E-Update for March 25, 2016

Highlights

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) convened a Negotiated Rulemaking Committee this week to develop regulations for provisions on assessment and supplement not supplant in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
EducationCounsel Managing Partner Art Coleman and Senior Legal and Policy Advisor Terri Taylor wrote “Bridging the Research to Practice Gap: Achieving Mission-Driven Diversity and Inclusion Goals” along with Dr. Jeffrey F. Milem. The paper, prepared on behalf of the College Board’s Access & Diversity Collaborative, aims to help institutions of higher education learn from and leverage existing research to enhance their ability to meet mission-driven diversity and inclusion goals through well-supported policies and practices.
Next week the House and Senate will be in recess and we will not publish an E-Update.

 
U.S. Congress
CBO Releases Pell Grant Baseline Projection: The Congressional Budget Office released its latest Pell Grant baseline projection. This baseline projection is important as it will be used to determine compliance with the Pell Grant scoring rule for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. This baseline projection shows a surplus of $7.754 billion being carried over into FY2017.  Assuming that the discretionary portion […]

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E-Update for March 18, 2016

Highlights

On March 14, the Senate confirmed John King as the U.S. Secretary of Education by a vote of 49-40.

 
U.S Congress
Senate Confirms John King as Secretary of Education: The Senate voted to confirm John King the Secretary of Education by a vote of 49-40.  Prior to the vote, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) highlighted the need for an Education Secretary confirmed by and accountable to the Senate to ensure proper implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Both Chairman Alexander and HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) voted to confirm Secretary King.
March 14, 2016
House Budget Committee Passes FY2017 Budget Resolution and the House Appropriations Committee Expected to Kickoff Markups: The House Budget Committee passed its Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget Resolution by a vote of 20-16.  The resolution would maintain the funding caps at the level agreed upon in the budget deal and require legislation to be considered that would cut $30 billion in mandatory spending. However, the path forward for the budget resolution remains unclear in regard to support in […]

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E-Update for March 11, 2016

 
Highlights

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted 16-6 in favor of Dr. John King’s nomination to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education. The Senate is scheduled to enter Executive Session to consider the nomination on Monday, March 14, at 4:00 pm.

 
U.S Congress
Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Holds Hearing on USED’s FY2017 Budget Request: The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing to examine the proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget for the U.S. Department of Education (USED). During the hearing, Acting Secretary King testified as to how the FY2017 budget request is focused on equity in education by providing $15.4 billion for Title I and supporting preschool funding, which will be available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
March 10, 2016
Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing to Vote on Nomination of Dr. John King to Serve as Secretary of Education The Senate HELP Committee held an executive session to vote on the nomination of Dr. John King Jr. to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education. Committee […]

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E-Update for March 4, 2016

Highlights

On March 4, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced the list of Negotiated Rulemaking committee members who will work to draft regulations for two areas of Title I, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):  assessments under Title I, Part A, and the requirement that Title I, Part A funds be used to supplement, and not supplant, non-federal funds. Negotiators include various stakeholders such as teachers, principals, state and local administrators, civil rights advocates, parents, and students. The full list of negotiators and issue papers are available here.
On March 9, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is set to vote on Acting Secretary John King’s nomination to be Secretary of Education, following his hearing in that committee on February 25.

U.S Congress
Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Holds Hearing Examining the FY2017 Budget Request: The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing to examine the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget request for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Committee members questioned HHS Secretary […]

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E-Update for February 26, 2016

Highlights

Acting Secretary of Education John King’s February 25 nomination hearing in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee was collegial, and the committee expressed that more information on the nomination would be issued on March 9.
In hearings in the House Education and the Workforce Committee on February 24 and 25, Acting Secretary King fielded questions from Republicans on how the U.S. Department of Education (USED)’s policies and proposed budget would serve to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in a faithful manner with respect to both the letter of the law and Congressional intent. Democrats questioned King regarding his plans to ensure that ESSA lives up to its history as a civil rights bill as more authority and flexibility is transferred to states and districts.
USED released a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on transitioning to ESSA that compiles recently issued guidance into an accessible format. The document is available here.
EducationCounsel published a blog entitled, ESSA: Opportunities and Risks in Assessment, written by Senior Legal and Policy Advisor Dan Gordon, which highlights areas of the law […]

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ESSA: Opportunities and Risks in Assessment

Assessment received a great deal of attention at the beginning of the final sprint to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, largely around the question of whether to maintain requirements for annual assessments. In the end, the headline-grabbing shifts mostly took place elsewhere, especially in Title I accountability and educator evaluation. Yet a deeper look at the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reveals complex and important changes to federal assessment policy as well. States and districts now have several opportunities to advance their development of high-quality systems of assessment.

