E-Update for the Week of November 15, 2021
- On November 17 at 10:15 am, the House Education and Labor Subcommittees on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, Higher Education and Workforce Investment will hold a joint subcommittee hearing titled, “Examining the Implementation of COVID-19 Education Funds.”
- On November 10, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) led a letter with other Republican Committee members asking the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide guidance on a “test-to-stay option” for unvaccinated students exposed to COVID-19.
- On November 5, USED Secretary Miguel Cardona and US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy published an op-ed in USA Today advocating for an increased focus on children’s mental health as the nation recovers from the pandemic.
Coronavirus Updates (as related to education):
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
Cardona, Murthy call for increased focused on children’s mental health: U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Miguel Cardona and United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy published an op-ed in USA Today advocating for an increased focus on children’s mental health as the nation recovers from the pandemic. In the piece, Secretary Cardona and Surgeon General Murthy highlight that an overwhelming majority of schools are open for in-person learning and COVID-19 cases in adolescents and children have dramatically declined. However, they also elevate concerning trends in students’ mental health, including a 40 percent increase in the number of high school students who reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and a prevalence in suicidal thinking amongst youth. “Our nation’s kids have had enough strain on their mental health and emotional well-being,” Murthy and Cardona write. “It’s on adults to recognize that our highest responsibility to children and youth is to lift up their needs; equip them to be physically, mentally, and socially healthy; and give them a chance, at long last, to thrive.” The op-ed is here.
November 5, 2021
Foxx calls on CDC to issue “test-to-stay” guidance for unvaccinated students: House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) led a letter with other Republican Committee members asking the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide guidance on a “test-to-stay option” for unvaccinated students exposed to COVID-19. In the letter, the Members request that the CDC amend the existing guidance that requires any unvaccinated individual exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine, regardless of test results, and argue that a “test-to-stay” option is the “best way to limit learning loss” while mitigating the spread of COVID-19. “Many parents and educators throughout our districts have expressed their frustrations with the current quarantine guidance,” the Members wrote. “Quarantining students who are not infected with COVID-19 creates unnecessary logistical challenges for parents and results in considerable learning loss for students.” A press release is here.
November 10, 2021
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights:
Commission on Civil Rights holds first meeting of Commission on Black Men and Boys: The newly formed Commission on Black Men and Boys (CSSBMB) met for the first time to examine potential civil rights violations affecting Black males and to study the disparities they experience in education, criminal justice, health, employment, fatherhood, mentorship, and violence. Congress established the permanent, bipartisan commission in June 2020, and tasked it with issuing policy recommendations to the federal government to address these disparities. The commission will issue an annual report to Congress with recommendations and guidance to improve upon current federal programs. An agenda from the meeting is here, and more information about the commission is here.
November 8, 2021
- The Senate and House were both in recess this week for state and district work periods and to observe Veterans Day.
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- On November 17 at 10:15 am, the House Education and Labor Subcommittees on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, Higher Education and Workforce Investment will hold a joint subcommittee hearing titled, “Examining the Implementation of COVID-19 Education Funds.” Witnesses have yet to be announced. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- On November 18 and 19, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will hold its Quarterly Board Meeting. Agenda items include National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2026 reading assessment, as well as discussion of potential changes to framework update process. More information and registration are here. Agenda is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On November 15 at 3:00 pm, the Urban Institute will hold an event titled, “Apprenticeship 2025: A Bold Vision for the Registered Apprenticeship System.” The webinar will feature a discussion about the Urban Institute’s newly launched Registered Apprenticeship Technical Assistance Centers of Excellence. More information and registration are here.
- On November 17 at 1:00 pm, Education Reform Now (ERN) will hold an event titled, “Reforming School Discipline: A Conversation with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.” The webinar will feature a discussion with Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) about how Congress can reform school discipline practices and ensure every child receives the support needed to thrive. More information and registration are here.
- On November 18 at 10:30 am, the Heritage Foundation will hold an event titled, “Roadmap for a New Generation of Welfare Reform.” The webinar will feature a discussion on how to help more Americans overcome poverty and other obstacles. More information and registration are here.
- On November 18 at 11:00 am, Third Way will hold an event titled, “Across the Finish Line: Why College Completion Matters.” The webinar will explore the topic of student retention in the wake of Congress’ Build Back Better legislation. More information and registration are here.
