EducationCounsel’s Statement on Racial Justice

June 3, 2020
The horrific killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black people, combined with the nationwide protests that followed, have once again laid bare the painful truth that systemic racism and inequities remain an unconscionable blight on our nation.  In criminal justice.  In housing.  In healthcare. In employment. And also in education.
In this moment, like too many that have preceded it, we hear, honor, and share the grief and outrage of our Black family members, friends, and colleagues; and we commit to speaking up and taking action—Black lives matter.

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Building Back Better: Ensuring Equitable Funding for the Students Who Need it Most

May 28, 2020
Cathy Holahan & EducationCounsel
The K-12 public education system has a long way to go towards providing truly equitable student experiences and outcomes for students — ones that prepare them to thrive in school and beyond. We know that in order to create equitable learning environments we must aspire to a number of key characteristics for schools — including culturally affirming curriculums, safe and empowering climates, and flexible designs that meet the needs of all learners.

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E-Update for the Week of June 1, 2020

Highlights:

On May 29, President Donald Trump vetoed H.J.Res.76, which provided for “congressional disapproval… of the rule submitted by [USED] relating to borrower defense.” The resolution was intended to enact the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to prevent USED Secretary DeVos from enacting or enforcing her rule related to borrower defense.
On May 27, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced “Child Care is Essential Act.” The bill would create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund.
On May 22, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) sent a letter to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in response to the organization’s challenge against the Department’s guidance regarding use of funding from the CARES Act. The Department indicated that USED Secretary Betsy DeVos would be issuing an interim final rule within the “next few weeks” to “resolve any issues in plenty of time for the next school year.”

Coronavirus (as […]

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E-Update for the Week of May 26, 2020

Highlights:

On May 21, USED released an update to its guidance on uses of funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund of CARES Act. The update clarifies that previous guidance on HEER funding uses “lack the force and effect of law” and only “represent [USED’s] current thinking on a topic.”
On May 20, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos calling for her to rescind guidance on uses of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide equitable services.
On May 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released revised guidance on how businesses, child care centers, and schools can reopen safely due to impacts of the coronavirus. The guidance is more detailed than previously released versions and outlines specific steps and benchmarks that child care programs and schools […]

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E-Update for the Week of May 18, 2020

Highlights:

On May 15, the House passed H.R. 6800, the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act.” The broad relief package, which is estimated to total more than $3 trillion, includes approximately $100 billion for education programs and additional aid for state and local governments.
On May 13, Vice President Mike Pence, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos, and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx held a conference call with select higher education leaders to discuss approaches to reopening campuses in the fall.
On May 12, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing titled, “COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School.” The hearing focused on the federal government’s response to the pandemic and what additional measures are needed to reopen the U.S. economy, including supports for schools.

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of 12:00 pm on May 16, 2020. Given the fast-moving nature of congressional and Administrative actions to address the growing pandemic, we will do […]

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E-Update for the Week of May 11, 2020

Highlights:

On May 7, POLITICO reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on a call with members of the Democratic caucus acknowledged that a vote on a package that could provide additional relief in response to the coronavirus is possible next week, but not certain.
On May 6, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) Federal Student Aid Office (FSA) published additional guidance for institutions of higher education regarding reporting requirements for funds received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. As part of the CARES Act, institutions received funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund to support emergency grants to students.
On May 6, USED published the final rule for Title IX, as related to sexual harassment and assault. The final rule comes more than a year after the Department initially published a proposed rule in November 2018. The final rule applies to institutions of higher education and K-12 schools.

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date […]

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E-Update for the Week of May 4, 2020

Highlights:

On April 30, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) published applications for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) to access $1.4 billion in funding as provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
On April 27, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos announced she would not recommend that Congress approve any additional waiver authority regarding Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requirements within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
On April 27, USED Secretary Betsy DeVos published notices to apply for $307.5 million in discretionary grants authorized by the CARES Act. The Secretary announced that she will use her authority to create two grant programs – $180 million for the Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant and $127.5 million for the Reimagining Workforce Preparation Grant.

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of 4:00 pm on May 1, 2020. Given the fast-moving nature of congressional and Administrative actions to address the […]

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The CARES Act: Five Things that School and District Leaders Need to Know Now

April 30, 2020
Sean Worley, Scott Palmer

The following was created in partnership with the Wallace Foundation and originally appeared on their blog on April 23, 2020.
The newly enacted federal law in response to the coronavirus crisis provides more than $30 billion for K-12 and higher education programs; more than $4 billion for early childhood education; and other supports such as forgivable loans to nonprofits, including many providers of afterschool or summer programs. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act comes at a moment when many states and districts are closing schools while seeking to continue to educate students, out-of-school-time programs are pondering how best to offer services and summer is fast approaching.
To assist decision makers, this post summarizes five things that school and district leaders should know about the major education provisions in the CARES Act. It also contains information pertaining to nonprofits.

The $2.3 trillion CARES Act provides new, one-time funding for states, districts and schools—based in part on poverty but with significant flexibility regarding where funds are used.

The law includes a $30.75 billion Education Stabilization Fund divided into three parts and meant to provide initial […]

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E-Update for the Week of April 27, 2020

Highlights:

On April 23, the House passed H.R.266, the “Payroll Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act.” The largely bipartisan vote comes after the Senate passed the bill earlier this week under unanimous consent. On April 24, President Donald Trump signed the bill.
On April 23, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced $13.2 billion for states is being made available under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
On April 21, USED Secretary DeVos announced the release of the second half of the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) fund, as authorized by the CARES Act. This portion of the relief fund is intended to support institutional costs incurred due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of 4:00 pm on April 24, 2020. 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:
Bipartisan […]

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E-Update for the Week of April 20, 2020

Highlights:

On April 16, President Donald Trump published guidelines for the Administration’s vision for reopening the American economy. The guidelines outline three phases to reopen the economy, with schools and child care providers not recommended to reopen until phase two.
On April 15, USED Secretary DeVos published in the Federal Register a new funding priority for the Education, Innovation, and Research (EIR) grant program focused on personalized teacher professional development.
On April 14, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced that the nearly $3 billion for states under the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is being made available.

Coronavirus (as related to education issues):
Note that all information related to the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is up to date as of 4:00 pm on April 17, 2020. 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.
Administration
White House:
Schools not to reopen until phase two of president’s strategy to restart economy: President Donald Trump […]

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