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E-Update for February 12, 2016

Highlights
On February 9, President Obama released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget request for the U.S. Department of Education (USED) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The President’s budget request for USED proposes $69.4 billion in discretionary funding – a 1.9 percent increase above the FY 2016 funding level. His budget request for HHS Administration for Children and Families is $20 billion, which is a 4.2 percent increase above the FY2016 funding level. The budget request focuses on three major priorities: (1) increasing equity and opportunity for all students; (2) expanding support for teachers and school leaders; and (3) improving access, affordability, and student outcomes in postsecondary education.
The FY2017 budget included various new discretionary funding initiatives, such as: $80 million for Next Generation High Schools, which would promote the whole school redesign of the high school experience through competitive grants to districts, and $30 million for the HBCU and MSIs Innovation for Completion Fund, to foster innovative, evidence-based student centered strategies and interventions to increase the number of low-income students and students of color completing degree […]

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E-Update for February 5, 2016

Highlights
On February 4, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced its intention to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee prior to publishing proposed regulations for Title I-Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Published in the Federal Register, the notice stated that committee members could be drawn from communities affected significantly by the topics proposed for negotiations, including federal, State, and local education administrators, tribal leaders, parents and students, teachers, principals, other school leaders, paraprofessionals, members of State and local boards of education, the civil rights community, and more. The negotiated rulemaking committee will examine two issues: (1) preparing proposed regulations that would update existing assessment regulation to reflect changes to section 1111(b)(2); and (2) preparing proposed regulations related to section 1118 regarding the new supplement, not supplant framework.
 
U.S Congress
Senate Democrats Highlight the Student Loan Debt Crisis: The Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee held a forum on college affordability and the student debt crisis. The forum focused on the testimony of students with significant student loan debt, while members spoke to the importance of finding solutions, including […]

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E-Update for January 29, 2016

Highlights
On January 21, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and Senate Democrats unveiled a new college affordability legislative package, entitled the Reducing Educational Debt (RED) Act. The RED Act contains three main components of legislation: (1) provides tuition-free community college, creating a partnership between states and the federal government to help waive tuition fees; (2) makes student loan refinancing available to eligible federal student loan borrowers, and the ability for private loans to be refinanced into the federal program; and (3) indexes the Pell Grant program to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) beyond 2017, with mandatory funding to sustain its value in the future. A press release, including details of all of the provisions and a video of the announcement, is available here.
U.S Congress
House Labor-HHS Subcommittee Announces Deadline for FY2017 Member  Requests: The Chairman of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Activities (Labor-HHS) issued a Dear Colleague letter announcing the deadline for members of Congress to submit comments to the Subcommittee for consideration […]

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E-Update for January 22, 2016

Highlights
On January 19, the Administration called for significant new investments in the federal Pell Grant program. Specifically, the Administration supports two new proposals to encourage students to accelerate their progress towards degrees. First, the Pell for Accelerated Completion would allow full-time students the opportunity to earn a third semester of Pell Grants in an academic year, allowing them to take additional courses during the summer. Second, the On-Track Pell Bonus would incentivize students to stay on track or accelerate their progress by increasing the maximum Pell Grant award by $300 for students who take 15 credits per semester in an academic year. These two new programs would expand the Pell grant program by $2 billion. A fact sheet is available here.

U.S Congress
Senate Agriculture Committee Passes Bipartisan Reauthorization of Child Nutrition Programs: The “Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016,” a bipartisan effort to reauthorize America’s child nutrition programs, passed the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously by a voice vote. The bill, sponsored by Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), would […]

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