E-Update for the Week of January 19, 2021

Highlights:

On January 14, President-elect Joe Biden released details of his first proposal to address the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. The estimated $1.9 trillion plan includes $170 billion in investments for early childhood, K-12, and higher education programs.
On January 14, USED made available an additional $21.2 billion to institutions of higher education (IHEs) to serve students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $21.2 billion released, $20.5 billion is for public and non-profit colleges and universities and $681 million is for for-profit institutions.
On January 12, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) issued a Dear Colleague letter laying out his legislative agenda for the 117th Congress. The Democratic Leader noted specific priorities such as supporting schools, and state and local governments within the next pandemic relief package, and “significantly improving” the nation’s child care system.

Presidential and Congressional Transition:
Presidential:
Biden proposes $1.9 trillion ‘recovery’ plan, includes additional $170 billion in education investments: President-elect Joe Biden released details of his first proposal to address the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. The “American Recovery Plan” is the first of […]

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E-Update for the Week of January 11, 2021

Highlights:

On January 8, USED published a policy memorandum written by acting USED General Counsel Reed Rubinstein addressed to acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Kim Richey. The memorandum details the Department’s interpretation and application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County (2020). The Department notes it will largely not apply the Court’s ruling on Title VII discrimination to the Department’s enforcement of Title IX.
On January 7, USED Secretary DeVos submitted her resignation to President Donald Trump. The Secretary noted the recent riot on the U.S. Capitol as her main reason for resigning. Mick Zais, the current Deputy Secretary of Education, will become acting USED Secretary following DeVos’s resignation, according to the Department.
On December 23, President-elect Joe Biden announced that Miguel Cardona, a former public-school classroom teacher and the current Commissioner of Education for the state of Connecticut, will be nominated to serve as the U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary. Cardona, the first Latino to serve as Education Commissioner of Connecticut, is a former fourth-grade public school teacher who became the youngest principal in […]

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E-Update for the Week of December 21, 2020

NOTE: In observance of the holiday season, EducationCounsel will not publish the next E-Update until Monday, January 4. 
Highlights: 

On December 17, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) delivered separate remarks on the Senate floor to discuss the current state of negotiations on a next pandemic relief package. Both leaders expressed optimism that a final package could be reached and said they would ensure that the Senate does not recess until a deal is finalized. Relatedly, on December 20, it was announced that a final deal was reached and Congress would vote on the package on December 21.
On December 16, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments in the spring regarding an appeal filed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and one of its member conferences of a lower court decision, which found the group’s limits on player compensation violate antitrust law.
On December 15, POLITICO reported the career officials at the U.S. Department of Education (USED) who will serve in acting roles until incoming appointees are confirmed by the Senate. […]

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E-Update for the Week of December 14, 2020

Highlights:

On December 11, the Senate passed a one-week Continuing Resolution (CR) to extend fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding for the federal government until December 18. The CR was adopted by a voice vote. President Trump signed the bill later that day.
On December 7 and 10, President-elect Biden announced his intent to appoint Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) as HUD Secretary, Xavier Becerra as HHS Secretary, and Susan Rice as Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
On December 8, a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members released additional details regarding their proposed framework for a next pandemic relief package. The released details of the $908 billion proposal did not include legislative text. According to the details, funding for education programs will be distributed similar to the CARES Act.

Presidential and Congressional Transition:
Presidential:
Biden to appoint Vilsack as USDA Secretary, Fudge as HUD Secretary, Rice as DPC lead: President-elect Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate and appoint key members to his incoming Administration. The president-elect announced he intends to nominate former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) […]

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E-Update for the Week of December 7, 2020

Highlights:

On December 4, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that the current forbearance period for federal student loans will be extended through January 31, 2021. The forbearance period was previously set to expire on December 31, 2020. According to the Department, borrowers will also benefit from a 0 percent interest rate on their loans.
On December 3, the House Democratic Caucus elected Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) as the Chairwoman-elect of the full House Appropriations Committee. The Congresswoman currently serves as the Chairwoman of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee and is expected to continue in this role too in the 117th Congress.
On December 1, a bipartisan group of Senators released a framework for a next round of coronavirus relief funding. The $908 billion framework includes $82 billion for education, $4 billion for student loans, $10 billion for child care, $10 billion for broadband, and $160 billion for state and local governments. The framework has been endorsed – as a “basis” for negotiations and for future relief packages – by Speaker […]