Publications (Congress and Administration):
- On November 10, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published an updated version of a previously released report titled, “Child Care in the ‘Build Back Better Act.’” The report analyzes details about a provision included in the most recent draft of the “Build Back Better Act” (H.R. 5376) that would create a new child care entitlement program, the Birth Through Five (B-5) Child Care and Early Learning Entitlement. More specifically, the report explains how funding for the proposed program would be appropriated, as well as eligibility requirements for both children and child care providers and how payment rates would be set. The report can be found here.
- On November 10, CRS published an updated version of a previously released report titled, “Universal Preschool in the ‘Build Back Better Act.’” The report analyzes details about a provision included in the most recent draft of the “Build Back Better Act” (H.R. 5376) that would create a new Universal Preschool program. More specifically, the report examines how funding for the proposed program would be appropriated and eligibility requirements for both children and providers. Additionally, the report summarizes eligible uses of funds, as well as what states must include in their implementation plans to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On November 12, ACT and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) published a report titled, “School Counselors’ Perspectives on the Social and Emotional Development of Students.” The report examines school counselors and their needs, perspectives, and challenges related to students’ social and emotional development. Key findings in the report include identifying that 85 percent of school counselors reported being very interested in incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) into their programs, and that district directors indicated that developing students’ social and emotional skills was as important as (72.5 percent) or more important than (25 percent) developing academic knowledge for student success. The full report is here.
- On November 12, Columbia University’s Community College Research Center (CCRC) published a report titled, “How Many Schools in Your State Shut Out Students From Dual Enrollment or AP?” The report analyzes the equity gaps in dual-enrollment and Advanced Placement (AP) coursework for students with disabilities and English language learners (ELL). Key findings include identifying that male students in each of these subgroups are particularly underrepresented in both dual-enrollment and AP courses; that white students are generally overrepresented in dual-enrollment and AP courses; and that 27 percent of schools that enrolled Black students offered dual enrollment courses but did not enroll any Black students in those courses. The full report is here.
- On November 11, GLSEN published a report titled, “Improving School Climate for Transgender and Nonbinary Youth.” The report illustrates the experiences of transgender and nonbinary students in K-12 schools by describing students’ experiences with hostile school climates, examining access to school supports, and determining whether and how these supports provide benefits specifically to this population of students. Key findings include identifying that compared to their cisgender LGBQ peers, transgender and nonbinary students were more likely to have felt unsafe based on their gender; experienced much higher levels of victimization based on their gender and gender expression; and reported lower levels of school belonging. The full report is here.
- On November 10, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Center for Responsible Lending and the University of North Carolina’s Center for Community Capital published a report titled, “My Yard, My Debt: The HBCU Student Borrower Experience.” Based on a national study and focus groups, the report found that more than 87 percent of Black students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) strongly support student debt cancellation, and more than 90 percent of Black borrowers support other policy solutions to address funding disparities and the wealth gap between white and Black families. The full report is here.
- On November 9, FutureEd published a report titled, “Changing the Narrative: The Push for New Equity Measures in Education.” The report examines the movement to introduce new equity indicators into the school-performance equation and explore its implications for students, educators, and policymakers. Key questions explored in the report include which of the many new indicators relate clearly to student success, how should the new information’s accuracy be ensured, and how many new indicators are needed to provide a clear picture of educational equity. The full report is here.
- On November 9, Third Way published a memo titled, “Build Back Better’s Investments in Pell + College Completion Are a Win for Students and Community Colleges.” The memo highlights Democrats’ latest version of the “Build Back Better Act” for including provisions that would increase the maximum Pell Grant award and provide funding for college completion. “Combined, these two investments will serve as a critical springboard to helping millions of students afford to go to college and ensuring the institutions they attend have adequate resources to help them make it across the finish line to a degree or credential,” the memo says. The memo also argues that even though tuition-free community college was ultimately dropped from the package, the legislation still “serves up a major policy win for students and community colleges.” The full memo is here.
A bill to amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to improve the child and adult care food program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to adjust the period of eligibility for Federal Pell Grants, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI)
A bill to amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to support women, infants, and children impacted by substance use disorder, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC)
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make payments to individuals entitled to educational assistance under the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance program who pursue a program of education through distance learning to be used to purchase computers, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA)