E-Update for November 13, 2015

E-Update for November 13, 2015


  • Reports began circulating this week that an Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization deal has been reached with a Conference Report likely to be introduced after Thanksgiving. Conferees could be officially announced next week with the House likely to take up the Conference Report the week after Thanksgiving followed by the Senate. This timeline is unofficial and could likely change as the process unfolds depending on, among other factors, whether the Conference Report will have the support of House Republicans and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).
  • The House was in recess this week, while the Senate went into recess on Tuesday evening. They will reconvene next Monday.
  • EducationCounsel, in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, published a new resource entitled, “Navigating the Transition: A Legal Primer on Using New State Student Assessments in Educator Evaluation.” The resource provides guidance to states and school districts as they determine how the transition to new state assessments for students will impact their educator evaluation systems. Access the resource here.


U.S Congress

Members of Congress Request Student Loan Relief: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and a group of Democratic Senators and Representatives wrote a letter to Secretary Duncan urging the U.S. Department of Education to expeditiously grant student loan relief to former students of Corinthian College. The letter asked the Department to proceed without requiring the borrowers to go through a burdensome paperwork process. The letter is available here.
November 11, 2015


U.S Department of Education

U.S. Department of Education Announces Highest-Rated Applications for 2015 Investing in Innovation Competition: The Department announced the 13 highest-rated applications for its Investing in Innovation (i3) 2015 competition. Selected from over 400 applications, these projects will support local efforts to start or expand evidence-based programs that can transform the trajectory of students, educators, and their schools.
November 13, 2015

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Comments on Progress under Race to The Top and the School Improvements Grant (SIG) program and U.S. Department of Education Releases Reports: Secretary Duncan delivered a speech at a high school in Boston remarking on some of the progress that states have made during the Obama Administration under various initiatives. He discussed states’ progress under Race to the Top and SIG, states’ adoption of college- and career-ready standards, and continued work to improve teacher preparation and quality. The U.S. Department of Education also released two reports documenting progress under Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants.  The Race to the Top Report can be found here and the SIG report can be found here. A press release with regard to the reports can be found here.
November 12, 2015

U.S. Secretary of Duncan Issues a Statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Higher Education Act: Secretary Duncan released a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The statement remarked on the progress the U.S. has made in increasing college enrollment, while reiterating the Department’s focus on improving student outcomes, lowering higher education costs and debt, and increasing innovation in higher education.
November 12, 2015

Under Secretary Ted Mitchell Releases Letter on 90/10 Rule: U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell released a letter on the Administration’s continued efforts to close a loophole in the “90/10 rule,” which requires for-profit institutions to obtain at least 10 percent of revenue from non-federal student aid sources. He asserted that since the law does not count G.I. Bill funds toward the 10 percent, some for-profit institutions take advantage of this by aggressively targeting service members. Under Secretary Mitchell’s letter urged Congress to act on S. 2272, the “Protecting Our Students and Taxpayers Act of 2015,” sponsored by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) to close the loophole.
November 11, 2015

Louisiana ESEA Flexibility Waiver Renewed:  The U.S. Department of Education announced that Louisiana’s ESEA flexibility waiver would be renewed, but was moved to high-risk status because its timelines to administer English language proficiency assessments and alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities do not meet the requirements of ESEA flexibility. In all, 42 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have received flexibility from the burdens of the existing law in order to support improved achievement in schools.
November 10, 2015



On November 16, the National Board for Education Sciences will hold a meeting from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 pm at 80 F Street NW, Large Board Room, Washington, DC. The Board advises the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) on, among other things, the establishment of activities to be supported by the Institute and the funding for applications for grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements for research after the completion of peer review. The Board also reviews and evaluates the work of the Institute. The agenda is available here.

On November 17, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) will host a release event for their report, conducted in partnership with EducationCounsel and Clowder Consulting, entitled, “The Right Trajectory: State Teachers of the Year Compare State Assessments.” NNSTOY assembled a group of State and National Teachers of the Year and Finalists to examine and take new consortia (PARCC and Smarter Balanced) tests as well as the prior state tests used in four states. NNSTOY Executive Director Katherine Bassett will facilitate a discussion of the findings with several of the State Teachers of the Year who participated in the study. They will be joined by Chris Minnich, Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Scott Palmer, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Education Counsel, and Catherine McClellan, Founder of Clowder Consulting. The event will be held at EducationCounsel’s offices. Register here.

On November 17, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing to review information security in the Department of Education.  The hearing will examine efforts to secure the personally-identifiable information provided by federal student aid applicants and their parents. Witnesses will include: Greg Wilshusen, Director of Information Security Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office; the Honorable Kathleen Tighe, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education; and Danny Harris, Chief Information Officer, U,S, Department of Education. The hearing will be held at 10:00 am in room 2154 of the House Rayburn Building. Information on the hearing can be found here.

On November 18, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training and the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations will hold a hearing entitled, “Federal Student Aid: Performance-Based Organization Review.” Witnesses will include: James Runcie, Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Department of Education; Melissa Emrey-Arras, Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security, U.S. Government Accountability Office; the Honorable Kathleen Tighe, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education; Ben Miller, Senior Director of Postsecondary Education, Center for American Progress; and Justin Draeger, President, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. The hearing will be held at 9:00 am in room 2154 of the House Rayburn Building. Information on the hearing can be found here.


New Legislation

S.2267 : A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to improve the financial aid process for homeless children and youths and foster care children and youth.
Sponsor: Sen Murray, Patty [WA] (introduced 11/10/2015)      Cosponsors (6)
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.2272 : A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 regarding proprietary institutions of higher education in order to protect students and taxpayers.
Sponsor: Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] (introduced 11/10/2015)      Cosponsors (3)
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions



Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in 2014-15; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2013-14; and 12-Month Enrollment: 2013-14: First Look (Provisional Data): The Institute for Education Sciences released this report, which is a revised version of the preliminary report released on July 23, 2015. It includes fully edited and imputed data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) fall 2014 collection, which included three survey components: Institutional Characteristics for the 2014-15 academic year, Completions covering the period July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, and data on 12-Month Enrollment for the 2013-14 academic year.
November 12, 2015

OECD Test for Schools Stories: The Global Learning Network released a series of stories from over 30 schools nationwide that documents the actions they have taken in response to the results from their participation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Test for Schools, which is based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This voluntary assessment enables individual high schools to compare themselves to global peers and each school receives an in-depth report filled with rich information designed to inform actions to improve student outcomes. The stories offer ideas on actions others can implement in their own schools in response to results from the test.
November 12, 2015

Examining Evaluator Feedback Survey Report: This report presents a survey tool, developed by the Regional Education Lab – Central at Marzano Research, designed to gather information from teachers about their perceptions of and responses to evaluator feedback. District or state administrators can use this survey to systematically collect teacher perceptions on five key aspects of evaluation feedback: (1) feedback usefulness, (2) feedback accuracy, (3) evaluator credibility, (4) access to resources related to feedback, and (5) teacher response to feedback. The survey tool was developed using an iterative process that included expert review, cognitive interviews, and a pilot study. Evidence regarding the reliability and validity of the survey tool is also reported.
November 12, 2015


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