E-Update for the Week of May 24, 2021

E-Update for the Week of May 24, 2021

Highlights:

  • On May 20, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that President Joe Biden will release his full budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2022 on May 28, which is a day later than previously announced.
  • On May 19, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) led a letter signed by all Republican Members of the Committee calling on USED Secretary Miguel Cardona to withdraw the proposed priorities for the Department’s American History and Civics Education programs.
  • On May 17, USED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it will hold a virtual public hearing on June 7 through June 11 as part of its review of existing Title IX rules and regulations.

Budget and Appropriations:

Biden expected to release full FY22 budget this week: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that President Joe Biden will release his full budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2022 on May 28, which is a day later than previously announced.  The full FY2022 request will include proposals for mandatory spending, tax reforms, and discretionary spending, including proposed funding levels for core U.S. Department of Education (USED) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs. The proposal will also likely build upon the President’s vision for infrastructure and jobs spending.

May 20, 2021

Coronavirus Updates (as related to education):

Administration:

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

Inspector General finds $1.2 million in CARES funding went to closed colleges last year: USED’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report that found that at least $1.2 million of federal COVID-19 relief money last year went to colleges that had already closed. In the report, OIG found that over $1.2 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were awarded to and drawn down by eight institutions that had closed permanently, while another school received $364,000 of relief money the day before it closed. OIG urged the Department to more closely monitor the allocation of HEERF funds, and raised the question about whether the closed colleges could comply with “the expectation that the funds would be used to help students continue in their programs of study and allow [colleges] to adapt to providing continued instruction during the pandemic.” The report is here.

May 13, 2021

Congress:

Secretary Walsh, Murry and Scott urge investments in child care, tout American Families Plan: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) held a press event with U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Marty Walsh to highlight the “urgent” need for Congress to enact the child care proposal in the American Families Plan. The proposal calls for a $425 billion investment to expand access to quality child care and preschool. “Businesses are re-opening, people are getting vaccinated…and things are starting to look up, but yet, of the 4.2 million women who dropped out of the labor force early in the pandemic, nearly 2 million have yet to return,” said Chairwoman Murray. “If we don’t solve our child care crisis, there isn’t going to be an economic recovery – it’s that simple.” A press release is here.

May 20, 2021

Non-Coronavirus Updates:

Administration:

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

USED upholds DeVos actions on gainful employment rule, will revisit rule in future: USED announced that it would uphold the Trump Administration’s rejection of an administrative complaint filed by a consumer advocacy group, Student Defense, which challenged the process former USED Secretary Betsy DeVos used to weaken the Obama-era “gainful employment” rule. In a letter announcing the decision, the Department wrote that it was unable to immediately rescind DeVos’s repeal of the rule, and instead must go through a new rulemaking process to restore it. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration is “reviewing and plans to revisit its policies relating to gainful employment in the future.” The full letter is here. (Note: A subscription to POLITICO Pro is required.)

May 18, 2021

OCR to hold Title IX hearings June 7 through June 11, registration now available: USED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it will hold a virtual public hearing on June 7 through June 11 as part of its review of existing Title IX rules and regulations. At the hearing, members of the public may comment on steps USED can take to ensure that schools are providing students with educational environments free from discrimination in the form of sexual harassment. Individuals and organizations may also submit written comments as well, which will be accepted until June 11. A press release is here, and a registration link is here.

May 17, 2021

Congress:

Senate:

Murray, Kaine seek investigation into state supports for infants, toddlers with disabilities: Senate HELP Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that the agency examine barriers to states’ effective implementation of Part C requirements under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for infants and toddlers with disabilities. In the letter, the Senators request that the GAO investigate key eligibility criteria in states’ IDEA Part C programs; whether state referral processes contribute to under-identification or fewer referrals services for families from underserved communities; the demographics of infants and toddlers that receive services under IDEA Part C; and how USED supports and monitors these programs. “We are particularly concerned by GAO’s previous findings, which indicate states are tightening eligibility criteria by narrowing the definition of ‘developmental delay’ to reduce the number of children eligible for early intervention services and the amount of state fiscal resources spent on these services,” the Senators wrote. The full letter is here.

