E-Update for the Week of May 4, 2020
- On April 30, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) published applications for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) to access $1.4 billion in funding as provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
- On April 27, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos announced she would not recommend that Congress approve any additional waiver authority regarding Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requirements within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- On April 27, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos published notices to apply for $307.5 million in discretionary grants authorized by the CARES Act. The Secretary announced that she will use her authority to create two grant programs – $180 million for the Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant and $127.5 million for the Reimagining Workforce Preparation Grant.
Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of 4:00 pm on May 1, 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.
Clyburn, House Democrats release $80 billion proposal to expand broadband access nationally: House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) announced a proposal to expand broadband access to rural areas and to low-income individuals. The $80 billion proposal would be deployed over five years and would be used to support broadband infrastructure construction; would ensure internet affordability; and enable internet adoption. “As we see millions of our fellow Americans unable to telework, learn remotely, or access telehealth because they lack broadband, now is the time to act,” stated Majority Whip Clyburn. A press release is here.
April 30, 2020
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
DeVos releases CARES Act funds for HBCUs, MSIs: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) published applications for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) to access $1.4 billion in funding as provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The dedicated funding is part of the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund. According to the Department, institutions may use the funding to cover the cost of technology associated with distance education, grants to cover costs of attendance for students, and faculty and staff training. The Department also stated that funds may be used to cover operational costs (such as lost revenue), reimbursements for prior expenses, and payroll. A press release is here.
April 30, 2020
Department issues guidance on transferability of funds, repurposing of equipment during pandemic: USED published two fact sheets related to the transfer of state and local level funds and the repurposing of federal equipment and supplies. The Department notes that state education agencies (SEAs) and LEAs continue to maintain the authority to transfer funds reserved for state-level activities related to Title II, Part A (Supporting Effective Instruction Grants) and Title IV, Part A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants). The Department is reissuing 2017 guidance that indicates states and LEAs have the authority to transfer funds from state activities for these programs to other ESEA programs in order to meet “pressing educational needs.” Additionally, the Department outlines grantees (including LEAs) may repurpose equipment and supplies, such as laptops, if their original purpose is not able to be met due to the pandemic. The Department indicates, for example, that equipment that was purchased for afterschool enrichment activities may be repurposed during school closures since such enrichment activities are not able to be held at the moment. The fact sheet for the transfer of funds is here. The fact sheet for the repurposing of equipment is here.
April 29, 2020
DeVos uses CARES Act set-aside to create “Rethink K-12 Education” grant, includes previously announced microgrants to families proposal: On April 27, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos published notices to apply for $307.5 million in discretionary grants authorized by the CARES Act. The CARES Act allows the Secretary to reserve 1 percent of the Education Stabilization Fund to create grants to support states most impacted by the coronavirus. The Secretary announced that she will use this authority to create two grant programs – $180 million for the Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant and $127.5 million for the Reimagining Workforce Preparation Grant. The Rethink K-12 Education Models (REM) Grant will allow state educational agencies (SEAs) to compete for funds in support programs in three categories including microgrants for families; statewide virtual learning and course access programs; and field-initiated models for providing remote education. The Reimagining Workforce Preparation (RWP) Grant is designed to expand short-term postsecondary programs and work-based learning programs. A press release is here. The REM notice to apply is here. The REM application package is here. The RWP notice to apply is here.
April 27, 2020
DeVos passes on requesting additional IDEA waivers during pandemic: USED Secretary Betsy DeVos announced she would not recommend that Congress approve any additional waiver authority regarding Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requirements within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). As required by the CARES Act, the Secretary was to report to Congress on the need for additional waiver authorities that may be needed during the pandemic. “While the Department has provided extensive flexibility to help schools transition, there is no reason for Congress to waive any provision designed to keep students learning,” stated the Secretary. The Secretary did announce that she would request that Congress consider some additional flexibilities on administrative requirements under the Perkins Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and IDEA. Such flexibilities would defer work or repayment requirements for recipients of IDEA personal preparation grants; and allow for local education agencies (LEAs) to keep any funds allotted to them for the 2019-2020 academic year, that they were not able to spend due to the pandemic. A press release is here. The Department’s report to Congress is here.
