E-Update for November 21, 2022
The information covered below is from November 11 to 18. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, EducationCounsel will not circulate EUpdate on November 28.
- On November 14, a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency request from six Republican-led states to also block student loan forgiveness program. On November 17, the Biden Administration filed a new emergency request that the Supreme Court intervene to end the Eighth Circuit’s injunction, which would allow the program to move forward.
- Current HELP Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) has expressed that she intends to assume the top spot of the full Senate Appropriations Committee in the 118th Congress, which will likely mean that Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will become the lead Democrat on the Senate HELP Committee.
- On November 14, USED launched a new initiative titled, “Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success,” to increase access to high-quality workforce training programs and skills-based learning.
Federal District Judge rules student loan relief program “unconstitutional;” Federal Appeals Court grants injunction to halt program; Biden Administration files emergency request to SCOTUS to allow student loan forgiveness to begin: On November 10, Federal Judge Mark Pittman of the Northern District of Texas ruled that President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program was an “an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power and must be vacated.” Judge Pittman, appointed to the federal court in 2019 by former President Trump, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs – the Job Creators Network – who sued on behalf of two student loan borrowers who claimed to be ineligible for loan forgiveness. The ruling said that USED lacks the authority to implement the program and is “one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States.” Judge Pittman also ruled that the Department did not follow appropriate rulemaking procedures allowing for the public to provide comments on proposed actions. In a statement after the ruling, USED Secretary Cardona said, “We are disappointed in the decision [but] we are not standing down. The Department of Justice has appealed today’s decision on our behalf, and we will continue to keep borrowers informed about our efforts to deliver targeted relief.” The Biden Administration has appealed the Texas ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Separately, a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency request from six Republican-led states to also block the program on November 14. The six states – Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina – sued to block the debt relief program claiming that it was not Congressionally-authorized and would, among other impacts, negatively affect state tax revenue. A federal district judge in the Eastern District of Missouri rejected the initial challenge from these six states, asserting they lacked legal standing to pursue the case. Legal standing requires that a party seeking a legal remedy must demonstrate a connection to or harm from the law or action they are challenging.
These cases are expected to ultimately be resolved by the Supreme Court, which up until this point has rejected emergency requests to halt the program. On November 17, the Biden Administration filed a new emergency request that the Supreme Court intervene to end the Eighth Circuit’s injunction, which would allow the program to move forward. The Supreme Court has asked the six Republican-led states to respond to the Biden Administration’s filing by 12:00pm on Wednesday, November 23. Since the application for loan forgiveness was announced on October 14, the White House has said that nearly 26 million people have applied and almost 16 million applications have already been approved; however, USED has stopped accepting applications following the November 10 ruling that the program is “unlawful.”
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED updates non-regulatory guidance around data collection for low-income students attending private schools: On November 9, USED’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) updated its non-regulatory guidance around providing equitable services to eligible private school children. The guidance was originally issued in late 2019, and the revisions were made to three sections, all of which pertain to data collection for low-income students attending private schools. The revisions are such that if a local education agency (LEA) uses a survey to collect data, and survey results are not complete, LEAs must extrapolate full results based on a representative sample. Additions to the guidance provide considerations for LEAs that do not obtain complete poverty data from a survey, which include other comparable measures of poverty like E-Rate data or scholarship application data. USED is accepting public comments to the revisions, which can be emailed to email@example.com.
USED launches new initiative to support career-connected learning and increase job pathways for young Americans, which includes issuing new guidance on how ARP funds can expand vocational training: On November 14, USED launched a new initiative titled, “Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success,” to increase access to high-quality workforce training programs and skills-based learning. The initiative, which is a partnership between USED and the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor, unites key agencies to strengthen the connection between K-12 education, postsecondary education, and workforce programs. The new initiative was launched as part of National Apprenticeship Week, where industry, labor, education, workforce, and government leaders hosted events to showcase the successes of registered apprenticeships. First Lady Jill Biden, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, and USED Secretary Miguel Cardona traveled to Chicago, IL, to speak about the Biden Administration’s support for registered apprenticeships. First Lady Jill Biden shared how apprenticeships create opportunities for students and families, emphasizing that, “Everyone has a role to play … So get involved. Create apprenticeships. Work with the high schools and community colleges in your area. Mentor students.”