May 18, 2021

House:

House Republicans apply more pressure to USED to rescind civics education program priorities: Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) led a letter signed by all Republican Members of the Committee calling on USED Secretary Miguel Cardona to withdraw the proposed priorities for the Department’s American History and Civics Education programs. In the letter, the lawmakers take issue with the priorities’ emphasis on teaching students about systemic racism and particularly its attention to the New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project.” According to the Members, the priorities “violate prohibitions against the federal government’s involvement in local schools’ curriculum, advance racist and divisive ideologies, and advocate for false history and misinformation.” While the Members urge schools to “address the abysmal performance of American students in civics and history,” they argue that any effort from the federal level must “respect state and local control of curriculum” and “be free of ideological bias.” A press release is here, and the full letter is here.

May 19, 2021

Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other Federal Courts

Federal judge rules that DeVos must testify in borrower defense class-action lawsuit: A federal judge for the Northern District of California ruled that former USED Secretary DeVos must comply with a subpoena to testify in a class-action lawsuit brought by former students of now-defunct for-profit colleges seeking to have their federal student loan debt forgiven. In his ruling, the judge rejected the joint effort by former Secretary DeVos and the Biden Administration to prevent her from having to testify in the case, ruling that “exceptional circumstances” justify the deposition of a former Cabinet member. The judge ruled that DeVos must participate in a deposition in which attorneys for the student borrowers may question her under oath about the decisions she made regarding the loan forgiveness program. An article from POLITICO is here.

May 19, 2021

Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):

  • On May 26 at 12:00 pm, the House Agriculture Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “The Future of SNAP: Moving Past the Pandemic.” No witnesses have yet been announced. More information is here.
  • On May 27 at 10:00 am, the House Ways and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Universal Paid Leave and Guaranteed Access to Child Care.” No witnesses have yet been announced. More information is here.
  • On June 7 through June 11, USED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will hold a virtual public hearing on improving enforcement of Title IX. At the hearing, members of the public may comment on steps USED can take to ensure that schools are providing students with educational environments free from discrimination in the form of sexual harassment. Individuals and organizations may also submit written comments as well, which will be accepted until June 11. More information and registration are here.
  • On June 18 at 11:00 am, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will hold a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education Advisory Panel During the meeting, Advisory Panel members will provide advice to the Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM) and to assess CoSTEM’s progress. More information and registration are here.

Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):

  • On May 24 at 1:00 pm, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine will hold an event titled, “Exploring the Opportunity Gap for Young Children From Birth to Age Eight, Meeting 3, Day 1.” The public information-gathering session will focus on evidence-based, effective strategies for improving conditions and promoting success for children—at home, in communities, and in schools. More information and registration are here.
  • On May 24 at 4:00 pm, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will hold an event titled, “Lessons from Inside the Department of Education: Preparing to Staff and Run the Next Conservative Administration.” The webinar will feature a conversation about how conservatives can prepare to take full advantage of the next opportunity to run USED. More information and registration are here.
  • On May 25 at 12:00 pm, New America will hold an event titled, “Varying Degrees: 5 Years Later.” The event will examine New America’s report “Varying Degrees: New America’s Annual Survey on Higher Education” and consider the future of higher education and the role policy. More information and registration are here.
  • On May 25 at 4:00 pm, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Teach Plus will hold an event titled, “Beyond Stakeholder Engagement: Centering Early Childhood Educator Expertise in Policy Making.” The webinar will feature a conversation about how to support educator leadership during this critical time for the early childhood field. More information and registration are here.
  • On May 26 at 12:00 pm, the Heritage Foundation will hold an event titled, “This Budget Doesn’t Add Up: How Biden’s Spending Plan Misses the Mark for Both Defense and Education.” The webinar will discuss the history of federal funding approaches in both defense and education spending, their current respective budgetary needs, and what the Biden Administration’s actions thus far portend for these critical issues. More information and registration are here.
  • On May 26 at 4:00 pm, the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) will hold an event titled, “21st-Century Reader: Developing Literacy Skills in a Digital World.” The webinar will focus on findings from Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) latest study that explores how students are developing reading skills to navigate the technology filled world of the 21st century. More information and registration are here.
  • On June 2 at 2:00 pm, the Hunt Institute will hold an event titled, “Early Efforts: Cultivating Shared Leadership Within Early Childhood Settings.” The event will explore one state’s efforts to work collaboratively to create cross-role adult leadership in early childhood programs. More information and registration are here.

