E-Update for May 8, 2015

E-Update for May 8, 2015

EducationCounsel E-Update for May 8, 2015

On April 30, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced S. 1177, the “Every Child Achieves Act,” a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The bill is anticipated to be considered on the Senate Floor in June. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Leader, recently provided reporters with the Chamber’s expected May floor schedule and S. 1177 was not included in the list of legislation to be addressed. The text of S. 1177 is available here.


On May 11, the National Education Association (NEA) will host a day-long symposium, “Closing the Gaps: A Policy & Practice Conversation to Advance an Opportunity Agenda.” In this symposium, leading practitioners will highlight the success of specific interventions and gap-closing strategies, policy experts will explore the policy levers that can be pushed to better support and scale up proven practices, and leading thinkers will discuss the trajectory of education policy and practice needed in order to close achievement gaps and improve educational outcomes. At the intersection of this conversation between policy and practice, educators, policymakers, researchers, and advocates will have a unique opportunity to reflect on their role in closing achievement gaps, and to join with others in renewing an opportunity agenda for students. Register here.

On May 12, U.S. Dream Academy and congressional co-hosts Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) will present an event entitled, “Creating a Culture of Excellence: Parenting for High Performance.” Speakers will explore how real-world solutions and effective education policy can help remove barriers for low-income families to more fully engage in their child’s education and drive education reform. Speakers will include: Otha Thornton, President, National PTA; Rhonda Ulmer, Founder, University for Parents; Dr. Donald Sheffield, Author, Educator, Founder of DARE2XL After School Program; and Joyanna Smith, Ombudsman for Public Education, District of Columbia State Board of Education. RSVP here

On May 14, the Alliance for Excellent Education will host a webinar entitled, “Promise Scholarships: A College Access Webinar.” The webinar will focus on “promise programs,” also known as “place-based college scholarships,” which inspire school improvement within secondary schools and create lasting partnerships and greater alignment between the K-12 and postsecondary systems that have led to promising outcomes for students who are historically underserved. Data show that low-income students and students of color enrolled in promise programs have higher high school graduation rates, college enrollment, and attainment than their peers. RSVP here.

On May 14, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will host a hearing entitled, “Examining the Federal Government’s Mismanagement of Native American Schools.” Witnesses for the hearing have not yet been announced. More information here.

U.S Department of Education

U.S. Department of Education Announces $60 Million Available for First in the World Grant Competition: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced the availability of $60 million in Fiscal Year 2015 in the First in the World (FITW) program in a Federal Register notice. FITW grants will fund the development and testing of innovative approaches and strategies to improve postsecondary education attainment. Eligible applicants include institutions of higher education (individual or in a consortium), and other public and private nonprofit institutions and agencies.  Of the $60 million available this year, the competition sets aside $16 million for institutions designated as minority-serving institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
May 8, 2015

U.S. Department of Education Awards More than $24.8 Million in Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grants: USED awarded more than $24.8 million to 67 schools districts in 26 states across the country to establish or expand counseling programs. Grantees will use funds to support counseling programs in elementary and secondary schools. Specifically, the new Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant awards will aid schools in hiring qualified mental-health professionals with the goal of expanding the range, availability, quantity and quality of counseling services. Parents of participating students will have input in the design and implementation of counseling services supported by these grants.
May 6, 2015

Congressional Headlines

Senate Passes Balanced Budget Agreement: On May 5, the Senate adopted a fiscal year 2016 budget resolution, which was adopted by the House last week. The budget resolution reflects the current post-sequester caps on discretionary spending with $523 billion for defense and $493.5 million for non-defense programs. Full text of the budget is available here. The majority press release is available here and the minority press release is available here.
May 5, 2015

Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on Consumer Information in Higher Education: On May 6, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing entitled, “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: The Role of Consumer Information in College Choice.” Witnesses included: Dr. Mark Schneider, Vice President and Institute Fellow, American Institutes for Research, and President, College Measures; Deborah Santiago, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Policy, Excelencia in Education; Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President of College and Career Success Initiatives, Public Education Foundation; Taleah Mitchell, Graduate of Seattle Central College.
May 6, 2015

Wyden and Rubio Introduce Bill to Amend Reporting Requirements in Higher Ed: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced S. 1195, “The Student Right to Know Before You Go Act,” a bill to amend the Higher Education Act to update reporting requirements for institutions of higher education and provide for more accurate and complete data on student retention, graduation, and earnings outcomes at all levels of postsecondary enrollment.
May 5, 2015

OMB Director Calls for Agencies to Cut Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Requests by 5 Percent: Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan told the heads of federal departments and agencies to trim their request for defense and nondefense programs by 5 percent from the fiscal 2017 discretionary total submitted as part of the fiscal 2016 request the administration sent to Congress in February unless otherwise directed by the White House. In a May 1 letter, Donovan told officials to focus on reducing areas of “fragmentation, overlap, and duplication” as recommended by the Government Accountability Office.
May 1, 2015

House Higher Education Subcommittee Holds Hearing on College Access and Completion:

On April 30, the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training held a hearing entitled, “Improving College Access and Completion for Low-Income and First-Generation Students.” Witnesses included: Dr. Laura Perna, Executive Director of the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy; Dr. Charles Alexander, Director of the Academic Advancement Program at the University of California, Los Angeles; Dr. Joe May, Chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District; and Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper, President of the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
April 30, 2015

