-Update for the Week of May 16, 2022
- On May 9, the White House announced that it has secured an agreement with twenty internet providers to increase internet speeds while lowering costs for low-income households.
- On May 12, a conference committee meeting was held on the America Competes Act (H.R. 4521) to begin to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bills.
- On May 16, the House Rules Committee will meet to consider H.R. 7309, the “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act [WIOA] of 2022.” The bill is likely to then move to full consideration by the House.
White House expands access to high-speed, affordable internet service for low-income Americans: On May 9, the White House announced that it has secured an agreement with twenty internet providers to increase internet speeds while lowering costs for low-income households. According to the Biden Administration, the commitments will allow “tens of millions” of households to receive high-speed internet at no cost as part of the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which was established in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (P.L. 117-58). The program will allow eligible households – which the Administration estimates to be nearly 40 percent of American homes – to reduce their internet service costs by up to $30 per month. To ensure as many eligible households as possible take advantage of the program, the Administration is also launching GetInternet.gov, which will provide details on how eligible households can sign up for the ACP and find participating internet providers in their area. In order to enroll in the program, at least one household member must have an income at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, or participate in certain federal assistance programs, including the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, or the Federal Pell Grant.
May 9, 2022
Republican lawmakers file brief in Harvard and University of North Carolina affirmative action Supreme Court case: On May 9, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) joined 82 Republican lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), in filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the cases that the anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions has filed against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the two cases, Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina, in the next term. The lawsuit against Harvard, which also alleges the school discriminates against Asian American applicants, seeks to overturn its ruling in a landmark affirmative action case, Grutter v. Bollinger, that has shaped college admissions policies for nearly two decades. “Race-conscious admissions decisions inflict a heavy toll on Asian-American students,” they wrote. “Treating them differently because of their race is a stark departure from equal protection decisions issued early on by this Court, which guarded Asian immigrants from racial prejudice.”
May 9, 2022
Ranking Members Foxx and Burr write letter to USED on potential student data leak: On May 10, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Miguel Cardona expressing concern about a recent report exploring whether the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) violated student data privacy regulations by inadvertently sharing data collected from individuals applying for the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) with Facebook. Citing the report, the Members claim that the Department used Facebook’s “Meta Pixel” analytical code to collect data from individuals, including names, phone numbers, email addresses, and zip codes, and later shared that information with Facebook. “Once again, the Biden Administration is attempting to evade Congressional oversight while it willfully violates the privacy of millions of students around the country,” the Members wrote. “The Department’s continued failure to be transparent harms FAFSA applicants and their trust in our institution, [while] also harm[ing] Congress’ ability to trust you and your agency.”
May 10, 2022
Conference meeting held on America Competes Act: On May 12, a conference committee meeting was held on the America Competes Act (H.R. 4521), a bill that aims to improve U.S. competition with China, to begin to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bills. During the meeting House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) spoke against the College Transparency Act, claiming that it “infringes on the privacy of every American college student by creating a federal database to track students throughout their lives without their consent.” Senate HELP Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) emphasized at the conference meeting that, “Both of these bills include important provisions to give K-12 students, especially historically marginalized students, better opportunities to pursue an interest in computer science and other STEM fields…And when it comes to supporting workers – who are the backbone of our economy – I want to make sure we pass a bill that not only connects workers with high-quality workforce development opportunities that prepare them to compete in the economy of the future, but creates good-paying jobs in these fields, right here in the U.S.” Statement from Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) is here. The previously announced lists of conferees include the following: Senate Democrats can be found here, Senate Republicans can be found here, House Democrats can be found here, and House Republicans can be found here.
May 12, 2022
Senators Murray and Kaine working on a revised child care and pre-K proposal for consideration in budget reconciliation legislation: On May 8, Politico reported that Senate HELP Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA), along with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), is working on a revised proposal related to child care and pre-K investments that could be included in a possible budget reconciliation bill. Aimed at gaining support from moderate Senate Democrats, including Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), the revised proposal would reportedly include between $150 and $200 billion in early childhood funding over six years. According to Politico, $72 billion is included for the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program for increased child care subsidies, $18 billion for a new grant program to help states expand access to pre-K, and $12 billion for the Head Start program to raise teacher wages. Additionally, $18 billion of the CCDBG funds would be set aside for scaling up child care infrastructure by improving facilities and raising wages, amongst other actions. An additional $50 to $100 billion would fund a pilot program within CCDBG that, similar to the previous Build Back Better Act proposal, would cap child care expenses for families making up to 250 percent of their state’s median income, so that they would spend no more than 7 percent of their income on child care. “Too many parents are locked out of the workforce because they can’t find or afford child care,” Kaine said in a statement to Politico. “I’m glad to support this proposal to make child care more affordable, raise wages for America’s hardworking child care providers, and open new child care programs through reconciliation.”
