E-Update for October 2, 2015
- U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that he is stepping down from his position in December after 7 years. John King, Jr., who is currently filling the duties of deputy secretary of education, will serve as acting secretary through the end of the administration.
- This week both the House and the Senate passed a “clean” Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded through December 11, 2015.
- The House also approved the “Higher Education Extension Act of 2015” which sought to extend the Perkins Loan Program for an additional year; however, the bill stalled in the Senate before program authorization eventually expired on September 30.
- The House and Senate are continuing hearings focused on higher education across a number of committees.
Fisher v. University of Texas: No Funeral for Affirmative Action Art Coleman, EdCounsel Managing Partner and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, wrote this week’s LatestCounsel blog. He addresses concerns that the pending Supreme Court Fisher appeal signifies the end of affirmative action and presents three reasons why it does not. You can read it and other recent posts here.
On September 28, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3494, the “Higher Education Extension Act of 2015.” The bill was introduced by Representatives Mike Bishop (R-MI) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) and sought to extend the Perkins Loan Program for one more year. Press release. However, the bill stalled in the Senate before the program authorization expired on September 30 with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN) announcing that he would, “oppose a one-year extension because we’re in the midst of completing our work on the Higher Education Act including the Perkins loan and we should be through with that by the end of the year.” Earlier in the week, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) urged her colleagues to pass a one year extension of the Perkins Loans Program before it expired.
On September 30, the House and Senate passed, and the President signed a “clean” Continuing Resolution (CR) that will keep the government funded through December 11. The House passed the bill by a vote of 277-151. Of note, 151 Republican members opposed the CR in the House. However, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) voted in favor of the CR. The Senate passed the CR earlier that day by a vote of 78-20 with all of the no votes being cast by Republicans.
On September 30, the Joint Economic Committee held a hearing entitled, “Financing Higher Education: Exploring Current Challenges and Potential Alternatives.” The Honorable Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., President of Purdue University, Dr. Andrew P. Kelly, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Mr. Rohit Chopra, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, testified. The witnesses addressed potential ways to make colleges more affordable and accessible to Americans. Information about the hearing is available here.
On October 7, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Strengthening Head Start for Current and Future Generations.” The hearing is scheduled at 10:00 am in room CVC 210 in the Capitol Visitor’s Center. Witnesses have yet to be announced. Information will become available here.
U.S Department of Education
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Stepping Down: Duncan, one of the longest-serving Cabinet members, will step down in December. John King, Jr., who is currently filling the duties of deputy secretary of education, will serve as acting secretary through the end of the administration. . Obama does not intend to nominate King or another candidate for education secretary before his presidency ends. October 2, 2015
U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services Award $237M in Early Education Grants to 18 States: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on October 2 that 18 states will receive second year awards under the Preschool Development Grant program to continue their work in expanding access to high-quality preschool for all children. This grant program will support building and expanding high-quality preschool in 250 high-need communities across 18 states that span the geographic and political spectrum. This fall, more than 33,000 children from low- to moderate-income families had the chance to start school in a high-quality preschool because of the grants. These second year awards being announced today will enable another 41,000 children in the 18 grantee states to be served.
October 2, 2015
Secretary Duncan Calls for State and Local Governments to Invest in Schools Instead of Jails: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave a speech at the National Press Club where he called for state and local governments to invest in schools instead of jails. “If our states and localities took just half the people convicted of nonviolent crimes and found paths for them other than incarceration, they would save upwards of $15 billion a year. If they reinvested that money into paying the teachers who are working in our highest-need schools and communities—they could provide a 50 percent average salary increase to every single one of them. Specifically, if you focused on the 20 percent of schools with the highest poverty rates in each state, that would give you 17,640 schools—and the money would go far enough to increase salaries by at least 50 percent,” said Duncan.
September 30, 2015
USED Announces Federal Student Loan Cohort Default Rate Declining: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced that the official three-year federal student loan cohort default rate has declined to 11.8 percent for students who entered repayment in FY 2012, across all sectors of higher education – public, private, and for-profit institutions. “The Obama Administration has taken historic steps to give borrowers more options to manage their student debt and stay on track to repayment and to hold institutions accountable for improving student outcomes,” said Secretary Duncan.
September 30, 2015
IES Announces Two Special FY 2015 Research Competitions: The Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Education Interventions (Low-Cost Evaluation) grant program is designed to support rigorous evaluations of education interventions (broadly defined as practices, programs, and policies) that state or local education agencies expect to produce meaningful improvements in student education outcomes within a short period (for example, within a single semester or academic year). These evaluations are to be conducted for $250,000 or less and completed within two years. IES is also hosting a similar competition for low-cost, short duration evaluations of special education interventions.
September 30, 2015
USED, Treasury, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Release Student Loan Servicing Principles: USED, the U.S. Department of Treasury, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a Joint Statement of Principles on Student Loan Servicing that aim to help Americans manage their student loan debt. The document issued is intended to serve as a guiding statement to improve student loan servicing practices, promote borrower success, and minimize the defaults.
