E-Update for October 21, 2016

E-Update for October 21, 2016


  • Congress is in recess until after the election.
  • On October 19, the final Presidential debate took place between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The debate only included passing references to education issues, with Secretary Clinton discussing the need to invest in education from preschool through college to improve the economy. She also briefly mentioned her debt-free and tuition-free college proposals, and noted the need to support technical education and apprenticeships.
  • On October 17, the Administration announced the release of new high school graduation rate data which showed record-high graduation rates nationally and in various subgroups of students.
  • This week, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released guidance on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) related to early learning and Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants.


Senator Carper Releases Report on Veterans and School Closures: Senate Oversight Committee Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) released a staff report entitled, “Education Denied: The Importance of Assisting Veterans Harmed by School Closures.” The report highlights the negative impact that school closures, like the recent collapse of ITT Technical Institutes (ITT Tech) and Corinthian Colleges (Corinthian), have on veterans using the GI Bill. The full report is available here.
October 21, 2016


Evidence-Based Policy Commission Holds Public Hearing: The Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking conducted a public hearing to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to present their views on issues relevant to the Commission’s mission. The agenda and names of presenters can be found here.
October 21, 2016

USED Publishes Guidance on Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: USED released guidance on the newly authorized Title IV – Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grants program. The SSAE program aims to: 1) provide all students with access to a well-rounded education, 2) improve school conditions for student learning, and 3) improve the use of technology in order to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students. The guidance provides examples of uses of funds, discusses the role of state education agencies (SEAs), details fiscal responsibilities, and identifies local application requirements. The guidance also provides examples of innovative activities that are allowable uses of SSAE funds. The full guidance can be found here.
October 21, 2016

USED Publishes Early Learning Guidance: USED released guidance on early learning in ESSA. The guidance outlines how ESSA can be leveraged to expand opportunities for children in early childhood education. Specifically, the guidance outlines ways in which states, districts, schools, and community-based organizations can support early learning by: expanding access to high-quality early learning opportunities; encouraging alignment and collaboration of early learning programs from birth through third grade; and supporting early learning educators. The full guidance can be found here.
October 20, 2016

Secretary King Discusses the Importance of Civic Engagement: USED Secretary John King delivered remarks at the National Press Club on the importance of civic engagement as a cornerstone of democracy and the role of schools in preparing students to be active citizens. Video of the remarks can be found here.
October 19, 2016

Administration Touts Record-High Grad Rates:  At an event at a Washington, D.C. high school, President Obama announced a new record-high 83.2% high school graduation rate for the 2014-2015 school year, which shows a steady increase of approximately 4% since 2010-2011. The new data, show progress for all subgroups of students, including low-income students, English learners, students with disabilities, and black and Hispanic students.  2014-2015 also marks the first year that all states used a consistent, four-year adjusted measure of high school completion. In a blog post touting the new graduation rates, the White House highlighted the record high graduation rates for black and Hispanic students and included video of President Obama’s remarks on the milestone. The blog post can be found here.

  • Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee Bobby Scott (D-VA) published a statement in response to the release of the new data, applauding the progress shown by graduation rate increases in various subgroups and progress toward closing achievement gaps. Ranking Member Scott’s statement can be found here.

October 17, 2016


Annual Report of the CFPB Student Loan Ombudsman: The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) Student Loan Ombudsman Seth Frotman released his annual report analyzing complaints submitted by consumers over the past year, with recommendations to the Secretaries of Treasury and Education, Director of the CFPB, and Congress. The report examines the debt collection and servicing problems that plague federal student loan repayment programs. The report also projected that over the next two years, one in three rehabilitated student loan borrowers could be driven back into default due to gaps between student loan programs.  The report can be found here.

Early Learning and Educational Technology Policy Brief: USED and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a joint policy brief to promote developmentally appropriate use of technology in homes and early learning settings. The brief provides information on media use in early learning settings, and provides guiding principles for families and early educators on the use of technology with young children to promote opportunities to learn, explore, play, and communicate. The policy brief is available here.

Charter Schools’ Effects on Long-Term Attainment and Earnings: The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) reviewed a recent study that found that students who attended charter high schools were more likely to graduate, enroll and persist in college, and have higher annual earnings. The study, which used a quasi-experimental design, met WWC review standards with reservations for the analyses of several of these outcomes.

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