Publications (Administration):

  • On May 17, the Federal Reserve published a report titled, “Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2020.” Amongst other findings, the survey confirmed that the ability of parents to work was affected by disruptions in child care and schooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Key findings include identifying that more than 1 in 5 parents were out of work or working less in 2020 due to child care or school disruptions; and that Black, Hispanic, and single mothers, as well as mothers with low incomes, were more likely not to be working or to be working less due to the disruption. The full report is here.

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On May 20, Third Way published a memo titled, “How Doubling the Pell Grant Could Be a Down Payment on Free College.” The memo advocates for doubling the existing Pell Grant, suggests potential pathways lawmakers can take to institute the policy shift, and highlights further benefits that would result from expanding the Pell Grant. Key takeaways include identifying that doubling the Pell Grant would fully cover the average cost of in-state tuition and fees at public community colleges in all 50 states for students receiving the average Pell award or above; and that Pell Grants can work in conjunction with other key affordability policies to target the barriers to retention and attainment posed by a student’s total cost of attendance. The full report is here.
  • On May 20, the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) published a report titled, “COVID-19 Revealed New Roles for Cities to Create a Continuum of Support for Youth and Families: They Shouldn’t End with the Pandemic.” The report explores cities’ involvement in promoting learning pods. Key findings from the report include identifying that 36 percent of the largest U.S. cities operated or sponsored learning pods during the pandemic; of learning pods supported or led by city governments, 35 percent were operated in partnership with other institutions; and that while most learning pods are focused on child care and remote learning support, some filled gaps they observed in student and family supports. The full report is here.
  • On May 20, the Pell Institute published a report titled, “Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States.” The report draws from existing data to provide indicators that describe trends in equity in postsecondary enrollment, choice, and degree attainment, as well as indicators of college affordability. Key findings from the report include identifying that, on average, low-income students attend institutions with far fewer resources than more affluent students; that white high school graduates were over three times more likely to attend a selective institution compared to Black high school graduates; and that ten years after completing their bachelor’s degree, 86 percent of Black students had borrowed for undergraduate or graduate education, compared with 71 percent of white students. The full report is here.
  • On May 19, the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) published a report titled, “Private College Tuition Discounting Continued Upward Trend During COVID-19 Pandemic.” The report analyzed private universities’ and colleges’ tuition discount rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, and found that in 2020-21, 361 private, nonprofit colleges and universities significantly discounted their listed tuition and fee prices for first-time, full-time, first-year students and nearly half of undergraduates. Other key takeaways include identifying that most students received some grant aid in 2020-21 and were awarded larger grants than in previous years; and that average net tuition and fee revenue has declined since 2016. The full report is here.
  • On May 18, the Pew Research Center published a report titled, “First-Generation College Graduates Lag Behind Their Peers on Key Economic Outcomes.” The report analyzed data from the Federal Reserve Board to find economic inequities in first-generation college graduates compared to peers who have college-educated parents. Key findings include identifying that among household heads who have at least a bachelor’s degree, those who have a parent with at least a bachelor’s degree have substantially higher incomes and more wealth than those who are the first generation in their family to graduate from college; and that adults who have at least one college-educated parent are far more likely to complete college compared with adults with less-educated parents. The full report is here.
  • On May 17, the Center for American Progress (CAP) published a report titled, “The Compound Benefits of Greening School Infrastructure.” The report reviews the need for federal school infrastructure funding, the benefits of both immediate and long-term school infrastructure upgrades, and the ways in which these upgrades can “spur greater climate action.” Key takeaways include identifying that 54 percent of school districts – a bulk of which primarily serve students of color – need to update or completely replace multiple building systems in their schools; that as of June 2020, one-third of schools still needed to update or replace their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; and that schools are uniquely positioned to function as models for the deployment of clean energy technology. The full report is here.

