E-Update for the Week of November 9, 2020
- On November 4, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made comments to the press suggesting that Congress should approve a next pandemic relief package during the lame duck session. “We need another rescue package. Hopefully the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election… and I think we need to do it before the end of the year,” he stated.
- On November 3, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit, on behalf of a collection of LGBTQ+ organizations, in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California against President Trump’s Executive Order (EO), which prohibits federal contractors from participating in or federal grants and contracts funding diversity trainings that are deemed “anti-American.”
- On November 2, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) titled, “Establishing the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission.” The EO directs that, within 120 days, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) will establish a commission to “better enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States.”
Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of November 6. Given the fast-moving nature of congressional and administrative actions to address the growing pandemic, we will do our best to update this information as quickly as possible.
McConnell signals he wants to adopt pandemic relief package before year end: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made comments to the press suggesting that Congress should approve a next pandemic relief package during the lame duck session. “We need another rescue package. Hopefully the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election… and I think we need to do it before the end of the year,” stated the Majority Leader. Additionally, Majority Leader McConnell also indicated that Congress must attend to the impending December 11 deadline to address fiscal year (FY) 2021 spending bills and left open the possibility that such action could include an omnibus package (a combination of multiple bills) instead of a temporary continuing resolution (CR), which was previously used. The Senate will return to session on Monday, November 9. An article by POLITICO is here. (Note: A subscription to POLITICO Pro is required.)
November 4, 2020
House Republicans introduce bill to ‘Defeat the Virus’: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) introduced H.R.14, the “Commitment to Defeat the Virus and Keep America Health Act.” The bill would provide additional funding to develop and distribute a safe and effective vaccine; expand affordable access to testing, telehealth services, and health savings accounts; address the need for mental health and substance abuse treatments; and restore the strategic national stockpile. Additionally, the bill would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study the role of children in transmitting the coronavirus and to disseminate best practices that will help mitigate the spread of the virus in educational settings. A press release is here. A section-by-section summary of the bill is here.
October 30, 2020
Trump issues order creating a ‘1776 Commission’ to explore a ‘patriotic education’: President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) titled, “Establishing the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission.” The EO directs that, within 120 days, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) will establish a commission to “better enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States.” Additionally, the Order states that it is the “role of the Federal Government [to] protect and preserve State and local control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, and personnel of “school systems and for this reason, the Trump Administration “rejects the Common Core curriculum and all efforts to have the Federal Government impose a national curriculum or national standards in education.” It should be noted that Common Core was not a curriculum and was not an initiative led by the Federal government.
The Order charges the Commission with producing a report within 1 year detailing the core principles of the American founding and how those principles can be better understood; with advising agencies with their regard to ensuring a “patriotic education” is provided to the public at national parks and landmarks; and with advising agencies on prioritizing the American founding in Federal grants and initiatives. Further, the Order also directs USED to provide funding and administrative support for the Commission and to prioritize Federal resources to promote a patriotic education through the American History and Civics Academies and American History and Civics Education-National Activities. The full Order is here.
November 2, 2020
U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Courts:
Lambda Legal, LGBTQ+ groups file lawsuit against Trump anti-antiracism order: Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit, on behalf of a collection of LGBTQ+ organizations, in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California against President Trump’s Executive Order (EO), which prohibits federal contractors from participating in or federal grants and contracts funding diversity trainings that are deemed “anti-American.” The EO orders that the Federal workforce, including Federal contractors, may not participate in diversity training programs that discuss “divisive concepts” such that describe one race or sex being inherently superior to another; that the United States is a fundamentally racist or sexist country; or that any individual, by virtue of their identities, may have certain privileges or be racist, sexist, or oppressive – consciously or unconsciously. According to the complaint filed, the EO limits the organizations from using “scientific and medical-based information regarding systemic race or sex disparities in the provision of medical treatment” when training their staff. A POLITICO article is here. (Note: A subscription to POLITICO Pro is required.)
November 3, 2020
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administrative):
- On November 19-20 at 12:30 pm, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will hold a quarterly meeting. The virtual meeting will include open sessions, but will also include a closed session to discuss operations of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and its associated budget. More information is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On November 12 at 12:00 pm, EducationCounsel will hold an event titled, “What the Elections Results Mean for Education Policy.” The webinar will focus on how the 2020 elections will impact federal education policy, including the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar will feature panelists including Nathan Arnold, Senior Policy Advisor at EducationCounsel; Jenn Castagna, Senior Policy Advisor at EducationCounsel; Denise Forte, Senior Vice President for Partnerships and Engagement at The Education Trust; Mildred Otero, Senior Vice President at Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE); Scott Palmer, Managing Partner at EducationCounsel; and Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, Early Childhood and Policy Consultant. Panelists will discuss what might happen next in early childhood, K-12, and higher education. More information and registration are here.
- On November 9 at 1:00 pm, the Brookings Institution will hold an event titled, “What has COVID-19 Taught Us About the Digital Divide and Opportunity Divides in America’s Schools?” The webinar will focus on how the pandemic has worsened the already persistent digital divide and the inequitable access to device and high-speed internet connections. More information and registration are here.
- On November 12 at 4:00 pm, The AASA (The School Superintendents Association), NAESP (the National Association of Elementary School Principals), CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers), EDC (Education Development Center), New America, and NAECS-SDE (the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education) will hold the first webinar of a 4-part webinar series titled, “School-Community Partnerships for the Whole Child: Learning from Comprehensive Models.” The series will focus on how communities and states can advance equity and build comprehensive approaches that promote whole child learning and development from birth through elementary school. The first webinar will discuss aligning curriculum and instruction pre-K through elementary school, ensuring successful transitions to kindergarten, and promoting professional learning across communities. More information and registration is here.
- On November 13 at 1:00 pm, the Urban Institute will hold an event titled, “Policy Matters: Reflections on the Past and Future of Apprenticeship.” The webinar will focus on federal and state apprenticeship policies, how they’ve improved over the years, and what new investments can be gained by the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020. More information and registration are here.
- On November 16 from 3:30-5 pm EST, the College Board Access and Diversity Collaborative will hold a webinar on “Major Federal Developments Affecting Higher Education Diversity and Admission: Harvard, UNC, and UT Updates and Implications.” This webinar will provide the latest news and insights from the current wave of federal litigation and administrative agency enforcement activity related to the consideration of race, ethnicity, and sex in admissions and other enrollment decisions—with a particular focus on pending federal court litigation involving Harvard, UNC, and UT. In addition to providing a comprehensive overview of the relevant policy and legal landscape, the presenters identify policy and practice strategies that institutions of higher education should be taking as they advance mission-based diversity goals in legally sustainable ways. More information and registration here.