E-Update for the Week of November 8, 2021

E-Update for the Week of November 8, 2021

Highlights:

  • During the week of November 1, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) continued negotiations with moderate and progressive Members of the Democratic party in an effort to seek a vote on the Build Back Better Act.
  • On November 5, the House adopted the bipartisan infrastructure package, sending the bill to President Biden’s desk for his signature.
  • On November 2, House and Senate Democratic and Republican leadership of the Appropriations Committee met to discuss a path forward for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations process.

Budget & Appropriations:

House Democrats continue negotiations on Build Back Better Act, vote scheduled for week of November 15:

During the week of November 1, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) continued negotiations with moderate and progressive Members of the Democratic party in an effort to seek a vote on the Build Back Better Act.  Several moderate House Democratic Members have called for the need for a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the bill prior to a vote and “continue to urge [the Speaker] to only bring a bill to the floor for which we have a strong level of confidence that the provisions in the bill will be ruled in order by the Senate Parliamentarian and earn passage in the U.S. Senate.” Given their concerns, it is likely that the House will not move forward with a vote on the Build Back Better Act until a score is available. However, on November 5, House Democrats negotiated an agreement to take a procedural vote on the Build Back Better Act, setting up the House to fully consider the bill the week of November 15. If a bill should pass the House, the proposal will then move to the Senate where it is likely to be amended before being sent back to the House for additional consideration.  The letter from Democratic Members calling for a CBO score is here.

Relatedly, on November 3, House Democrats released a revised version of the Build Back Better Act that included the addition of $5 billion for Community College and Industry Partnership Grants and paid leave provisions. The revised version compared to the previously released version is here.
Week of November 1, 2021

Congressional appropriators meet to discuss FY22 appropriations, no agreement reached: House and Senate Democratic and Republican leadership of the Appropriations Committee met to discuss a path forward for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations process. In order to begin joint negotiations on specific funding levels for programs for FY2022, Democrats and Republicans must first agree on top-line spending levels for FY2022, including the split between defense and non-defense spending. Following the meeting, Senate Appropriations Committee Richard Shelby (R-AL) noted to Politico that, “we’re at a standstill,” increasing the likelihood of an additional Continuing Resolution (CR) after December 3 – when current federal funding expires – and possibly for a full year CR.  In response, Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) issued a press release outlining the impact of a full year CR on federal agencies and noted that Republicans, “seem intent on driving us toward a full-year continuing resolution.” Additionally, Republicans and Democrats will need to reach an agreement on how to address proposed changes to federal policy (known as policy riders) in draft appropriations bills for FY2022. The press release from Chairman Leahy is here. An article from Politico is here.
November 2, 2021

Coronavirus Updates (as related to education):

Administration:

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

USED approves ARP spending plans for California, Colorado: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced the approval of Colorado’s and California’s plans detailing each states’ proposed use of American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funding. Earlier this year, the Department distributed two-thirds of the ARP ESSER funds to 50 states and the District of Columbia. To receive, the remaining third of the funding states are required to submit their state plans to the Department for approval. With this most recent approval, 46 states, including the District of Columbia, have now received both tranches of their ARP ESSER fund allocations. The remaining states will receive their full funding once the Department approves their state plans. A list of approved state plans is here.
November 4, 2021

Administration releases data dashboard to track school reopening: USED, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), launched a new COVID-19 data dashboard to help the public track the impact of COVID-19 on K-12 schools. The dashboard aggregates in one location data on pediatric COVID-19 cases, youth vaccination rates, and numbers on schools that are operating in-person, hybrid or remote. Data will be updated each week, and where possible, the information is presented geographically so that educators and families can understand the impact of COVID in their communities. The dashboard is here.
November 4, 2021

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year-olds: The CDC announced its recommendation to make 5-11 year old children eligible for COVID-19 vaccines after the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA)’s authorization. “This is another major milestone in our efforts to protect more children, their families, and our communities as we work to end the pandemic,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement. “We are following the data and science, and after a thorough review by FDA and CDC, we are ready to get millions of children vaccinated.” A press release is here.
November 2, 2021

Congress:

Senate:

HELP Committee hears from Administration officials on continued response to pandemic: The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee conducted a follow up hearing as part of a series of hearings focusing on next steps in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  During the hearing, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director; Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Dr. Janet Woodcock, Acting Commissioner of the FDA; and Dawn O’Connell, HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response provided testimony to the Committee regarding progress in combatting COVID-19 and planned action to strengthen response efforts to the pandemic. In her opening remarks, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) highlighted recent progress in the fight against COVID-19 and the need to build on momentum, including with investments in the proposed Build Back Better Act to improve the nation’s public health and preparedness infrastructure. Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Richard Burr (D-NC) used his opening remarks to call on federal officials to better anticipate the nation’s pandemic recovery needs, increase testing capabilities, and enhance real-time data collection. Specifically, the Ranking Member noted, “Testing shortages and delayed test results are keeping children out of school, parents away from the office, and limiting our understanding of where the virus is circulating in our communities.” A recording of the hearing is here. A press release from Chairwoman Murray is here, and a press release from Ranking Member Burr is here.
November 4, 2021

