E-Update for the Week of September 28, 2020
- On September 25, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos sent a letter to state education chiefs informing them that the Department will not enforce the interim final rule on equitable services related to funding received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
- On September 23, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos urging the Department to reinstate Obama-era guidance on school discipline procedures.
- On September 22, the House adopted a continuing resolution (CR), which will extend federal funding until December 11 beyond the September 30 deadline. The CR was adopted on a largely bipartisan 359-57 vote.
Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of September 25. 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.
HELP Committee holds last hearing of the year, focuses on federal response to pandemic: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full Committee hearing titled, “COVID-19: An Update on the Federal Response.” This is the third hearing that the Committee has held on this topic and the third in which the Committee heard testimony from Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary For Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The hearing was largely focused on the federal government’s continued efforts to respond to the pandemic, including developing a vaccine; issuing guidance to businesses, schools, and communities; and supporting wide-scale testing. There was little discussion of any specific issue related to schools, school reopening, and the impacts of the pandemic on public education. However, during his opening questions, Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) asked how colleges and universities should respond to outbreaks on their campuses, to which Dr. Fauci recommended that institutions should not send students home, which could spur outbreaks in additional communities. A recording of the hearing is here. The full opening statement by Chairman Alexander is here. The full opening statement of Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) is here. The written testimony of all witnesses is here.
September 24, 2020
Wyden, Casey, Brown introduce child care infrastructure, relief bill: Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced S.4688, the “Rebuilding a Better Child Care Infrastructure Act.” The bill would expand mandatory child care funding by appropriating an additional $3 billion to the Child Care Entitlement to States (CCES) program; would provide an additional one-time $10 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2021 to the same program to create pandemic child care assistance grants; and would provide an additional $15 billion in FY2022 for the CCES program to improve child care supply, quality, and affordability in areas with few child care options. A press release is here.
September 24, 2020
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
DeVos will not enforce equitable services interim final rule after multiple court setbacks: U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos sent a letter to state education chiefs informing them that the Department will not enforce the interim final rule on equitable services related to funding received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Previously, the interim final rule provided local educational agencies (LEAs) two options: (1) to use CARES Act funding to support all students in public schools and then calculate funding for equitable services for all students enrolled in private schools; or, (2) to use CARES Act funding to only support students in Title I schools and then calculate funding for equitable services for only Title I eligible students enrolled in private schools. Multiple federal courts, however, ruled that the Department’s rule was invalid. According to the letter, the Department “strongly, but respectfully, disagrees” with the ruling and will enforce the CARES Act according to court decision. Further, the Department’s letter noted that the Department would not take any action against states or school districts that followed the rule and would still “aggressively” use its enforcement authority to ensure that public school districts comply with the existing formula for equitable services, as established by ESSA. A POLITICO Pro article is here.
September 25, 2020
USED explores successful school reopening plans: USED held a panel on successful strategies to reopen schools this fall. The panel included USED Secretary Betsy DeVos and Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan. The panel also included various K-12 education system leaders, including charter and private school systems. “Many of you have been working hard to find new ways to keep learning going for your students this fall. Now it’s time to put those plans into motion, to be prepared to pivot as health realities on the ground change, and importantly, to do what’s right for students,” stated the Secretary. A readout of the conversation, including highlights from the system leaders, is here.
September 24, 2020
Budget and Appropriations:
House moves stopgap funding bill one step closer, Senate likely to consider bill this week: The House adopted a continuing resolution (CR), which will extend federal funding until December 11 beyond the September 30 deadline. The CR was adopted on a largely bipartisan 359-57 vote. While the CR was mostly a “clean” extension (meaning there were no major policy riders), the bill did include an extension of the authority for the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). Additionally, the CR allows the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to extend for not more than two years the designation of a Head Start agency set to expire before December 31 under the Head Start Designation Renewal System, if the Secretary lacks information necessary to make a determination at this time. Related to the federal response to the pandemic, the CR included approximately $8 billion to support food and nutrition assistance programs, such as the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program, an extension of school nutrition program waivers, and an extension of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) waivers. The Senate is expected to take up the bill the week of September 28 prior to the end of the fiscal year on September 30. The CR is here. A summary provided by the House Appropriations Committee is here.
A press release from the House Appropriations Committee is here. A statement by House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) is here. A statement by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here.
September 22, 2020
House Education Committee completes mark-up of National Apprenticeship Act reauthorization: The House Education and Labor Committee completed a mark-up of H.R.8284, the “National Apprenticeship Act of 2020.” The bill would amend the National Apprenticeship Act since it was first enacted in 1937 and would expand access to Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeship programs. The bill was approved by a vote of 26-16 with committee Republicans arguing that the traditional registered apprenticeship program should not be the only way that the federal government supports apprenticeships. The bill is likely to be considered by the full House, but timing of when that may happen is unclear. A press release from Committee Democrats is here. A press release from Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) is here. A press release from Committee Republicans is here. A press release from Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is here.
September 24, 2020
Scott calls on DeVos to restore Obama-era school discipline guidance: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) sent a letter to USED Secretary DeVos urging the Department to reinstate Obama-era guidance on school discipline procedures. The guidance, which provided direction to schools and districts on how to avoid exclusionary practices that had disproportionate impacts on students of color, was rescinded by Secretary DeVos in 2018. “Racist policies and practices are ingrained in our institutions both in name and in effect, including in preschools, elementary schools, high schools, and colleges, and the Department must lead our educational system’s reckoning with this fact,” wrote Chairman Scott. A press release is here. The full letter is here.