April 27, 2020
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
ACF releases information on CCDBG funds authorized by CARES Act: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), an office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), published an information memorandum regarding the appropriation of $3.5 billion authorized by the CARES Act for the Child Care Development and Block Grant (CCDBG). The memorandum outlines allowable uses of CARES Act funds to include continued payments and assistance to child care providers; cleaning, sanitation, and other activities necessary to maintain or resume operation; providing child care assistance to health care sector employees, emergency responders, and other essential employees, without regard to income eligibility requirements; and other uses already allowed by the program. The full memorandum is here.
April 29, 2020
Publications (Congressional and Administration):
- On April 28, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published a report titled, “Postsecondary Enrollment of CTE Students.” The report summarizes a review of postsecondary enrollment of students who concentrated, during high school, in a single career and technical education (CTE) field compared to those who did not concentrate within one field. Key findings include identifying that 74 percent of CTE students enrolled within postsecondary education within three years of graduation; and that 77 percent of students who earned two CTE credits in high school earned a credential and 80 percent of students who earned three CTE credits earned a credential. The full report is here.
- On April 28, NCES published a report titled, “Public School Principals’ Top Three Most Important Education Goals, by Charter Status and School Level.” The report summarizes an examination of education goals by principals based on school type. Key findings of the report include identifying that 72 percent of principals selected “building basic literacy skills,” 69 percent selected “encouraging academic excellence,” and 54 percent selected “promoting good work habits and self-discipline;” that more principals in traditional public schools ranked “building basic literacy skills” as one of their top three goals compared to public charter school principals (64 percent); and that more public charter school principals prioritized preparing students for postsecondary education at a higher rate than traditional public school principals, 37 percent and 31 percent respectively. The full report is here.
- On April 27, NCES published a report titled, “Courses Taken, Credits Earned, and Time to Degree: A First Look at the Postsecondary Transcripts of 2011-2012 Beginning Postsecondary Students.” The report summarizes a study of undergraduate students who entered into postsecondary programs in 2011 and their outcomes after six years. Key findings of the report include identifying that after six years, students averaged attempting 88 undergraduate credits and earned an average of 78 credits; that 42 percent of students had taken at least one remedial course; and that it took an average of 49 months to complete a bachelor’s degree. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On April 30, the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) published a report titled, “The Impact of the COVID-19 Recession on Teaching Positions. The report summarizes a review of how projected state and local budget shortfalls can impact the number of educators that may have to be fired as a result. Key findings of the report include identifying that funds received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) likely saved more than 395,000 education jobs during the Great Recession in 2008-2010; that the recession caused by the pandemic could result in state education revenue losses of 10 percent this year and 20 percent in the 2020-2021 fiscal year; and that based on a 15 percent reduction in state education funding, there could be an 8.4 percent reduction in the educator workforce nationwide. The full report is here.
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- On May 4, the Senate is expected to return to session after their extended recess due to the coronavirus pandemic. The House was expected to return as well but an announcement by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) canceled the members’ return to session. The House will continue to remain in recess until further notice from House Leadership. The announcement from the House Majority Leader is here.
- On May 6 at 10:00 am, the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “COVID-19 Response.” The hearing will be in person but will be webcast. No witnesses have yet been announced. More information and a webcast link are here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On May 4 at 2:00 pm, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will hold an event titled, “A blueprint for back to school: How should schools prepare?” The webinar will focus on how schools can reopen in a safe and responsive manner to the needs and families who have been impacted by the coronavirus. The discussion will be moderated by John Bailey, AEI scholar. More information and registration are here.
- On May 6 at 8:00 am, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) will hold an event titled, “Assuring Quality in Higher Education in a Time of Crisis.” The webinar will focus on how institutions of higher education are reacting to the coronavirus, including the transition to remote learning, and will explore the role of quality assurance bodies in addressing quality while working with institutions. More information and registration are here.
- On May 6 at 12:00 pm, New York University’s (NYU) DC campus will hold an event titled, “The Education Divide: Inequity in the Age of COVID-19.” The webinar will focus on the impacts of the pandemic with special attention paid to the inequalities in K-12 education that prevent higher education for all. Discussion will also be had on possible solutions and ideas to better prepare school systems for future, similar circumstances. More information and registration are here.