E-Update for the Week of November 13, 2018
- On November 6, midterm elections were held across the country, the results of which will have ripple effects in both the federal government and state legislatures, and on education policy priorities. To help understand these potential effects further, read the EducationCounsel’s Outlook for Education Policy. The brief is found here.
- On November 2, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) led a letter addressed to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar. The letter urges the Secretary to “end any effort to redefine sex to exclude transgender and gender nonconforming people.” The letter comes after reports by the New York Times that the Department was reconsidering redefining “sex” as it relates to the enforcement of Title IX.
- On October 24, USED released a draft state plan guide for states to use as they begin to develop their state Career and Technical Education (CTE) plans per the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The guide includes two options for states – to either submit a transition plan for the 2019-2020 school year, with submission of a full plan the following year, or to submit a five-year plan. Either option will not require states to submit performance goals until 2020.
2018 Midterm Elections:
Democrats win control of House, Republicans extend majority in Senate, Democrats flip seven governorships: Midterm elections were held across the country, the results of which will have ripple effects in both the federal government and state legislatures, and on education policy priorities. To help understand these potential effects further, read the EducationCounsel’s Outlook for Education Policy. The brief is found here. Key takeaways include:
- Democrats won control of the House for the 116th Based on current races that have been called, Democrats have secured 225 seats, while Republicans have won 197 seats – 13 races have yet to be called. Due to their new position in the majority, Democrats can be expected to pursue an agenda that is a mix of both legislative action and oversight activities focused on immigration, campaign finance reform, gun control, infrastructure, and lowering prescription drug prices.
- In the Senate, Republicans will hold at least 51 seats in the 116th Congress, with three seats remaining undecided as of November 8. Significant changes regarding the Senate agenda are not expected, as the Senate’s leadership and the leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee are likely to remain the same.
- At the state level, there are 19 newly elected governors, based on current races that have been called, with one race undecided in Georgia. Based on current races that have been called, Democrats have picked up seven governorships, meaning the state governors are divided 26 Republicans to 23 Democrats.
November 6, 2018
Trump, McConnell call for ‘bipartisan’ collaboration in new Congress: President Donald Trump held a press conference to discuss the results of the midterm elections. During the conference, the President expressed his satisfaction with Republicans maintaining control of the Senate, while expressing his optimism and anticipation in working closely with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), as she is expected to be elected Speaker of the House for the 116th Congress. “Hopefully, we can all work together next year to continue delivering for the American people, including on economic growth, infrastructure, trade, lowering the cost of prescription drugs,” stated the President. The President’s full remarks are here.
Additionally, Rep. Pelosi delivered a victory speech after confirming Democrats had regained control of the House. During her speech, Rep. Pelosi expressed her desire to have a “bipartisan Congress” in which “Democrats have a responsibility to find our common ground when we can, stand our ground where we can.” The Hill has more information here.
Further, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered remarks after the elections, in which he described the results as being a clear vote for bipartisan cooperation. He described his intention to work with Rep. Pelosi on issues such as health care and infrastructure, but warned against persistent “presidential harassment” by Democrats. The Washington Post has more information here.
November 7, 2018
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
USED releases school report card guide for parents: U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos released a guide to help parents and families understand what should be included in school report cards, per the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “Parents deserve to know what is happening in their child’s school. They should not have to parse through a 500-page legal document to understand how a law or policy affects their children’s education,” the Secretary stated. Within the guide, specific components of a school report are described such as per-pupil spending levels, reports of student achievement, graduation rates, and the state accountability system. Further, the guide indicates that report cards should be accessible to all parents, readily available, and developed in consultation with parents and families. Virginia and Ohio are included as potential examples for how data can be presented in the report cards. The full guide is here. A press release is here.
November 7, 2018
The Senate returned from recess on November 13. Senate Republicans have scheduled elections for their leadership conference for November 14.