May 8, 2022
Senators introduce bipartisan mental health reform legislation: On May 10, Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced S. 4170, “The Mental Health Reform Reauthorization Act of 2022,” which intends to build upon provisions in The 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255) that are set to expire in September. The bill would reauthorize and expand certain mental health programs administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and significantly increase the Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG) program. The legislation intends to enhance community health services, expand access to pediatric mental health care, increase the diversity of the mental health workforce, and strengthen mental health parity laws. Additionally, the bill reauthorizes a SAMHSA grant program for children and youth with “serious emotional disturbances” that aims to increase access to mental health care, amongst other provisions.
May 10, 2022
Ranking Member Foxx co-signs letter criticizing Department’s proposed charter school rule, as USED seeks to clarify proposed rule: On May 9, House Republicans, including House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC), sent a letter to USED Secretary Cardona criticizing the Department’s proposed rule change to the Charter Schools Program (CSP). In the letter, the Members argue that the changes would “limit school choice access for families” by proposing new requirements and regulations on the opening and operation of charter schools. The proposed rule “goes beyond [USED’s] statutory authority to add or change requirements under the law,” the Members wrote, while making the application process “even more complicated and burdensome… thus limit[ing] the growth of charter schools.” The Members urged Secretary Cardona to rescind the proposed rule and withdraw any new requirements for the CSP.
Relatedly, on May 11, USED’s Press Secretary tweeted a series of statements addressing a few “misconceptions” the Department has “consistently” come across in their review of public comments responding to the proposed rule change. The Department says that the proposed impact analysis wouldn’t mean that charters “would only be eligible for funding if they could show that traditional public school enrollment is at or above capacity.” Instead, the Department states that the analysis could illustrate need by identifying waitlists for existing charter schools or outlining a community’s desire for educational approaches that differ from what traditional public schools offer. The Department also clarifies that it’s proposing, not requiring, a commitment from a charter school that they’ll collaborate with traditional public schools, and that charter schools could still receive grant funding if they did not propose those types of collaborations. Finally, the Department emphasized that the rule “only seeks to prevent further segregating schools – a priority we value across all of our…programs.”
May 9 and 11, 2022
House Rules Committee to meet on workforce innovation bill next week to tee up floor vote The House Rules Committee will meet on Monday, May 16, to consider H.R. 7309, the “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act [WIOA] of 2022.” A list of proposed amendments to the bill that could be considered during the Rules Committee markup is here. The Rules Committee is expected to approve the bill, along partisan lines, setting up a floor vote on the bill in the House during the week of May 16. While the bill could pass the House, the prospects for further action in the Senate remain unclear, particularly given that the bill is likely to only receive Democratic support. The Democratic proposal, which was introduced by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee Chairwoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL), would reauthorize and expand the nation’s workforce development system by authorizing $74 billion over six years for WIOA programs. The legislation also focuses on increasing workforce development opportunities for workers from historically underrepresented communities, such as people of color, women, and justice-involved individuals.
May 16, 2022
Upcoming Events (Congress & Administration):
- On May 17 at 10:15 am, the House Education and Labor Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Examining Ways to Improve the Juvenile Justice System and Support America’s Young People.” Witnesses have yet to be announced. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- On May 18 at 10:00 am, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Cybersecurity in the Health and Education Sectors.” The hearing will feature testimony from Denise Anderson, President and CEO of the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center; Joshua Corman, Founder of I Am The Calvary; Amy McLaughlin, Cybersecurity Program Director at the Consortium of School Networking; and Helen Norris, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Chapman University. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- On May 24 at 11:00 am, there will be an open meeting of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The meeting agenda will include roll call; welcoming remarks; a review of the Board’s mission and function; a discussion of the Board’s strategic priorities; and group discussion. The public comment period will begin immediately following the conclusion of such discussions, and there will be an allotted time for public comment. An RSVP is required in order to attend the meeting virtually. Submit a reservation by email to the firstname.lastname@example.org RSVPs must be received by end of business on May 21, 2022. More information and registration is here.
