E-Update for October 7, 2016

E-Update for October 7, 2016


  • Congress is in recess until after the election.
  • On October 4, the Vice Presidential debate was held between Governor Mike Pence (R-IN) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) at Longwood University. Senator Kaine highlighted Secretary Hillary Clinton’s plan for the economy, including investment in the workforce from pre-K education to great teachers to debt-free college and tuition-free college for families that make less than $125,000. Governor Pence touted his record as Governor of Indiana of investing in education.
  • On October 4 and 5, respectively, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) sent final regulations on significant disproportionality and the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA) Title I accountability and state plans provisions to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

U.S. Congress

Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Murray Sends Letter to USED About Restoring Pell Grant Eligibility: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to USED Secretary John King urging the Department to restore Pell Grant eligibility to students who attended schools that have recently been closed, such as ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges. In the letter, Ranking Member Murray noted that many of the students who used Pell Grants to attend ITT Tech and Corinthian Colleges may have exhausted their Pell Grant eligibility and should have their eligibility restored to allow them to finish their education at a new school. In the letter, Ranking Member Murray states, “We must do everything we can to fulfill our promise to Pell Grant recipients so that they remain eligible for grant assistance when events beyond their control lead to a school’s closure.”
October 6, 2016

Republican Members of the Senate HELP Committee Introduce S. 3464, the “Overtime Reform and Review Act”: On September 29, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) joined other Republican members of the committee in introducing S. 3464, the “Overtime Reform and Review Act,” which would change the implementation timeline for the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime rule. Regarding the bill, Chairman Alexander noted, “The Overtime Reform and Review Act makes urgently needed modifications to the administration’s rule, which will otherwise on December 1 force changes in overtime pay that are too high, too fast and will result in employers, non-profits, colleges and others cutting workers’ hours, limiting their workplace benefits and flexibility, as well as costing students more in tuition.”
September 29, 2016


USED Sends Final Regulations to OMB for Review: USED sent final regulations to OMB for review, which means that final regulations may be publicly released in the coming months following the review. The following final regulations were sent to OMB:

  • On October 5, USED sent final regulations on ESSA’s Title I accountability and state plans provisions to OMB for review. Comments on the draft regulations were due on August 1, 2016. The draft regulations can be found here (not final as sent to OMB).
  • On October 4, USED sent final regulations on significant disproportionality to OMB for review. The regulations are aimed at tightening requirements on how states identify racial and ethnic disparities in which students are placed in special education and how they are disciplined. Comments on the draft regulations were due on May 16, 2016. The draft regulations can be found here (not final as sent to OMB).

USED Approves Extension of New Hampshire’s Competency-Based Assessment Pilot: USED announced a one-year extension of New Hampshire’s competency-based assessment pilot, which will now include nine districts across the state. The pilot, which is part of the President’s Testing Action Plan, works to provide students, families, and educators with timely and useful feedback on student progress toward college and career readiness.
October 6, 2016

USED Promotes the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for Completing FAFSA: USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) published a release urging postsecondary institutions to promote the use of the Internal Revenue Service’s data retrieval tool (IRS DRT) for filling out the 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The press release explains, “The most effective way to prevent conflicting information from occurring between the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 FAFSAs is by using the IRS DRT for both FAFSA years.”
October 4, 2016

USED Announces the Awarding of New Grants:

  • On October 6, USED announced the awarding of over $71 million in grants to help strengthen international studies, world language training, and global experiences for educators and students. The grant funds will be used to prepare leaders who are highly competent in world languages and international studies to fulfill critical roles in global business, global engagement, and national security. The press release can be found here.
  • On October 3, USED announced the awarding of $39 million in grants to prepare students with disabilities for college and employment. The grants will go to California, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Vermont to support innovative activities aimed at improving outcomes for people with disabilities. The press release can be found here.
  • On October 3, USED announced the awarding of grants to support students with disabilities. USED awarded $2 million to the University of Minnesota to support states and local school districts to increase academic assessment participation and improve assessment results for students with disabilities. USED also awarded $4.4 million to a number of grantees to improve literary skills, outcomes, and results for children with disabilities. The press releases can be found here and here.

USED Holds Education Stakeholder Forum: USED held an Education Stakeholder Forum to provide an update on ESSA regulations and guidance and to discuss stakeholder engagement. A panel representing the National Governors Association, the National Parent Teacher Association, the National Association of State Boards of Education, and the National Down Syndrome Congress discussed best practices for stakeholder engagement at the state level as well as challenges to ensuring that all stakeholder groups are represented.
September 27, 2016


On October 27, the National Assessment Governing Board and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will release the results of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in science at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Registration information can be found here.


NCES Releases New Data on Elementary and Secondary Education:

  • On October 5, USED’s NCES released data on revenues and expenditures for public elementary and secondary education for the 2013-2014 school year. The data show an increase in state totals of revenues and expenditures in fiscal year (FY) 2014. The report can be found here.
  • On October 4, NCES released its First Look report introducing new data concerning public elementary and secondary education in the U.S. for the 2014-2015 school year. The report can be found here.

GLSEN Releases Report on Bias and Peer Victimization in School: GLSEN released a report entitled, “From Teasing to Torment: School Climate Revisited,” which analyzes findings from a survey of secondary school students and teachers about the current state of bias and peer victimization in school. The report finds that almost three-quarters of middle and high school students experienced peer victimization in the past school year, among other findings.
September 2016

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