Non-Coronavirus Updates:

Congress:

Senate:

Warren leads colleagues in effort to seek information from student loan servicers: A group of Senate Democrats led by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wrote letters to three loan servicers – Navient, Granite State, and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) – asking when the companies are planning to transfer “tens of millions” of borrowers’ accounts to new student loan servicers in the upcoming months.  In the letter, the Members urge the companies to “conduct a full review of your borrowers’ accounts to address any inaccuracies or other problems before transferring the accounts to a new servicer,” and “maintain documents and adequate staffing for a sufficient transitional period.” The Members also request information regarding the companies’ plans for communicating with borrowers about the transition, as well as details about document retention, staffing, and compliance management systems. The letter to Navient is here, the letter to Granite State is here, and the letter to PHEAA is here (note: a subscription to Politico Pro is required).
November 4, 2021

House:

House approves bipartisan infrastructure package, sending $550 billion bill to president’s desk: After multiple days of negotiations and whipping efforts, House Democratic leadership secured enough support from the Democratic caucus to advance the bipartisan infrastructure package. The package was approved by a bipartisan 226-208 vote after House Democrats reached a compromise with moderate and progressive Democrats to advance the infrastructure package in addition to taking a procedural vote related to the Build Back Better Act. The $550 billion infrastructure package is focused on physical infrastructure projects, and includes $65 billion to bolster the nation’s broadband infrastructure, $55 billion to improve drinking water supplies (including those leading to schools and child care facilities), and $5 billion to reinforce public school bus fleets with electric vehicles. A fact sheet from the White House is here. A POLITICO article is here.
November 5, 2021

House small business panel explores role of community colleges in workforce development efforts: On November 4, the House Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development conducted a hearing titled, “The Community College Pipeline to Small Businesses.” The hearing explored the role that community colleges can play in rebuilding local economies and retooling the American workforce through support of workforce development initiatives, such as apprenticeships and job training, and innovation and entrepreneurial development programs, like incubators and accelerators. During the hearing, educational leaders also testified on the way community colleges can drive economic development and revitalization. A recording of the hearing is here.
November 4, 2021

House Republicans seek information from DOJ on memo related to school boards: House Oversight Committee Republicans wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting information related to a memo Garland wrote 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, the Members express concerns about Garland’s “impartiality,” and claim that he is “attacking parents who pay his salary” instead of “prosecuting real threats of terror, domestic and abroad.” The Members also request data that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) “relied on” in making its assertion about the increase in threats of violence against educators and school board members, as well as all drafts of the memo that predate DOJ’s final version. A press release is here.
November 3, 2021

Foxx, McCarthy lead roundtable discussion on concerns related to ‘nationalization’ of education, child care systems: House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) joined House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in holding a roundtable discussion to call attention to Republican concerns with the Democratic-led Build Back Better Act. Discussion during the roundtable meeting focused primarily on the role of parents in education. An announcement about the event is here, and a press release from Ranking Member Foxx is here.

Relatedly, House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) conducted a roundtable discussion to provide members of the Committee an opportunity to express concerns with the Build Back Better Act. During the discussion, Members instead voiced support for Republican proposals related to paid leave and child care. A press release from Ways and Means Committee Republicans is here.
November 2 & 3, 2021

Scott highlights investments for HBCUs in Build Back Better Act: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) released an Op-Ed calling attention to “historic investment[s] in the Build Back Better Act” which Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are poised to receive. In the Op-Ed, Scott notes that HBCUs have been “neglected and underfunded for more than 150 years,” and that the Build Back Better Act would secure more than $2 billion in additional direct aid specifically for HBCUs. He goes on to note that, “This funding can be used to address a wide range of needs – such as infrastructure upgrades, financial aid for students, and other improvements to overall campus services. This next round of federal support translates to an additional $7,000 per student in federal aid.” Additionally, Chairman Scott highlights an additional $3 billion for HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions to build out their research capacity and related infrastructure via grant competitions for each category of school. A press release is here.
November 1, 2021

Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):

  • On November 10 at 3:15 pm, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will hold an Assessment Development Committee Meeting. Items on the agenda include discussions related to the 2026 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessment and initial public comments on a current NAEP science framework. More information and registration are here.
  • On November 12 at 2:30 pm, NAGB will hold a Reporting and Dissemination Committee & Assessment Development Committee Meeting. Items on the agenda include an overview and review of contextual questionnaire items. More information and registration are here.

Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):

  • On November 9 at 2:00 pm, New America will hold an event titled, “Mapping the Community College Baccalaureate.” The webinar will feature a presentation on a new inventory of community college baccalaureate programs and an expert panel on implications for the field. More information and registration are here.
  • On November 9 at 3:00 pm, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold an event titled, “The Future of Business and Higher Education.” Organized in consultation with the White House Initiative on HBCUs, the event will feature presidents and chancellors of HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions from across the country in a dialogue on how leaders in business and higher education are creating purposeful partnerships to enhance educational experiences and develop a skilled workforce for the future. More information and registration are here.
  • On November 10 at 8:00 am, the Brookings Institution will hold an event titled, “What are the Implications of Assessing 21st Century Skills Across Diverse Cultural Contexts?” The event will feature presentations and discussions examining two assessment initiatives’ approaches and their localization journeys across geographies, as well as the related implications for the development of assessment tools. More information and registration are here.

Publications (Congress and Administration):

  • On October 29, the Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building, which was created as part of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 to review, analyze, and make recommendations to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director on how to promote the use of federal data for evidence building, released its Year One report. This report summarizes the Committee’s first-year activities and resulting findings, articulating a vision for a National Secure Data Service (NSDS) and the future of data sharing, data linkages, and privacy enhancing techniques across federal agencies and with state and local governments. Additionally, the report lays out recommended actions that can be taken today to build toward that vision while also describing the path that the Committee intends to take across the next year to further develop recommendations for implementing the vision. The report can be found here.

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On November 5, The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) and the Century Foundation published a report titled, “Primer and Equity Analysis: Centering Students in Michigan’s Financial Aid Programs.” The report examines Michigan’s complicated and disjointed financial aid system to examine how programs place “unnecessary hurdles between students and the aid they need.” Key findings include identifying that while the overly complex system “most acutely affects underrepresented students…contributing to persistent completion gaps nationally and in Michigan,” there are a few areas in which the programs perform well, including by not limiting awards to particular programs of study, nor requiring participation in volunteer or other service projects. The full report is here.
  • On November 4, Curriculum Associates published a report titled, “i-Ready: Understanding Study Learning, Insights from Fall 2021.” The report leveraged diagnostic data from the i-Ready assessment in an effort to understand how school closures disrupted teaching and learning and what student academic achievement looks like now relative to the historical average. Key findings include identifying that at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, there is persistent unfinished learning compared to pre-pandemic historical averages, particularly in early elementary grades; that historical inequities that pre-date the pandemic distinctly remain in schools serving mostly Black, Latino, and low-income students; and that compared to last fall, there have been modest gains in early elementary reading. The full report is here.
  • On November 4, Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce published a report titled, “Navigating the College-to-Career Pathway: The 10 Rules of Moving from Youth Dependency to Adult Economic Independence.” The report, published in partnership with the Postsecondary Value Commission, highlights key considerations for students as they prepare to pursue an undergraduate degree. The report encourages students to go to school when faced with poor job prospects due to a recession, and to realize that field of study alone does not determine workforce outcomes. Additionally, the report includes recommendations for administrators and policymakers, including to “mandate transparency and economic accountability for all postsecondary programs and institutions,” and “enhance counseling and other student services.” The full report is here.
  • On November 3, the RAND Corporation published a report titled, “Identifying Supports for Struggling Students: Findings from the 2021 Learn Together Surveys (LTS).” The report draws upon nationally representative survey response data from the 2021 LTS to examine how secondary teachers leverage different types of information to guide them to the supports and interventions that they use in the classroom. Key findings include identifying that teachers rely most often on information that they gather from personal interactions with students and from students’ performance on teacher-created classroom tasks to support students’ academic needs; that more than 50 percent of teachers first look to school and district colleagues for information about interventions and supports for students; and that teachers are least likely to report knowing where to find information to support students experiencing poverty, English language learners, and anti-racist instruction. The full report is here.

Legislation:

H.R.5817
A bill to establish due process requirements for the investigation of intercollegiate athletics, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN)

H.R.5864
A bill to prohibit the withholding of Federal education funds on the basis of vaccination requirements, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX)

S.3171
A bill to ensure that Federal work-study funding is available for students enrolled in residency programs for teachers, principals, or school leaders, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator John Kennedy (R-LA)

S.3203
A bill to establish the Commission on the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Sponsor: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Share this post