Murray leads letter to HHS, calls attempt to redefine ‘sex’ as ‘absurd’: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) led a letter addressed to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar. The letter urges the Secretary to “end any effort to redefine sex to exclude transgender and gender nonconforming people.” The letter comes after reports by the New York Times that the Department was reconsidering redefining “sex” as it relates to the enforcement of Title IX. The full letter is here. A press release is here.
November 2, 2018
House returns from recess, Democrats, McCarthy announce bids for leadership: The House returned from recess on November 13. While not official, POLITICO has reported that House Democrats may hold leadership elections for their conference on November 28 and 29. Key announcements include:
- On November 7, current House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced his intent to run for House Majority Leader for the 116th His letter is here.
- On November 7, POLITICO reported current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will run for House Minority Leader for the 116th The Majority Leader will be challenged for the position by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). The full POLITICO article is here.
- On November 8, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues announcing her intent to run for Speaker of the House for the 116th Her letter is here.
Budget Committee Republicans consider SNAP expansion a ‘Budget Buster’: The House Budget Committee majority staff published a post to their website titled, “Budget Buster: SNAP Expansion.” The post argues that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will cost the nation over $9.4 trillion over the next ten years. Further, the post claims that weak work requirements within the current program “increase dependency on the welfare system rather than [lift] people out of poverty.” The Committee majority staff argue that the House-approved Farm Bill would “encourage and lift Americans out of poverty” due to the increased work requirements for SNAP recipients. The full post is here.
November 9, 2018
Scott could pursue Higher Ed reauthorization, oversight, and school construction as Chair: House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) was interviewed by POLITICO regarding potential priorities for the Committee next Congress, if he is selected as Chairman. Ranking Member Scott described his desire to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, with the Democratic version – the “Aim Higher Act” – as a starting point for negotiations with House Republicans. Further, the Ranking Member discussed passing H.R.2475, the “Rebuild America’s Schools Act” – which he authored – and H.R.6964, the “Juvenile Justice Reform Act.” Lastly, Ranking Member Scott stated oversight of ESSA implementation and how USED has handled this, as well as the Department’s lack of progress with addressing concerns with the public service loan forgiveness program, will be top priorities for Committee oversight.
November 7, 2018
Lowey could work on earmarks return, increase in funding for early childhood education: House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) was interviewed by POLITICO, during which she described her potential priorities if selected as Chairwoman of the Committee. Specific priorities include the return of earmarks – if an agreement is reached between the House, Senate, and White House; increasing the funding for early childhood education programs, safety net programs, opioid treatment and prevention, and infrastructure back to pre-sequestration levels; and increasing oversight of the Administration.
November 2, 2018
Scott urges HHS to end consideration of religious freedom expansion for child welfare agencies: House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar in regards to reports that the Department is considering using the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to justify providing federal funds to child welfare providers who discriminate against prospective parents based on their identity. “The exemption under consideration is not justified under applicable legal standards and threatens to tear a hole in our nation’s social safety net, while undermining both civil rights and religious liberty,” Ranking Member Scott stated. The full letter is here.
November 1, 2018
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED higher ed nominee begins work at Department, awaits Senate confirmation: POLITICO reported that Robert King, the nominee for Assistant Secretary of Education for Postsecondary Education, has begun work with the Department as a senior adviser in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. There has been no action by the Senate on King’s nomination since it was received in August.
November 9, 2018
USED spends more than $270 million on STEM, computer science: USED announced it had fulfilled a spending directive from President Donald Trump to spend at least $200 million on the promotion of high-quality STEM education and computer science education. The Department announced it had spent $279 million in STEM discretionary grant funds in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. “These discretionary grant programs and this Administration’s increased focus on STEM will help ensure our nation’s students are exposed to STEM early in their lifelong education journeys and will have the tools needed for success in the 21st century economy,” stated USED Secretary DeVos. A press release is here.
Additionally, the Department released a “data story” on the state of STEM education in the country. According to data from the 2015-16 Civil Rights Data Collection, 80 percent of eighth-graders attend a school that offers Algebra 1, but only 24 percent of these students are actually enrolled in the course. The Department calls this a “‘leak’ in the STEM pipeline” and states the Administration is “committed to ensuring equal access to a strong STEM education for all students.” The data story is here.
November 8, 2018
USED releases, requests feedback on state CTE plan guide: USED released a draft state plan guide for states to use as they begin to develop their state Career and Technical Education (CTE) plans per the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The guide includes two options for states – to either submit a transition plan for the 2019-2020 school year, with submission of a full plan the following year, or to submit a five-year plan. Either option will not require states to submit performance goals until 2020. The Department is seeking input on the guide until December 24. Comments on the guide can be submitted here. The guide is here.
October 24, 2018
Internal Revenue Service:
IRS hears public comment on proposed charitable donations rule: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) held a hearing on a proposed rule that seeks to limit the federal deductibility of contributions to charitable organizations. According to the IRS, “Under the proposed regulations, a taxpayer who makes payments or transfers property to an entity eligible to receive tax deductible contributions must reduce their charitable deduction by the amount of any state or local tax credit the taxpayer receives or expects to receive.” Following the publication of the rule, school choice advocates raised concerns that the proposed rule could prevent donors who contribute to state tax credit scholarship programs from receiving such a benefit. The hearing included testimony from organizations supporting school choice and on the opposite side groups, such as AASA and the National Education Association (NEA). Press release on rule here. Federal Register notice here.
November 5, 2018
Upcoming Events (Congressional & Administration):
- On November 12-18, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is hosting National Apprenticeship Week. The weeklong series will focus on how leaders in business, labor, education, and other critical partners can demonstrate their support for apprenticeship programs. Further, the series will highlight how apprenticeships prepare a highly-skilled workforce that can meet the talent needs of employers across diverse industries. More information on events across the country is here.
- On November 12-16, the U.S. Department of State and USED are co-hosting International Education Week. The weeklong series of events will focus on the benefits of international education and exchanges worldwide. The event will promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences. More information and registration are here.
- On November 15-17, the National Assessment Governing Board will hold a quarterly board meeting. Highlights for the upcoming meeting include: November 15, 2018 – Ad Hoc Committee on Measures of Postsecondary Preparedness will meet; November 16, 2018 – Full Governing Board and Assessment Development Committee will meet; and November 17, 2018 – Full Governing Board will meet. For a full agenda, the notice can be found here.
- On January 14-16, February 19-22, and March 25-28, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Accreditation and Innovation Negotiated Rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announce the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announcement is here.
- On January 17-18, February 12-13, and March 11-12, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee for the Accreditation and Innovation rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announce the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announcement is here.
- On January 17-18, February 12-13, and March 11-12, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Faith-Based Entities Subcommittee for the Accreditation and Innovation rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announce the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announcement is here.
- On January 17-18, February 12-13, and March 11-12, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the TEACH Grants Subcommittee for the Accreditation and Innovation rulemaking committee will meet in Washington, D.C. USED will publish a separate notice in the Federal Register to announce the location of the meeting. The rulemaking committee announcement is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On November 12 at 2:00 pm, EdWeek is hosting a webinar, titled, “Improving Student Outcomes with Social-Emotional Learning Measurement.” The event will highlight the work of Olathe Public Schools in Olathe, Kansas and how they have improved academic outcomes, reduced chronic absenteeism, and have graduated more students prepared for college and career – all because, they claim, they have focused on social-emotional growth of their students. More information and registration are here.
- On November 13 at 3:00 pm, Learning Forward is hosting a webinar titled, “State Supports for Title II Implementation.” The webinar will describe how two states – Tennessee and Washington – are implementing Title II and what resources, tools, and messaging they are using to support districts. More information and registration are here.