September 23, 2020
President signs executive order barring federal agencies, contractors from participating in anti-racism trainings: President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) titled, “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.” The EO states that it is intended to “promote economy and efficiency in Federal contracting, to promote unity in the Federal workforce, and to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.” 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. Critics of the EO, argue that such “divisive concepts” are often discussed in trainings or programs that educate on anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices. The EO is here. A summary of the EO, by WilmerHale, is here.
September 22, 2020
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS):
DHS proposes that foreign students can only student visas for two- or four-years: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register. The notice describes the Department’s intention to impose two- and four-year limits on visas for international students. Currently, students are permitted to stay in the United States for as long as it takes to complete their academic programs. According to the notice, the Department is “concerned about the integrity of the programs and a potential for increased risk to national security.” Comments will be accepted on the notice until October 26. The full notice is here.
September 25, 2020
Upcoming Events (Congressional and Administration):
- On September 29 at 2:00 pm, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans will hold an event titled, “Connecting the Dots Between Academics, Broadband, and Culture for Communities of Color.” The webinar will discuss the resources, best and promising practices, and relevant information provided by USED about supporting student success through the lenses of academics, cultural competency, diversity, and broadband access. More information and registration are here.
- On September 29 at 3:00 pm, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) will hold a meeting. The meeting will focus on the final draft of the Strategic Vision for the NAGB and will take action on its adoption. More information is here.
- On September 30 at 2:30 pm, the National Science Foundation will hold an event titled, “NSF Funding Opportunities: Broadening Participation in STEM.” The webinar will discuss current funding opportunities that are focused on diversifying the STEM workforce, supporting broadening participation in STEM research, and promoting equitable STEM practices and opportunities. More information and registration are here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On September 30 at 2:00 pm, First Focus on Children will hold an event titled, “The Children’s Budget Summit.” The webinar will focus on the publication of First Focus’s annual Children’s Budget book. The event will also feature remarks by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM). More information and registration are here.
- On September 30 at 3:30 pm, the Schott Foundation will hold an event titled, “The Radical Imagination of Black Educators: Past & Future Directions for the Education Justice Movement.” The webinar will focus on the question of what can be learned from the liberation struggles of the past and how they can inform and inspire current efforts. Panelists will include Karen Marshall of Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools; Dr. Richard Benson of Spelman College; Dr. Khalilah Harris of the Center for American Progress (CAP); and Jesse Hagopian, an educator. More information and registration are here.
Publications (Congressional and Administration):
- On September 22, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published a report titled, “Race and Ethnicity of Public School Teachers and Their Students.” The report summarizes data gathered from the 2017-18 National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS). Key findings of the report include identifying that 79 percent of public school teachers were White and non-Hispanic, that only 9 percent were Hispanic and only 7 percent were Black; that teachers of any race/ethnicity were more often found in schools where their race/ethnicity matched a majority of the student body; and that in schools were the majority of the students were not White, the majority of teachers tended to be White. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On September 24, the Fordham Institute published a report titled, “Social Studies Instruction and Reading Comprehension: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study.” The report examined evidence of how classroom time has been spent on different subjects and the impacts of those practices. Key findings of the report include identifying that elementary school students spend more time on English Language Arts (ELA) instruction than any other subject; that increased instructional time in social studies has a greater correlation with improved reading ability compared to ELA instructional time; and that girls, low-income students, and non-English speaking students benefit the most from additional social studies instructional time. The full report is here.
A bill titled, “Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021, and Other Extensions Act.”
Sponsor: Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)
A bill to require the Secretary of Labor to establish apprenticeships or expanding opportunities through apprenticeships for outlying areas, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Gregorio Sablan (D-MP)
A bill to promote diversity in the national apprenticeship system.
Sponsor: Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC)
A bill to amend the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to extend National School Lunch Program requirement waivers addressing COVID-19, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
A bill to support the establishment of an apprenticeship college consortium.
Sponsor: Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA)
A bill to provide premium pay to educators at public schools for each hour of in-person work.
Sponsor: Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK)
A bill to expand opportunities for pre-apprenticeships programs.
Sponsor: Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
A bill to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a task force on deterring and combating intellectual property theft by foreign nations at institutions of higher education and to require such institutions to have in place procedures and protocols to deter and combat such theft, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA)
A bill to ensure access to apprenticeships for underrepresented groups, eliminate barriers and ensure completion of apprenticeships, and invest in successful apprenticeship intermediaries.
Sponsor: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
A bill to prohibit a covered athletic association and institution of higher education from prohibiting a student athlete from participating in intercollegiate athletics because such student athlete enters into an endorsement contract, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH)
A bill to support pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships within the National Apprenticeship Act, specifically with regard to the justice-impacted population.
Sponsor: Rep. David Trone (D-MD)
A bill to amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to require training and education to teachers and other school employees, students, and the community about how to prevent, recognize, respond to, and report child sexual abuse in primary and secondary education.
Sponsor: Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA)
A bill to provide that for purposes of determining compliance with title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in athletics, sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.
Sponsor: Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA)
A bill to amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to create a new national program to support mid-career workers, including workers from underrepresented populations, in reentering the STEM workforce, by providing funding to small- and medium-sized STEM businesses so the businesses can offer paid internships or other returnships that lead to positions above entry level.
Sponsor: Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV)
Title: “Rebuilding a Better Child Care Infrastructure Act”
A bill to amend title IV of the Social Security Act to provide funding to sustain and increase the supply, quality, and affordability of child care, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)