E-Update for the Week of November 1, 2021
- On October 28, President Biden released an updated framework for the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, which was then followed by the release of legislative text. The top-line spending level for the package is estimated to be $1.75 trillion.
- On October 27, USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray testified before the House Education and Labor Higher Education and Workforce Investment subcommittee in a hearing titled, “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Office of Federal Student Aid.”
- On October 26, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee advanced by a voice vote the nominations of Amy Loyd to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Career and Technical Education (CTE) at the U.S. Department of Education (USED).
White House releases $1.75 trillion framework for negotiated Build Back Better Act, includes funding for universal pre-k, expanded child care: President Biden released an updated framework for the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, which was then followed by the release of legislative text. The top line spending level for the package is estimated to be $1.75 trillion. This Democrat-led spending package would make significant education-related investments profoundly impacting the nation’s supports and services for children and families. While the framework has been scaled back from previous proposals, the latest draft will particularly expand education-related support in the areas of access to high-quality child care and early childhood education and access to higher education. The timeline for the House to take up the legislative text, which can still be amended, is unclear and could happen in the coming days or weeks. The package will then require approval in the Senate – and need to maintain unanimous Democratic support to pass under the budget reconciliation process, which allows for a simple majority to pass the Senate.
The framework includes $400 billion for child care and preschool, which would enable states to expand access to two years of free preschool for every 3- and 4-year old, and extends the expanded Child Tax Credit for another year. This funding would also help states expand access to high-quality, affordable child care by providing subsidies for families to pay for child care programs. The framework also includes $40 billion for higher education and workforce programs, including, but not limited to, a $550 increase to the maximum Pell Grant award and investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to build capacity, modernize research infrastructure, and provide financial aid to low-income students. The framework is here, a section-by-section summary is here, and the legislative text aligned to the framework is here. A press release from House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here.
October 28, 2021
Biden Administration Transition:
Nominations and Personnel:
Loyd, Bruce nominations advance out of Senate HELP Committee: The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee advanced by a voice vote the nominations of Amy Loyd to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Career and Technical Education (CTE) at the U.S. Department of Education (USED) and Sandra Bruce to serve as the Inspector General (IG) at USED. A press release from Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) is here.
October 26, 2021
Coronavirus Updates (as related to education):
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED releases guidance documents focused on students, infants, toddlers with disabilities: USED’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) released two Q&A documents related to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C funds. The guidance documents, titled “Return to School Roadmap: Child Find, Referral, and Eligibility Under Part C of IDEA” and “Return to School Roadmap: Provision of Early Intervention Services for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and their Families under Part C of IDEA,” build on resources previously released in August that aim to support states in implementing American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds in full compliance of IDEA requirements. The Child Find, Referral, and Eligibility resource is here, and the Provision of Early Intervention Services resource is here.
October 29, 2021
Federal Student Aid office chief testifies in front of House education panel: USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray testified before the House Education and Labor Higher Education and Workforce Investment subcommittee in a hearing titled, “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Office of Federal Student Aid.” During the hearing, Cordray discussed his office’s priorities, including reforming the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, restarting student loan repayments early next year, and increasing Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion. Meanwhile, several Members asked about the status of a USED memo to the White House on student loan forgiveness. The memo, which is expected to lay out the Administration’s legal powers to cancel all student loan debt, was initially mentioned by White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain in April. In response to questions about the memo, Cordray vowed to implement “whatever is determined” in the document but neglected to mention a timeline for when the White House will make the memo public. When asked about how the Department is preparing to restart student loan repayments in February 2022, Cordray acknowledged that FSA is facing an “unprecedented” challenge. “We know this will not be easy for borrowers or loan servicing partners or any of the other stakeholders involved in the repayment process,” Cordray said. “This is a defining moment for FSA, and it’s crucially important for millions of Americans that we succeed.” Cordray’s testimony is here, and a recording of the hearing is here.
October 27, 2021
McCarthy, Foxx call on DOJ to rescind memo on supporting school boards: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), joined by House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and House Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH), sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, urging him to officially retract a memo from earlier this month in which he ordered federal law enforcement to work with local leaders on how to respond to a “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence” against educators and school board members. In the letter to Garland, the Members reference a separate letter written by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) earlier in September, in which NSBA asked for the Biden Administration’s support in responding to these increasing threats. In his initial memo, Garland cited the NSBA letter as justification for the increased coordination amongst federal law enforcement. However, because NSBA later rescinded their letter, McCarthy, Foxx and Jordan argue that Garland should rescind the actions outlined in his memo. “If the NSBA can no longer stand by its letter, how can the Department of Justice proceed with its actions spurred by that same letter?” the Members wrote. “The Biden administration also owes every parent in America an apology, and a clear commitment to end this senseless harassment, intimidation, and targeting of parents.” A press release is here.
October 26, 2021
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- On November 2 at 1:00 pm, USED will hold an event titled, “National Advisory Council on Indian Education.” Agenda items include updates on recent executive actions and preparation of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 report. More information and registration are here.
- On November 3 and 4 at 12:00 pm, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will hold its Education and Human Resources (HER) Advisory Committee Meeting. Agenda items include a session on “developing and leveraging partnerships in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) higher education,” amongst others. More information and registration are here.
- On November 4 at 10:00 am, the House Small Business Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “The Community College Pipeline to Small Businesses.” Witnesses include Dr. Anne M. Kress, President of Northern Virginia Community College; Dr. Rebecca A. Corbin, President and CEO of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE); and Mr. Joe Garcia, Chancellor of the Colorado Community College System. More information on the hearing is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On November 3 at 1:00 pm, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) will hold an event titled, “How States are Handling Lead in School Drinking Water, Examining New Research.” During the webinar, panelists will discuss the current landscape of school lead testing programs and recommendations for state leaders to address lead in drinking water at schools. More information and registration are here.
- On November 3 at 12:00 pm, First Focus on Children will hold an event titled, “Children’s Budget Summit 2021.” The event will focus on the release of the organization’s 15th annual “Children’s Budget Analysis,” and will feature remarks from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). More information and registration are here.
- On November 4 at 2:00 pm, Results for America will hold an event titled, “How Are Federal Agencies Building and Using Evidence and Data to Drive an Equitable Recovery?” The webinar will feature a discussion with Acting White House OMB Director Shalanda Young; House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter for a discussion of how nine federal agencies are leading the way in using data and evidence in their policymaking. More information and registration are here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On October 27, Chiefs for Change released two reports outlining how systems can create rigorous career and technical education (CTE) programming to give students the knowledge and skills they need for high-wage, in-demand jobs. The first report, “The Role of State Governance in Supporting Learner Pathways,” explains how state and local governments can implement a well-coordinated approach to CTE governance, one that involves all relevant entities and is aligned to educational attainment and economic development goals. The second report, “Education-to-Workforce Learner Pathways,” describes the specific role that intermediary organizations can play in supporting and sustaining effective CTE partnerships. Together, the reports provide guidance to help policymakers establish two foundational aspects of high-quality CTE programming and pathways from K-12 to college and careers. The first report is here, and the second report is here.
- On October 26, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center published new data on higher education enrollment. Key findings include identifying that undergraduate enrollment at colleges and universities declined for the second year in 2021; that public two-and four-year institutions experienced the worst losses; and that community colleges saw 14.1 percent of students leave over the last two years, while public four-years lost nearly three times as many students this year as they did last year. The full report is here.
- On October 25, the firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink released a report titled, “NCAA External Gender Equity Review: Phase II.” The report, which was commissioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), found that the organization spends more on male athletes than female ones on average, particularly when it comes to the few championship events seen as the organization’s biggest revenue producers. Oher key takeaways include that the NCAA “prioritizes men’s basketball, contributing to gender inequity,” and that internal support systems and television contracts contribute to the NCAA “significantly undervaluing women’s basketball as an asset.” The full report is here.
- Relatedly, a press release responding to the report from House Oversight and Reform Committee Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), along with Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) is here.
- On October 19, FREOPP released a report titled, “Is College Worth It? A Comprehensive Return on Investment Analysis.” The report estimates return on investment (ROI) – the increase in lifetime earnings minus the costs of college – for nearly 30,000 bachelor’s degrees. Key findings include identifying that for students who graduate on time, the median bachelor’s degree has a net ROI of $306,000; but after accounting for the risk of dropping out, ROI for the median bachelor’s degree drops to $129,000; and over a quarter of programs have a negative ROI. The full report is here.
A bill to modify the Federal TRIO programs.
Sponsor: Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to change certain Federal Pell Grant requirements for certain students with disabilities, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY)
A bill to require the Secretary of Defense to establish a program to carry out minor military construction projects to construct child development centers and to provide education and treatment services for infant and early childhood mental health, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA)
A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize certain grants (for youth suicide early intervention and prevention strategies) to be used for school personnel in elementary and secondary schools and students in secondary schools to receive student suicide awareness and prevention training, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
A bill to amend the definition of eligible program under the Higher Education Act of 1965 for the purposes of eligibility for Federal financial aid.
Sponsor: Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require the Secretary of Education to create a personal finance education portal on a centralized website of the Department of Education pertaining to Federal financial aid.
Sponsor: Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM)
A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to establish an Office of Prison Education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2022
Sponsor: Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)