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E-Update for the Week of November 23, 2020

Highlights:

On November 20, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris met in-person with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The meeting was reportedly to discuss federal funding to keep the government open and efforts to provide immediate coronavirus relief.
On November 20, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) launched an online portal designed to illustrate and track how states, local educational agencies (LEAs), and institutions of higher education (IHEs) have spent funding received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
On November 19, Vice President Mike Pence and the White House Coronavirus Task Force gave a public briefing and update. During the briefing, Vice President Pence reiterated the White House position that schools should not be closed, even amidst a national surge in coronavirus cases.

Presidential and Congressional Transition:
Presidential:
President-elect Biden meets with Pelosi, Schumer to discuss pandemic relief, federal funding: President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris met in-person with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The meeting was […]

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E-Update for the Week of November 16, 2020

Highlights:

On November 11, POLITICO reported that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has directed White House staff to compile a series of potential Executive Orders that President Donald Trump can issue before the Inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, including one that would direct funding to parents who have children attending schools in districts that have closed their campuses.
On November 10, the Biden-Harris Transition team announced the formation and members of Agency Review Teams (ARTs), including for the U.S. Departments of Education (USED) and Health and Human Services (HHS).
On November 10, the Senate Appropriations Committee released all FY2021 subcommittee allocations and its fiscal year (FY) 2021 bills, including the FY2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) bill. The Committee also announced that the bills will not be marked up by any of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittees or the full Senate Committee.

Presidential and Congressional Transition:
Long-time aide, Ron Klain announced as first Chief of Staff for President-elect Biden: President-elect Joe Biden announced the appointment of Ron Klain as the White House Chief of Staff. Klain […]

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E-Update for the Week of November 9, 2020

Highlights:

On November 4, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made comments to the press suggesting that Congress should approve a next pandemic relief package during the lame duck session. “We need another rescue package. Hopefully the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election… and I think we need to do it before the end of the year,” he stated.
On November 3, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit, on behalf of a collection of LGBTQ+ organizations, in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California against President Trump’s Executive Order (EO), which prohibits federal contractors from participating in or federal grants and contracts funding diversity trainings that are deemed “anti-American.”
On November 2, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) titled, “Establishing the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission.” The EO directs that, within 120 days, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) will establish a commission to “better enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States.”

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that […]

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E-Update for the Week of November 2, 2020

Highlights:

On October 29, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in which she outlined outstanding differences regarding a next coronavirus relief package. The Speaker wrote that she is still awaiting a response regarding state and local aid, school funding, child care funding, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, unemployment instance, and liability protections and noted that the White House’s response “are critical for our negotiations to continue.”
On October 29, Chalkbeat reported that USED Secretary DeVos stated that the Department would not enforce a prohibition on charter schools who are affiliated with a sectarian school or religious institution from accessing federal funding. “Prohibiting religious affiliated public charter schools is unconstitutional,” stated the Department.
On October 26, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Director Mark Schneider announced the launch of “Operation Reverse the Loss.” The initiative is intended to speed up the existing “machinery IES uses to identify, scale, and verify the effectiveness of interventions” that may be used to reverse the learning loss of students.

Coronavirus (as related to education […]

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E-Update for the Week of October 26, 2020

Highlights:

On October 22, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a Dear Colleague letter to the House Democratic Caucus to provide Members with an update on ongoing negotiations with the White House for a next pandemic relief package. “Our conversation provided more clarity and common ground as we move closer to an agreement,” she wrote.
On October 22, House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) subpoenaed several USED career staff in an investigation into the Department’s role in the misconduct of Dream Center Education Holdings, a for-profit higher education company.
On October 21, the Senate did not advance a targeted coronavirus relief bill, which would have provided an estimated $500 billion in pandemic relief funding. The

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of October 23. 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.
Congress:
Senate:
Senate fails to advance skinny relief bill, once again: […]

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