- On May 24 at TBD, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a Member Day hearing to allow Members an opportunity to provide input on the drafting of the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Labor/HHS Appropriations bill. A Dear Colleague to Members of the House of Representatives is here.
- On May 26 at 10:00 am, the House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a Public Witness Day hearing to accept written public witness testimony for the record for FY 2023. The deadline to submit a request to testify is May 16 at 8:00 PM ET, and the deadline to submit written testimony is May 26. More details and submission instructions are here.
- On May 26 at 1:00 pm, USED and the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) will hold the first session in a new learning series titled, “Community Schools: An Evidence-Based Whole Child Approach to Education.” The event will discuss what it takes to operate a quality, sustainable community school; how community schools have enabled educators to support students through the pandemic; and what makes community schools an effective strategy for supporting the whole child. More information and registration are here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On May 18 at 1:00 pm, the Government Executive Media Group will hold an event titled, “Digital Threats: How Schools are Combating Ransomware.” The event will feature a discussion focused on strategies in place to increase schools’ cybersecurity posture. More information and registration are here.
- On May 19 at 2:00 pm, the Hunt Institute will hold an event titled, “Reconsidering School Choice in the Wake of COVID-19.” The event will feature a discussion of how perceptions and policies around school choice have shifted as a result of the pandemic. More information and registration are here.
Publications (Congress & Administration):
- On May 3, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a resource hub titled “Education Across America: Cities, Suburbs, Towns, and Rural Areas.” The hub focuses on data by geographic locale, and includes a series of tables, disaggregated by locale, grouped in broad themes: family characteristics, educational experiences, school resources and staffing, and educational outcomes. The resource hub is here.
- On May 11, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report titled, “Pandemic Learning: As Students Struggled to Learn, Teachers Reported Few Strategies as Particularly Helpful to Mitigate Learning Loss.” The report examined strategies to make up for lost learning during the pandemic and found that fewer than 40 percent of K-12 public-school teachers said their students benefited from classes that allowed them to work independently without real-time instruction during the heights of the pandemic. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of teachers reported using so-called asynchronous classes regularly, and 85 percent of teachers who taught students fully or partially in-person said live instruction helped many of their students. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On May 10, the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International released a report titled, “How Have School Districts Spent ESSER Funds So Far? A Summary of Findings from ASBO International’s ESSER Spending Survey.” The report summarizes findings from a survey conducted by ASBO International that asked school business professionals to share how their districts have spent their Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) funding through January 31, 2022. The report found that schools need extended federal spending timelines to complete facility repair and improvement projects amid nationwide labor shortages, supply chain issues, and high demand for general contracting services. Additionally, districts say they’re facing pressure to increase staff salaries with no commensurate funding increases, resulting in “unsustainable spending.” The full report is here.
- On May 12, Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab published new data to its ESSER Expenditure Dashboard. The tool analyzes how districts are spending their federal relief funding and allows users to type in a district to see how fast (or how slowly) the money is being used. Users can also download an entire state’s file and run some analytics to see what the trends look like. Generally, the data show that districts are “making very different choices with their money,” and the pace of spending “appears to be slow.” The dashboard is here.
A bill to authorize programs to provide college scholarships and educational support to women and girls who have escaped Afghanistan and come to the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
A bill to establish and strengthen projects that defray the cost of related instruction associated with pre-apprenticeship and qualified apprenticeship programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require that institutions of higher education maintain certain adjusted cohort default rates to participate in programs under title IV of such Act, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to include court-ordered receivership in the list of actions resulting in a change of ownership of institutions of higher education.
Sponsor: Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA)
A bill to require the student loan ombudsman of the Department of Education to provide student loan data to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA)
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for the eligibility for educational assistance under the Department of Veterans Affairs Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program of certain individuals who receive sole survivorship discharges, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. David Joyce (R-OH)
A bill to amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to award grants to States to develop, convene, or expand industry or sector partnerships, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV)
A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide that services performed by certain individuals in postsecondary vocational institutions not be treated as employment.
Sponsor: Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI)
A resolution expressing support for increasing the number of Latino students and young professionals entering careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
Sponsor: Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA)
A bill to require the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to publish an annual report on indicators of school crime and safety that includes data on school shootings, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO)
A bill to reauthorize programs for mental health, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
A resolution congratulating the students, parents, teachers, and leaders of charter schools across the United States for making ongoing contributions to education and supporting the ideals and goals of the 23rd annual National Charter Schools Week, to be held May 8 through May 14, 2022.
Sponsor: Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)