September 29, 2015
USED Announces Grants to Expand Opportunities for Hispanic and Low-Income Students: USED announced more than $51 million in awards to Hispanic-Serving Institutions to strengthen and expand educational opportunities for Hispanic and low-income students. “More Hispanics than ever before are enrolling in college, and this grant program will help even more students have access to post-secondary degrees and credentials, which are key to building a highly skilled workforce,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
September 29, 2015
Secretary Duncan Recognizes National Blue Ribbon Schools: Secretary Duncan recognized 335 schools from across the United States as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2015 based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
September 29, 2015
USED Announces Over $157 Million in Grants through Charter Schools Program: USED announced over $157 million in new grants through its Charter Schools Program (CSP), which funds the creation and expansion of public charter schools. The Department is committed to working with its partners at the state and local level to hold charter schools and their operators to high expectations for academic and operational excellence. While the charter schools sector has improved quality and oversight in recent years, the Department continues to be concerned about charter schools’ impact on student learning and about proper financial management of scarce public dollars.
September 28, 2015
On October 7, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Strengthening Head Start for Current and Future Generations.” The hearing is scheduled at 10:00am in room CVC 210 in the Capitol Visitor’s Center. Witnesses have yet to be announced. Information will become available here.
On October 7, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing on higher education costs and tax policy. The hearing is scheduled at 10:00am in room 1100 of the Longworth Building. Witnesses have yet to be announced. Information will become available here.
On October 8, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Reviewing the Juvenile Justice System and How It Serves At-Risk Youth.” The hearing is scheduled at 10:00am in CVC 210 in the Capitol Visitor’s Center. Witnesses have yet to be announced. Information will become available here.
H.R.3594 : Higher Education Extension Act of 2015 Sponsor: Rep Bishop, Mike [MI-8] (introduced 9/24/2015) Cosponsors (17) Committees: House Education and the Workforce
H.R.3604 : Universal Prekindergarten and Early Childhood Education Act of 2015 Sponsor: Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] (introduced 9/24/2015) Cosponsors (None) Committees: House Education and the Workforce
H.R.3623 : Fairness and Opportunities for Married Households With Student Loans Act Sponsor: Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] (introduced 9/28/2015) Cosponsors (3) Committees: House Ways and Means
H.R.3634 : Student Loan Debt Protection Act of 2015 Sponsor: Rep Wilson, Frederica S. [FL-24] (introduced 9/28/2015) Cosponsors (None) Committees: House Education and the Workforce; House Ways and Means; House Judiciary; House Oversight and Government Reform
S.2096 : A bill to ensure that claims for benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act are processed in a fair and timely manner, to better protect miners from pneumoconiosis (commonly known as “black lung disease”), and for other purposes. Sponsor: Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] (introduced 9/29/2015) Cosponsors (4) Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
S.2098 : A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to improve the determination of cohort default rates and provide for enhanced civil penalties, to ensure personal liability of owners, officers, and executives of institutions of higher education, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Sen Murphy, Christopher S. [CT] (introduced 9/29/2015) Cosponsors (4) Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
S.RES.267 : A resolution expressing support for the continuation of the Federal Perkins Loan program. Sponsor: Sen Baldwin, Tammy [WI] (introduced 9/24/2015) Cosponsors (27) Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Strengthening the Student Loan System to Better Protect all Borrowers: As part of a continued effort to protect student loan borrowers and in response to President Obama’s Student Aid Bill of Rights, USED released a new report outlining a series of statutory, regulatory, and administrative recommendations to safeguard student borrowers. The report, developed in consultation with the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), builds on years of work by the Administration to help Americans manage their student loan debt and protect the most vulnerable borrowers.
October 1, 2015
State, District, and School Implementation of Reforms Promoted Under the Recovery Act: 2009–10 through 2011–12: This report from the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) at USED, based on surveys completed by all 50 SEAs and the District of Columbia (DC) and nationally representative samples of districts and schools during spring 2011 and 2012, examines implementation of the key education reform strategies promoted by the Recovery Act in 2011–12, the extent to which implementation reflected progress since Recovery Act funds were first distributed, and challenges with implementation. Findings showed variation in the prevalence and progress of reform activities across the areas of reform assessed and by state, district, or school level. Implementation progress was most consistent across the areas of reform at the state level. At all levels, implementation challenges related to educator evaluation and compensation were common.
September 30, 2015
Usage of Policies and Practices Promoted by Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 injected $7 billion into two of the Obama administration’s signature competitive education grant programs: Race to the Top (RTT) and School Improvement Grants (SIG). While RTT focused on state policies and SIG focused on school practices, both programs promoted related policies and practices, including an emphasis on turning around the nation’s lowest-performing schools. This IES report focuses on two implementation questions: (1) Do states and schools that received grants actually use the policies and practices promoted by these two programs? (2) Does their usage of these policies and practices differ from states and schools that did not receive grants? Answers to these questions provide context for interpreting impact findings that will be presented in a future report.
September 29, 2015