- On November 13 at 3:00 pm, the National Association of School Boards of Education is hosting a webinar titled, “What the Midterm Election Results Will Mean for State Boards.” The event will analyze the results of the 2018 elections and describe what changes are expected for school boards in the coming year. Specific focus will be on governor appointments to the boards and the results of state education ballot initiatives. More information and registration are here.
- On November 13 at 3:00 pm, the Learning Policy Institute is hosting a webinar titled “Reaching Equity: Strategies for Solving Teacher Shortages in Underserved Communities.” The event will focus on how advocates and policymakers can address teacher shortages in underserved communities. Specific focus will be given to the recent Learning Policy Institute publication titled, “Taking the Long View: State Efforts to Solve Teacher Shortages by Strengthening the Profession.” The session will identify teacher preparation, recruitment, and retention strategies as well as examples from states and local advocates. More information and registration are here.
- On November 15 at 1:30 pm, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching will host a symposium titled, “Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement.” The symposium will showcase the work of groups engaging in improvement approaches to reduce the longstanding disparities in students’ outcomes. The event will feature the Center for Urban Education Leadership, Central Valley Networked Improvement Community, Memphis KIPP Wheatley Learning Collaborative, National Implementation Research Network, Kentucky Department of Education, StriveTogether, United Way of Salt Lake, and Un Buen Comienzo Improvement Network. For more information and registration, email Jim Kohlmoos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- On November 27, the Albert Shanker Institute and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are hosting an event titled, “The 2018 Elections: What Do They Mean for American Education?” Speakers for the panel discussion include, 2016 National Teacher of the Year and House Representative-elect Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Diana Hess, Domingo Morel, Michael Petrilli, and Randi Weingarten. More information and registration are here.
Publications (Congressional & Administration):
- On November 8, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a reported titled, “Military Service and Educational Attainment of High School Sophomores After 9/11: Experiences of 2002 High School Sophomores as of 2012.” The report analyzes the outcomes for students who entered into the military between 2002 and 2012. Key findings of the report include six percent of 2002 high school sophomores served in the military; 56 percent of those who served had a high school education or less; students who had the strongest academic preparation in high school were less likely to enter the military; and students with military service took out a federal student loan less often than students without military services. The full report is here.
- On November 6, NCES released a report titled, “Enrollment and Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2017; and Financial Statistics and Academic Libraries, Fiscal Year 2017: First Look.” Key findings of the report include approximately 20.1 million students enrolled in Title IV institutions in 2017, 17.1 million of which were undergraduate students; in FY2017, 28 percent of expenses at public 4-year institutions were for instruction; and of the four million employees at Title IV institutions and administrative offices, 2.6 million were employed full-time, and 1.4 million were part-time. The full report is here.
- On November 6, NCES released a report titled, “Postsecondary Institutions and Cost of Attendance in 2017-18; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2016-17; and 12-month Enrollment: 2016-17: First Look.” Key findings of the report include 3.3 million students were receiving degrees or certificates at Title IV institutions, with more than 58 percent receiving bachelor’s degrees; and 26.7 million students were enrolled in 12-month programs. The full report is here.
- On November 6, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report titled, “A Child’s Day: Parent Interaction, School Engagement, and Extracurricular Activities: 2014.” The report examines data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and measures parental engagement in terms of reading, outings with their children, and shared dinners. It reports results based on family demographics. Key findings of the report include families of all races went on two or more outings per week at roughly the same rate; Hispanic families had the lowest rate of reading to their children at least five days a week; and Asian and Hispanic families had the highest rates of eating dinner together as a family. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On November 6, the National Association for College Admission Counseling released a report titled, “State of College Admission: 2018.” Key findings of the report include there was an increase in freshmen applications by four percent since Fall 2016; colleges accepted nearly two-thirds of first-time freshmen; and the average yield rate for first-time freshmen decreased slightly in 2016 to 33.6 percent from 35.1 percent in 2015. The full report is here.