E-Update for the Week of July 26, 2021

Highlights:

On July 23, the White House released a fact sheet on the Biden Administration’s efforts to “advance educational equity.”
On July 22, USED published the approved plans for five additional states and their proposed use of ARP Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funding.
On July 21, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full Committee vote to advance the nominations of Lisa Brown, who is nominated to serve as U.S. Department of Education (USED) General Counsel, and Roberto Rodriguez, who is nominated to serve as USED Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development.

Biden Administration Transition:
Nominations and Personnel:
HELP Committee advances Brown, Rodriguez nominations for top USED appointments, delay vote on Lhamon’s OCR nomination: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full Committee vote to advance the nominations of Lisa Brown, who is nominated to serve as U.S. Department of Education (USED) General Counsel, and Roberto Rodriguez, who is nominated to serve as USED Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development.  The Committee advanced both nominations on voice votes […]

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E-Update for the Week of July 19, 2021

Highlights:

On July 15, the House Appropriations Committee held a full Committee markup of the fiscal year (FY) 2022 House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) appropriations bill, which includes funding for the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (USED).
On July 13, Senate Budget Committee Democrats and the White House officially agreed to a $3.5 trillion topline number for a budget reconciliation package.
On July 13, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full Committee hearing titled, “The Nominations of Catherine Lhamon to Serve as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Elizbeth “Lisa” Brown to Serve as General Counsel, and Roberto Rodriguez to Serve as Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development.” The Committee will vote on the nominations this Wednesday.

Biden Administration Transition:
Nominations and Personnel:
HELP begins consideration of next three USED nominations, expected vote on Wednesday: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a full Committee hearing titled, “The Nominations of Catherine Lhamon to Serve as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Elizbeth “Lisa” Brown to Serve as […]

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Raising the Voices of African American Girls Who Have Been Mistreated in Their Schools

Girls are often told they can be anything they want to be, but what is rarely said is that what they look like matters greatly. African American girls are one of the most at-risk student groups in the United States, and often face substantial barriers to reaching their full potential. In Michigan, a 15-year-old African American girl was incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic because she violated her probation by not completing her schoolwork. In Sacramento, a 9-year-old African American girl was suspended and kicked out of her virtual classroom because she was asking too many questions via the chat section. This treatment is not isolated or limited to the classroom. In the 2017-2018 school year, African American girls were four times more likely to be expelled, four times more likely to be suspended from school, and five times more likely to be arrested than Caucasian girls.

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E-Update for the Week of July 12, 2021

Highlights:

On July 9, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a Dear Colleague letter outlining the chamber’s legislative schedule for the upcoming work period.
On July 7, USED published the approved plans for seven states and their proposed use of ARP Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funding.
On July 6, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced several new political appointees to serve within the Office of the Secretary and other Department offices.

Biden Administration Transition:
Nominations and Personnel:
HELP to begin consideration of Lhamon, Brown, and Rodriguez nominations for USED senior roles: On July 13 at 10:00 am, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hear testimony from Catherine Lhamon, who is nominated to serve as U.S. Department of Education (USED) Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights; Elizabeth Brown, who is nominated to serve as USED General Counsel; and Roberto Rodriguez, who is nominated to serve as USED Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
July 13, 2021
USED announces new political appointees: USED announced several new political appointees to serve […]

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E-Update for the Week of July 6, 2021

Highlights:

On July 1, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced it released more than $3 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to states to support Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grant programs that support infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.
On June 30, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to extend the pause on federal student loan payments.
On June 30, the White House announced the creation of an interagency working group focused on improving the safety and experiences of transgender Americans and students.

Coronavirus Updates (as related to education):
Administration:
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED releases ARP supplemental special education funding: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced it released more than $3 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to states to support Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grant programs that support infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. The roughly $3 billion in funds were allocated to supplement IDEA’s […]

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E-Update for the Week of June 28, 2021

Highlights:

On June 24, after weeks of negotiations, a bipartisan group of 21 Senators developed a compromise framework to invest $1.2 trillion in the nation’s infrastructure, and President Joe Biden has agreed to the proposal.
On June 24, USED Secretary Cardona appeared in front of the House Education and Labor Committee for a hearing examining the policies and priorities of the Department and the Department’s fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request.
On June 23, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Mahoney Area School Districts v. B.L, in which the Court ruled in favor of a student who had been suspended from a cheerleading team due to inflammatory content she posted on social media over the weekend.

Coronavirus Updates (as related to education):
Administration:
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED reinforces commitment to equity with first installment of Equity Summit Series: USED held a virtual summit titled, “Building Equitable Learning Environments in Our Schools,” during which the Department discussed and highlighted the need to support students holistically as they return to schools in-person.  USED Secretary Cardona noted how the investments from the […]

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E-Update for the Week of June 21, 2021

Highlights:

On June 16, USED Secretary Miguel Cardona testified in front of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee regarding the Department’s fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget request. Similarly, on June 16, the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing examining the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) FY2022 budget request, in which HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra testified.
On June 16, USED released a Notice of Interpretation explaining that it will enforce Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
On June 14, USED posted an initial batch of 27 plans submitted by State Education Agencies (SEAs) describing how the states plan to use American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds.

Biden Administration Transition:
Nominations and Personnel:
HELP Committee advances fourth USED nomination: On June 16, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee advanced the nomination of Gwen Graham to serve as the U.S. Department of Education (USED) Assistant Secretary for Legislation and Congressional Affairs […]

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E-Update for the Week of June 14, 2021

Highlights:

On June 11, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the USED Federal Student Aid Office (FSA) Richard Cordray announced that the Department will not be able to fully implement statutory requirements to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in time for students to apply for federal aid for the 2023-2024 school year
On June 10, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released guidance related to the $39 billion Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding included in the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
On June 9, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released guidance focused on the maintenance of equity (MOEquity) provision contained within the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act.

Biden Administration Transition:
Nominations and Personnel: 
HELP Committee to consider Graham’s nomination on Thursday: On June 16, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold an executive session to consider the nomination of Gwen Graham to serve as the U.S. Department of Education (USED) Assistant Secretary for Legislation and Congressional Affairs.  This is only the fourth USED nominee that the HELP Committee has considered to date.  The hearing […]

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Contracts Can Support the Child Care Workforce but Require Thinking outside the Box

This post was originally published on Urban Wire, the blog of the Urban Institute.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the child care and early childhood education (CC/ECE) workforce has faced severe instability. Lower enrollment, income loss, higher operating costs, and increased fears of health risks, combined with preexisting challenges, including low pay, inadequate benefits, high turnover rates, and demanding work, have left the field in turmoil. These challenges are acute for Black, Latina, and Native American providers, who make up more than 35 percent of the (PDF) CC/ECE workforce. To prevent permanent job loss and damage to a field dominated by women of color, states must act now to stabilize and support the CC/ECE workforce.

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E-Update for the Week of June 7, 2021

Highlights:

On June 2, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced that it has withdrawn its recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), citing ACICS’s failures to comply with certain federal regulations.
On June 2, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) sent a letter to USED Secretary Cardona requesting an update on the Department’s plan to transition student loan borrowers from the COVID-19 related repayment freeze.
On June 2, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Child Care (OCC) issued guidance clarifying that state, territory, and Tribal child care agencies may use supplemental Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) discretionary funds to help parents and child care providers access the COVID-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus Updates (as related to education):
Administration:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
ACF suggests that ARP CCDBG funds can be used to support vaccine access: The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Child Care (OCC) issued guidance clarifying that state, territory, […]

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