E-Update for the Week of October 14, 2019
- On October 10, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) announced she will retire from Congress at the conclusion of her current term.
- On October 10, USED Secretary DeVos announced a new initiative to promote the creation and expansion of high-quality public charter schools in Opportunity Zones.
- On October 8, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos. The letter described the Senators’ frustrations and concerns with the Secretary’s management of the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) program.
The House and Senate will be on recess in observance of the Jewish holidays form September 30 through October 14. Both the House and Senate will return to session on October 15.
Schumer, Murray concerned with DeVos management of temporary PSLF program: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos. The letter described the Senators’ frustrations and concerns with the Secretary’s management of the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) program. “The Trump Administration’s flawed implementation of loan forgiveness programs, resistance to recommendations to improve its processes, failure to properly hold student loan servicers and debt collectors accountable, and recent interference with state and federal law enforcement agencies, has combined to create a disaster for public servants applying for loan forgiveness,” wrote the Senators. The letter requests that the Secretary describe how the Department is going to comply with a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the TEPSLF program; what remedial measures the Department will take if deadlines to improve the program are not met; and what corrective actions the Department plans to take to address all concerns raised about the TEPSLF program. The full letter is here.
October 8, 2019
Scott holds roundtable at HBCU, focuses on college affordability: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) held a student roundtable discussion at Hampton University. The event was focused on the cost of college, student loan debt, and degree or credential completion. “This roundtable comes as Congress is working to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Higher education is still out of reach for too many Americans,” stated a release by the Chairman. The full release is here.
October 11, 2019
Lowey to retire in 2020: House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) announced she will retire from Congress at the conclusion of her current term. “As a long-time Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have secured funding to clean up and protect Long Island Sound and the Hudson River; increase access to Head Start, afterschool programs, and community health centers for thousands of local children and families; provide New York’s fair share of homeland security assistance; and make the commute across the Hudson easier and safer on the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge,” stated the Chairwoman in a statement. The Chairwoman’s full statement is here. A statement by House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) is here.
October 10, 2019
Trump issues order on federal agency spending offsets: President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) aimed at requiring agencies “to propose offsets for any actions that result in mandatory spending increases and those proposals must be submitted to the [Office of Management and Budget] OMB for review,” according to POLITICO. The EO is available here. POLITICO article is available here (Note: A POLITICO Pro subscription is required).
Trump issues orders to increase outreach, transparency in federal agency guidance: President Trump signed two Executive Orders (EOs) concerning guidance documents issued by federal agencies. According to POLITICO, “Trump’s two orders do not call for federal agencies to directly curb the use of guidance, which can be issued through memos, letters or other communications. Instead, the orders directed agencies to make all guidance publicly available and to conduct educational outreach to industry when policy changes are made. In addition, “significant” guidance documents will go through a public comment process.” The EOs are available here and here. POLITICO article is available here (Note: A POLITICO Pro subscription is required). Acting OMB Director Russ Vought’s Op Ed on the EOs is available here.
October 9, 2019
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
DeVos issues updated guidance on equitable services: USED Secretary DeVos released updated non-regulatory guidance on how local educational agencies (LEAs) can use Title I funds for equitable services to private schools. Equitable services are those that an LEA can provide to Title I eligible students who attend private schools. The guidance includes information on allowable uses, consultation between public and private school officials, and how to calculate the share of Title I funds available for equitable services. Further, the update specifically clarifies on the permissibility of “inter-district pooling of Title I funds” to provide the services and the permissibility of religious organizations who serve as third-party contractors to provide services. A press release from the Department is here. The guidance is here.
October 10, 2019
DeVos looks to expand charter schools in Opportunity Zones: USED Secretary DeVos announced a new initiative to promote the creation and expansion of high-quality public charter schools in Opportunity Zones. According to the release, the Department has contracted with Leed Management Consulting to conduct outreach to current and prospective high-quality charter operators; develop resources to assist with the opening of high-quality charter schools; and provide technical assistance to entities looking to create and expand high-quality charter schools in Opportunity Zones. “The focus on opening charter schools in designated Opportunity Zones will have a long-lasting impact, and I’m looking forward to seeing how charter school leaders, nonprofit organizations, and others utilize the Qualified Opportunity Fund to invest in students and improve outcomes,” stated the Secretary. The full release is here.