The Department also issued new guidance to describe how states and local educational agencies (LEAs) can use ARP and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act funds to develop postsecondary pathways. Specifically, the guidance discusses how funds can be used to invest in dual enrollment opportunities, strong career and college advising, opportunities for high-quality work-based learning, and giving all students the option to earn industry-sought credentials. The guidance included several examples from states and communities across the country that have made these investments in creating their own programs.
As part of the initiative’s launch, USED also announced $5.6 million in Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) funding for a grant program titled, “Career Z Challenge: Expanding Work-Based Learning Opportunities.” Grantees are encouraged to leverage multi-sector partnerships to increase work-based learning opportunities. In alignment with the new jobs created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the CHIPS and Science Act, USED noted that developing these work-based learning programs could include internships, cooperative education, pre-apprenticeships, and registered apprenticeship programs in key industries, such as advanced manufacturing, automotive, and cybersecurity.
USED Secretary Cardona visits California school with former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to promote high-quality afterschool education programs: On November 16, USED Secretary Cardona joined former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to commemorate the 20th anniversary of California’s Proposition 49: the After-School Education and Safety Act. Proposition 49 was implemented in 2006 and dedicated an estimated $6.77 billion to support school-based expanded learning programs across California. Secretary Cardona and former Gov. Schwarzenegger toured Bell Gardens Intermediate School and spoke with students about their afterschool program. Secretary Cardona highlighted the Engage Every Student Initiative, a USED partnership with several out-of-school time organizations that promotes high-quality learning opportunities. After the visit, Secretary Cardona shared that education is a “bipartisan priority” and expressed gratitude for Schwarzenegger’s support of afterschool programs.
USED Secretary Cardona praises family-school partnerships at National PTA townhall: On November 17, USED Secretary Cardona gave the opening remarks at the National PTA’s virtual townhall, expressing support for the newly-released National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. The event, titled “Raising the Bar with the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships,” introduced best practices for family-school programs and was held in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), The Superintendents Association (AASA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the National Education Association (NEA), and the National School Boards Association (NSBA). Secretary Cardona spoke about how the recent declines in reading and mathematics on the National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP) were “unacceptable” and “we need to raise the bar on how we’re engaging parents and helping them hold our schools accountable, because no one is more determined to see their child recover and accelerate their learning than parents.” The six standards – Welcome All Families, Communicate Effectively, Support Student Success, Speak Up For Every Child, Share Power, and Collaborate With The Child – each have a description, goals, and indicators that have been updated with more recent research and best practices.
Federal Judge grants settlement in student loan fraud case: On November 17, District Judge William Alsup gave final approval in a class-action settlement for students who claimed they were defrauded by their colleges or universities. In Sweet, et al. v. Cardona, more than 400,000 borrowers accused USED of illegally delaying debt relief from institutions that misled them or participated in some form of misconduct. According to Politico, the decision will discharge $6 billion in loans from roughly 200,000 borrowers who had pending claims, and $1.5 billion from 64,000 borrowers will be fast-tracked through the process. Note: A subscription to Politico Pro is required to view the article. Additionally, new claims from about 179,000 borrowers will go through a new process. Upon the release of the final decision, USED Secretary Miguel Cardona said that the Department was “pleased” with the settlement and that it “resolve[s] plaintiffs’ claims in a fair and equitable manner.”
House Education and Labor Ranking Member Foxx and House Budget Committee Ranking Member Smith request cost estimates on Biden Administration’s changes to federal student loan program: On November 17, House Education and Labor Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and House Budget Committee Ranking Member Jason Smith (R-MO) sent a letter to U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young requesting cost estimates of the Biden Administration’s the proposed student loan forgiveness plan, five extensions of the student loan repayment pause, and a new income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Under the loan forgiveness plan, USED would cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loans for Pell Grant recipients, and up to $10,000 for non-Pell Grant recipients. Individuals with annual income less than $125,000 and married couples with combined income less than $250,000 would be eligible to apply for relief. The proposed changes to the IDR plan would lower the required payment from 10 percent to 5 percent of a borrower’s discretionary income, raise the amount of income that is considered discretionary to 225 percent of the federal poverty level (roughly the equivalent of a $15 minimum wage), and forgive loan balances under $12,000 after 10 years of repayment, instead of the previous rule’s 20 years. The letter states that these changes would “upend the integrity” of the federal student loan program and requests information on the plan, including budgetary models used to estimate the plan’s fiscal impacts on the federal budget. Ranking Members Foxx and Smith also request any communication, documents, and legal opinions that pertain to “considerations of the midterm election regarding the timing of the August 24 announcement,” as well as estimates of the impact on inflation, the cost to taxpayers, and the justification of the use of executive action in the cancellation of federal loans.
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee leadership for the 118th Congress becomes more clear: Current HELP Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) has expressed that she intends to assume the top spot of the full Senate Appropriations Committee in the 118th Congress, which will likely mean that Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will become the lead Democrat on the Senate HELP Committee. On the Republican side, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) is retiring with the likely lead Republican on the Senate HELP Committee in the next Congress becoming Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA). While he has less seniority than Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on the committee, Senator Paul has indicated that he intends to become the Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Senator Cassidy is a longtime champion for the need to support individuals with dyslexia and their families, as his own daughter has dyslexia.
Upcoming Events (Congress & Administration):
- On December 5 and 6 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders will host an open meeting. The Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders will meet to discuss full and draft recommendations by the Commission’s six Subcommittees on ways to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. The Subcommittees are: Belonging, Inclusion, Anti-Asian Hate, Anti-Discrimination; Data Disaggregation; Language Access; Economic Equity; Health Equity; and Immigration and Citizenship Status. More information and registration here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On November 28 at 2:30 pm, FutureEd and CenterPoint Education Solutions will host a webinar titled, “Unfinished Agenda: The Future of Standards-Based School Reform.” Recent declines in mathematics and reading National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) scores shows the need to align high standards with high-quality curriculum and classroom instruction. Panelists will discuss strategies to help educators move forward on standards-based reform. Panelists include Laura Slover, CEO of CenterPoint Education Solutions; Michael Cohen, Senior Fellow at CenterPoint Education Solutions; John B. King, President at Education Trust and former U.S. Secretary of Education; Chester Finn, President Emeritus at Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and former Assistant Secretary of Education; and Lauren Weisskirk, Chief Strategy Officer, EdReport. More information and registration here.
- On November 29 at 3:00 pm, AASA, the School Superintendents Association, and Education Resource Strategies (ERS) will host a webinar titled, “Making the Most of Your ESSER Funds: Halftime Reflections and Revisions.” Fall 2022 marks the halfway mark of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding timeline. District leaders must spend their remaining funds to meet the needs of their students while simultaneously planning for the potential “cliff” when the funds end. The webinar will feature two district leaders who will speak to how they are engaging in halftime reviews, particularly as they consider their best investments throughout the SY23-24 budget cycle. This webinar is part of the AASA Learning Recovery & Redesign project in partnership with EducationCounsel. More information and registration here.
- On November 30 at 3:00 pm, the Education Law Center, in partnership with the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and ETS, will host a webinar titled, “Money Matters: Evidence Supporting Greater Investment in PK-12 Public Education.” The webinar will feature experts in school finance reform to present the benefits of increased education spending in PK-12 public education to improve student achievement. Panelists include Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, President & CEO of LPI and the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University; Dr. Rucker Johnson, the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy in the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley and faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research; and Dr. Jesse Rothstein, Director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) and professor of public policy and economics at the University of California, Berkeley. More information and registration here.
- On December 5 at 2:30 pm, The Hunt Institute and the Alliance for Early Success will host a webinar titled, “Early Efforts | 2022’s Big Wins for Little Kids.” Speakers from across the country will discuss this year’s major early childhood policy victories. The first hour will provide information about the policy victories, and the second hour will allow participants the opportunity to interact directly with event speakers in breakout rooms. Register here.
Publications (Congress & Administration):
- On November 17, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) released a new report titled, “A Retrospective Look at U.S. Education Statistics.” The report was created in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of IES, and though it is not a comprehensive look at the 155-year history of federal education statistics, it is intended to provide a better understanding of the history and use of this data. The report features a number of statistical profiles, including enrollment in elementary and secondary schools; high school graduates and graduation rates, and postsecondary student costs and finances.
- On November 17, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report titled, “National School Lunch Program: USDA Could Enhance Assistance to States and Schools in Providing Seafood to Students.” The report shows dietary guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) indicates school age kids should eat 4-10 oz. of seafood weekly, but seafood made up just 1-2% of all animal proteins that USDA purchased for the National School Lunch Program in FYs 2014-19. The GAO recommended that USDA enhance its assistance to states and school food authorities in providing seafood to students, and for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to work with the USDA to develop a collaborative mechanism to share information about domestic seafood vendors.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On November 2, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) published a set of new resources titled, “A Roadmap for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships.” In a new series from BPC, created in partnership with the Children’s Equity Project and Start Early, the first resource features a roadmap states can use to build Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnerships to advance supply, quality, and equity for infants and toddlers. The second resource details recommendations that states can use to start and strengthen EHS-CC Partnerships, including becoming EHS-CC grantees and using pandemic relief funds to build a state’s EHS-CC Partnerships. The final resource highlights the successes of EHS-CC Partnerships across the country, including California, Georgia, Montana, and Ohio, and how the Partnerships benefit children, families, teachers, and communities alike.