Legislation:

H.R.3274

A bill to establish the National Fab Lab Network, a nonprofit organization consisting of a national network of local digital fabrication facilities providing universal access to advanced manufacturing tools for workforce development, STEM education, developing inventions, creating businesses, producing personalized products, mitigating risks, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL)

H.R.3294

A bill to provide for the long-term improvement of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC)

H.R.3342

A bill to establish a competitive grant program to support out-of-school-time youth workforce readiness programs, providing employability skills development, career exploration, employment readiness training, mentoring, work-based learning, and workforce opportunities for eligible youth.

Sponsor: Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA)

H.R.3362

A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require institutions of higher education to provide notice to students receiving work-study assistance about potential eligibility for participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)

H.R.3365

A bill to require the Secretary of Education to disclose information about career and technical education and funding under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, and require FAFSA applications to include a career and technical education acknowledgment.

Sponsor: Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX)

H.R.3366

A bill to amend the Small Business Act to include requirements relating to graduates of career and technical education programs or programs of study for small business development centers and women’s business centers, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX)

H.R.3381

A bill to direct the Secretary of Transportation to issue rules requiring the inclusion of new safety equipment in school buses, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)

H.R.3383

A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to increase civics education programs, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL)

H.R.3391

A bill to direct the Secretary of Education to make allotments to States to carry out full-day kindergarten programs, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ)

H.R.3393

A bill to remove college cost as a barrier to every student having access to a well-prepared and diverse educator workforce, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL)

H.R.3397

A bill to establish high-quality dual language immersion programs in low-income communities, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)

H.R.3398

A bill to improve the English language and literacy skills of English language learners and their families, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)

H.R.3418

A bill to permit leasing of available Federal real property to expand in-person education during COVID-19 public health emergency.

Sponsor: Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC)

H.R.3428

A bill to strengthen the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) categorical eligibility for applicants who already receive supplemental assistance elsewhere and for those with assets high enough to not require assistance; and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC)

H.R.3432

A bill to require the Secretary of Education to enter into an agreement with the National Academies to conduct a study on the possible mental health effects of a lockdown drill or active shooter drill in elementary and secondary schools, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)

H.R.3445

A bill to amend the National Apprenticeship Act in order to increase and expand the national apprenticeship system to include the immediate recruitment, employment, and on-the-job earn as you learn training of young African Americans, and to promote the development of equitable hiring standards necessary to safeguard the diversity of apprentices, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep. David Scott (D-GA)

S.1661

A bill to establish the National Fab Lab Network, a nonprofit organization consisting of a national network of local digital fabrication facilities providing universal access to advanced manufacturing tools for workforce development, STEM education, developing inventions, creating businesses, producing personalized products, mitigating risks, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

S.1668

A bill to establish a competitive grant program to support the development, implementation, and evaluation of successful educator and school leader professional development programs on family engagement that will increase the capacity of educators and school leaders to work with families to develop and support the social-emotional learning of children.

Sponsor: Senator Angus King (I-ME)

S.1696

A bill to establish a competitive grant program to support out-of-school-time youth workforce readiness programs, providing employability skills development, career exploration, employment readiness training, mentoring, work-based learning, and workforce opportunities for eligible youth.

Sponsor: Senator Tina Smith (D-MN)

S.1719

A bill to increase rates of college completion and reduce college costs by accelerating time to degree, aligning secondary and postsecondary education, and improving postsecondary credit transfer.

Sponsor: Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

S.1738

A bill to provide additional funding for school-based health centers, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

S.1741

A bill to amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to provide for alternative pathways of addressing child abuse and neglect.

Sponsor: Senator Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)

S.1757

A bill to have education funds follow the student.

Sponsor: Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)

S.1780

A bill to remove college cost as a barrier to every student having access to a well-prepared and diverse educator workforce, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)

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