New Legislation

H.R.2217 : To amend the Head Start Act to promote trauma-informed practices, age-appropriate positive behavioral intervention and support, services for young children who have experienced trauma or toxic stress, and improved coordination between Head Start agencies and other programs that serve very young children.
Sponsor: Rep Clark, Katherine M. [MA-5] (introduced 5/1/2015) Cosponsors (None) 

H.R.2224 : To establish a pilot program to promote public-private partnerships among apprenticeships or other job training programs, local educational agencies, and community colleges, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Larsen, Rick [WA-2] (introduced 5/1/2015)      Cosponsors (2) 

S.1183 : A bill to increase the participation of women, girls, and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, to encourage and support students from all economic backgrounds to pursue STEM career opportunities, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY] (introduced 5/4/2015)      Cosponsors (1) 

S.1184 : A bill to establish a grant program to promote the development of career education programs in computer science in secondary and postsecondary education.
Sponsor: Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY] (introduced 5/4/2015)      Cosponsors (1) 

S.1185 : A bill to better integrate STEM education into elementary and secondary instruction and curricula, to encourage high-quality STEM professional development, and to expand current mathematics and science education research to include engineering education.
Sponsor: Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY] (introduced 5/4/2015)      Cosponsors (1)

S.1195 : A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to update reporting requirements for institutions of higher education and provide for more accurate and complete data on student retention, graduation, and earnings outcomes at all levels of postsecondary enrollment.
Sponsor: Sen Wyden, Ron [OR] (introduced 5/5/2015)      Cosponsors (2) 


Brookings Institution Report: Social and Emotional Development: The Next School Reform Frontier: This paper argues that policymakers should take action to address a crucial aspect of K-12 school improvement that is not often recognized by legislators and educators–the social and emotional development of youngsters who chronically lag far behind academically. The report explains that research and real-world experience convincingly show that interventions aimed at developing youngsters’ social and emotional skills boost their achievement levels and curtail behavioral problems. Moreover, the report shows, cost-benefit analyses demonstrate that these approaches produce significant benefits that appreciably exceed their cost.
May 2015

Center for American Progress Report: The Case for a Two-Generation Approach for Educating English Language Learners: This report argues that as the number of English Language Learners (ELLs) increases in the United States, historic and emerging so-called “gateway communities”—communities with established immigrant populations—must engage ELL parents and students simultaneously, as the outcomes for both groups are closely linked. The report states that such a two-generation approach has proven effective with English-proficient, high-poverty communities and could be a successful strategy for the ELL population as well. This report proposes a number of recommendations for ways that communities can implement a two-generation approach to close the language gap and expand opportunities for English learners, including: adopting the community school model to provide critical wraparound services for students and families; implementing extended learning time to provide additional instruction critical to help students learn English while learning their curricula; and prioritizing family engagement at school to help parents become better advocates for their children, among others.
May 2015

Center for American Progress Report: College for All: Improving College Access and Degree Attainment through an Early Guarantee of Federal Financial Aid: This report provides recommendations for how federal actors can effectively streamline the federal aid process and eliminate barriers such as the need for additional forms. This report also details how Congress, under the amended Higher Education Act of 1965, could pilot an early guarantee of aid through the previously authorized demonstration program. The pilot would allow for an early guarantee to be tested for impacts and outcomes on college access and completion rates, as well as troubleshoot delivering aid through the tax system. Through College for All, aid would be guaranteed, delivered, and repaid through the federal tax system in a more rational and organized manner. However, even without the additional reforms proposed under College for All, the report argues that an early guarantee of aid would increase transparency and incentivize more students to aspire to and achieve postsecondary education.
May 6, 2015

National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) Evaluation Brief: State Capacity to Support School Turnaround: This brief documents states’ capacity to support school turnaround as of spring 2012 and spring 2013, in light of the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) School Improvement Grants (SIG) and Race to the Top (RTT) programs aimed at helping states enhance their capacity to support the turnaround of low-performing schools. It examines capacity issues, based on interviews with administrators from 49 states and the District of Columbia, for all states and for those that reported both prioritizing turnaround and having significant gaps in expertise to support it. Key findings include the following: more than 80 percent of states made turning around low-performing schools a high priority, but at least 50 percent found it very difficult to turn around low-performing schools; thirty-eight states (76 percent) reported significant gaps in expertise for supporting school turnaround in 2012, and that number increased to 40 (80 percent) in 2013; more than 85 percent of states reported using strategies to enhance their capacity to support school turnaround, with the use of intermediaries decreasing over time and the use of organizational or administrative structures increasing over time.
May 2015

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Report: Public School Teacher Attrition and Mobility in the First Five Years: Results from the First through Fifth Waves of the 2007–08 Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study: This First Look report provides selected findings from all five waves of the Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study (BTLS) along with data tables and methodological information. The BTLS follows a sample of public elementary and secondary school teachers who participated in the 2007-08 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), and whose first year of teaching was 2007 or 2008. The purpose of the Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study is to provide a better understanding of the impact that different life events have on teachers careers (such as getting married, moving to a new location, or starting a family). It will also provide insight into how school and/or district characteristics and policies affect teacher satisfaction, and how teachers respond to transitions in their lives and careers (such as moving to a different school, changing the grade levels or subject taught, becoming a mentor, transitioning into a K-12 administration position, or exiting the teaching field).
April 30, 2015

The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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