- On November 14, researchers at James Madison University and Johns Hopkins University published a new report titled, “Teachers’ Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Researchers used a large national data set to study the comparison between mental health outcomes during the pandemic between pre-K–12 teachers and professionals in other occupations, as well as the prevalence of mental health outcomes between in-person and remote teachers. The data indicated that during the early years of the pandemic, teachers reported a greater prevalence of anxiety symptoms than workers in other professions. Researchers also found that educators teaching virtually reported significantly higher levels of distress than those who taught in-person.
- On November 15, the Wallace Foundation released a new report titled, “States as Leaders, Followers, and Partners: Lessons from the ESSA Leadership Learning Community and the University Principal Preparation Initiative.” The report reflects efforts by the Wallace Foundation in seeking ways for states to foster conditions that can identify new principals and enable them to thrive and support teaching and learning. Report author and political scientist, Paul Manna, found several themes in these efforts, one of which points to the power of statewide partnerships with local organizations and professional associations, as they can lead to “creative problem-solving” and principal success. Additionally, Manna wrote that state standards for principals “can be a powerful policy lever to influence principal training, development and support—if they are actively used.”
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to protect children’s health by denying any deduction for advertising and marketing directed at children to promote the consumption of food of poor nutritional quality.
Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to qualify homeless youth and veterans who are full-time students for purposes of the low-income housing tax credit.
Sponsor: Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)
A bill to prohibit the provision of Federal funds to a labor organization the members of which are education professionals.
Sponsor: Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX)
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a refundable credit against income tax for tuition expenses incurred for each qualifying child of the taxpayer in attending public or private elementary or secondary school.
Sponsor: Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ)
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to strike the provision of the American Opportunity Tax Credit that denies the credit to students with felony drug convictions.
Sponsor: Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)
A resolution expressing support for the designation of the week of November 14 through November 18, 2022, as “National Family Service Learning Week.”
Sponsor: Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY)
A resolution recognizing the harm associated with restraints in schools.
Sponsor: Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX)
A resolution supporting the designation of the week beginning November 14, 2022, as “National Apprenticeship Week.”
Sponsor: Kathleen Rice (D-NY)
A bill to support national training, technical assistance, and resource centers, to ensure that all individuals with significant expressive communication disabilities have access to the augmentative and alternative communication the individuals need to interact with others, in order to learn, work, socialize, and take advantage of all aspects of life in the United States.
Sponsor: Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA)
A bill to ensure that significantly more students graduate college with the international knowledge and experience essential for success in today’s global economy through the establishment of the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program in the Department of State.
Sponsor: Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require the National Advisory Council on Indian Education to include at least 1 member who is the president of a Tribal College or University and to require the Secretaries of Education and Interior to consider the National Advisory Council on Indian Education’s reports in the preparation of budget materials.
Sponsor: Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)
A bill to direct the Secretary of Education to develop and disseminate an evidence-based curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12 on substance use disorders.
Sponsor: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to qualify homeless youth and veterans who are full-time students for purposes of the low income housing tax credit.
Sponsor: Sen. Rob Portman
A bill to allow community supports to meet specific needs of families and children through an electronic care portal under the MaryLee Allen Promoting Safe and Stable Families program.
Sponsor: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
A bill to amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to require the authorization of frozen fruits and vegetables under the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children.
Sponsor: Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS)
A resolution expressing concern about the spreading problem of book banning and the proliferation of threats to freedom of expression in the United States.
Sponsor: Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
A resolution supporting afterschool programs and Lights On Afterschool, a national celebration of afterschool programs held on October 20, 2022.
Sponsor: Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)
A resolution recognizing October 2022 as “National Principals Month.”
Sponsor: Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)
A resolution expressing support for the designation of the week beginning on November 7, 2022 as “National School Psychology Week.”
Sponsor: Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA)
A resolution designating November 2022 as “National College Application Month.”
Sponsor: Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)