E-Update for the Week of February 3, 2020

Highlights:

On January 31, USA Today reported that President Donald Trump will include a call to action for Congress to adopt the U.S. Department of Education (USED) Education Freedom Scholarship proposal within his State of the Union address.
On January 31, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced the approval of four states to participate in the Education Flexibility Program (Ed-FLEX). The program, updated by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), allows for states to support innovation and waives certain statutory or regulatory requirements. The four states approved for the program are Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, and Vermont.
On January 28, the House Education and Labor Committee held a joint subcommittee hearing between the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee and the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. The hearing titled, “Expecting More: Addressing America’s Maternal and Infant Health Crisis,” focused on efforts to improve maternal and infant health outcomes.

Congress:
House:
House Democrats roll out infrastructure framework, schools could be included says Chairman Scott: The House Transportation Committee released a framework for a five-year, $760 billion infrastructure investment. The framework includes funding proposals for projects […]

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E-Update for the Week of January 27, 2020

Highlights:

On January 23, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a proposed rule within the Federal Register outlining the Department’s intent to reduce regulations related to the National School Lunch Program. According to a report by POLITICO, the proposed rule would significantly roll back regulations implemented by the Obama Administration.
On January 22, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. It is expected the Court will issue its opinion and order later this summer.
On January 21, USED announced the creation of a new center within the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The “Outreach, Prevention, Education and Non-discrimination (OPEN)” Center is intended to focus on “proactive compliance” with federal civil rights laws.

Administration:
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
DeVos addresses HBCUs at inaugural Heritage Foundation event: U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Betsy DeVos delivered remarks at the Heritage Foundation’s inaugural Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) forum. The event was intended, according to the Foundation, to strengthen relationships between HBCUs and the military. During her remarks, the Secretary discussed actions taken […]

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E-Update for the Week of January 21, 2020

Highlights:

On January 16, the House considered and passed H.J.Res.76, which is a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to express disapproval of the Borrower Defense rule issued by the U.S. Department of Education (USED). The resolution was passed along a mostly party line vote of 231-180. The resolution will move to the Senate, where its fate is uncertain at this time.
On January 16, USED published in the Federal Register a proposed rule related to religious freedom and school prayer. The Department issued guidance on “constitutionally protected prayer and religious expression” in public elementary and secondary schools.
On January 15, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) sent an invitation to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos to testify in front of the Committee on either March 24 or April 1. On either date the Secretary will testify on the Department’s FY2021 budget request.

Budget and Appropriations:
Nondefense spending bills could get proportional increases in FY21, says Hoyer: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) predicted how increases in spending caps for fiscal year (FY) 2021 could be divided between appropriations bills. According […]

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E-Update for the Week of January 13, 2020

Highlights:

This week, the House is expected to consider H.J.Res.76, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval of the USED’s final regulation on the Borrower Defense to Repayment Rule. On January 3, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a Dear Colleague letter to the House Democratic caucus, which outlined expected legislative activity for the upcoming few weeks, including consideration of this resolution of disapproval.
Last week, the White House announced that it plans to publish the fiscal year (FY) 2021 president’s budget proposal on February 10. According to CQ, the White House intends to release a full budget proposal instead of the “skinny” proposal that has been issued in years past.
On January 8, USED published in the Federal Register a notice for proposed priorities under the State Assessments grant program. Specifically, the Department proposes to use one or more priorities to expand the number of states able to leverage the Innovative Assessment pilot program.

Budget and Appropriations:
White House plans to release full FY21 budget proposal on Feb. 10: Last week, the White House announced that it plans to […]

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E-Update for the Week of January 6, 2020

Highlights:

On January 3, the Senate returned to session after its Winter Recess. The House returns to session today.
On December 26, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) published in the Federal Register a notice for public comment titled, “Study of District and School Uses of Federal Education Funds.” The proposed information collection will examine the allocation and use of federal funds in 400 nationally representative school districts. The study is intended to determine how funds are distributed related to program goals and students.
On December 23, USED published a revised version of the federal student aid website, StudentAid.gov. The revised website, according to the Department, now consolidates information from StudentLoans.gov, fsaid.ed.gov, and nslds.ed.gov.

Administration:
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED to study local uses of federal education funding, largest study by Department in nearly a decade: The U.S. Department of Education (USED) published in the Federal Register a notice for public comment titled, “Study of District and School Uses of Federal Education Funds.” The proposed information collection will examine the allocation and use of federal funds in 400 nationally representative school districts. […]

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E-Update for the Week of December 23, 2019

Please note, that due to the holiday break, EducationCounsel will not publish the E-Update until January 9. For urgent updates during the holiday season, follow our Twitter account (@EdCounselDC).
Highlights:

On December 20, President Donald Trump signed two minibus spending packages, which contain multiple bills, which fund the government through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2020. The final FY2020 Appropriations bill for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) includes a $1.3 billion increase over FY2019 (or 1.8 percent) for the U.S. Department of Education (USED), with the largest increases directed toward the core K-12 education programs of Title I (an increase of $450 million over FY2019) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants to states (an increase of $400 million over FY2019).
On December 19, the White House announced the nomination of Sethuraman Panchanathan to serve as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF).
On December 17, HHS announced a formalized partnership between the Office of Head Start, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the School Superintendents’ Association […]

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E-Update for the Week of December 16, 2019

Highlights:

On December 12, the White House held a summit on child care and paid leave. The event, which was focused on how child care and paid leave can support American workers, included Ivanka Trump, an adviser to the president. Following the event, the White House published a fact sheet titled, “President Donald J. Trump is Committed to Supporting Working Families,” which outlines how the administration is supporting efforts to make child care more affordable and accessible.
On December 10, the Collaborative for Student Success and Education Week hosted an event titled, “Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA] Four Year Anniversary Summit.” The event featured Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) as they discussed how ESSA was negotiated and eventually signed into law four years ago this month. Neither Congressman expected the law to be reauthorized in the near future.
On December 10, the House and Senate passed an amended version of the “FUTURE Act.” The bill would permanently reauthorize mandatory funding for minority-serving institutions (MSIs) […]

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E-Update for the Week of December 9, 2019

Highlights:

On December 12, the White House is expected to hold a summit related to paid family leave and early childhood education. Select guests, including policymakers and advocates, have been invited.
On December 5, the Senate passed, under unanimous consent, an amended version of H.R.2486, the “FUTURE Act.” The bill would permanently reauthorize mandatory funding for minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), which previously expired on September 30.
On November 27, USED published in the Federal Register a notice of proposing the establishment of six priorities for discretionary grant programs. According to the notice, the proposed priorities would allow for the Department to expand the range of applicants for federal funding and to promote greater innovation.

Congress:
Senate:
Senate finally negotiates HBCU funding fix, fate of bill remains less clear in House: The Senate passed, under unanimous consent, an amended version of H.R.2486, the “FUTURE Act.” The bill would permanently reauthorize mandatory funding for minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), which previously expired on September 30. The bill also includes provisions of the FAFSA Act, […]

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E-Update for the Week of November 25, 2019

Please note that due to the Thanksgiving holiday on November 28, the EducationCounsel E-Update will not be published again until Monday, December 9. That edition will cover developments between November 25 and December 6.
Highlights:

On November 21, President Donald Trump signed a continuing resolution (CR) to maintain current funding levels for the federal government until December 20. The bill was adopted by the Senate on November 21 by a bipartisan 74-20 vote and the House adopted the bill earlier this week with a largely partisan 231-192 vote.
On November 20, USED released an updated College Scorecard, which now includes information on median earnings and median debt of a school’s graduates, including earnings in chosen fields of study. Previously, the Scorecard would only provide information about median earnings based on the institution, not disaggregated by field of study.
On November 18, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) led 27 Senate Democrats in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) regarding the proposed changes to the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). Additionally, on November 18 House Education […]

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E-Update for the Week of November 18, 2019

Highlights:

On November 14, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) issued a statement after receiving a number of documents from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) related to debt relief under the Borrower Defense rule. The statement indicated the Committee will review the documents and may invite USED Secretary Betsy DeVos to testify at a hearing to discuss the documents further.
On November 13, USED Secretary DeVos announced the appointment of new members to the National Assessment Governing Board. The seven appointees will serve from October 2019 through September 2023.
On November 12, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) met with House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) to discuss the fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending bills and how to move forward after the current continuing resolution (CR) expires on November 21. Following the meeting, the two appropriators announced they expect the next CR, which will be voted on the week of November 18, to last until December 20.

Budget and Appropriations:
Pelosi, Mnuchin to negotiate FY2020 topline spending levels: POLITICO reported that Speaker of the House Nancy […]

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