October 10, 2019
USED assures HBCUs, MSIs funding will last through FY2020: USED Secretary DeVos sent a letter to leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) regarding the status of mandatory funding for HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) under Title III of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The authorization for mandatory funding for HBCUs and MSIs expired on September 30, when the Senate failed to take up the House-passed, H.R. 2486, the “FUTURE Act,” which would have extended funding for two years. Instead of taking up the FUTURE Act, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) advocated for a proposal to extend mandatory funding for HBCUs and MSIs for 10 years linked to a number of other modifications to HEA.
In response to the expiration of mandatory funding on September 30, the Secretary’s letter sought to clarify that funding for fiscal year (FY) 2019 grants has already been made available and the Department has carried over remaining FY2019 funds into FY2020 to support “noncompeting continuation awards” from October 2020 through September 2021. Further, the letter outlines that the Department’s ability to conduct new competitions for FY2021 “depends on the availability of congressionally appropriated funds.” The full letter is here (Note: A subscription to POLITICO Pro is required).
October 9, 2019
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On October 11, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) published a report titled, “Education Data Legislation Review.” The report summarizes an analysis of state legislation addressing the use of data to inform decision-making to support students, including the use of data systems and the embedding of data use within education proposals. Key findings of the report include identifying that 325 bills were introduced in 47 states; that 36 percent were Democratic sponsored, 29 percent were Republican sponsored, and 35 percent were bipartisan; and of the 325 bills introduced, 83 were enacted into law. The full report is here.
- On October 10, the Center for American Progress (CAP) published a report titled, “What Graduation Rates Have Missed for Community College Students.” The report summarizes a study of data released by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Key findings of the report include identifying that 30 percent of community college students transfer to another school; and that 40 percent of students neither complete college nor transfer to another school. The full report is here.
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- The House and Senate will be on recess in observance of the Jewish holidays form September 30 through October 14. Both the House and Senate will return to session on October 15.
- On October 16 at 2:00pm, the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services will hold a hearing titled “Examining the USDA’s proposed cuts to free school meals.” It is expected that an official from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will testify during the hearing. More information will be posted here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On October 16 at 2:00pm, the Education Testing Service (ETS) will hold an event titled, “Test-based Accountability Systems: The Importance of Paying Attention to Consequences.” The event will feature professor Suzanne Lane of the University of Pittsburgh and she will discuss the implications for state assessment accountability systems on educational progress. More information and registration are here.
- On October 17 at 11:00am, New America will hold an event titled, “Redefining What a ‘Good’ College Is.” The event will focus on how college “value” should be defined by the quality of degree or the ability to support a prepared workforce. More information and registration are here.
- On October 17 at 11:30am, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) are holding an event titled, “Principal Pipelines, Not Just a Pipe Dream.” The event will focus on the evidence which demonstrates the effectiveness of principal pipelines and the effect they have on principal development and retention. More information and registration are here.
- On October 23 at 2:00pm, the College Board Access & Diversity Collaborative is holding an event titled, “Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard: Understanding What the Court Said and What It Means for Higher Education.” The webinar will address issues relevant to the federal court’s September 30 decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard. The court’s 130-page decision in favor of Harvard applies federal nondiscrimination law to Harvard’s consideration of race and ethnicity in its admissions program designed to advance its diversity-related interests. This webinar will unpack that decision, with a focus on key findings and lessons for other postsecondary institutions to consider as they develop and refine diversity-related policies and practices. More information and registration are here.
A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to require silent alarms in elementary schools and secondary schools, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to include certain employment as a health care practitioner as eligible for public service loan forgiveness, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to create the Pell Plus program.
Sponsor: Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require an institution of higher education to submit a teach-out plan under certain circumstances, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL)