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E-Updates

March 18, 2024

E-Update for March 18, 2024

The information covered below is from March 1, 2024, through March 14, 2024.

Highlights: 

  • On March 7, President Biden gave his third State of the Union Address to Congress, focusing on the Administration’s efforts to strengthen the American economy and included mentions of increased support for early childhood, K-12, and higher education programs.
  • On March 11, President Biden released his fiscal year 2025 (FY2025) budget request, which puts forth the administration’s priorities and goals for the coming fiscal year, including for the U.S. Department of Education (USED).
  • On March 7, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing on college DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) programs.

Administration:

White House:

President Biden delivers State of the Union Address outlining agenda for the upcoming year, including the Administration’s education funding priorities: On March 7, President Biden gave his third State of the Union Address to Congress. The address focused on the Administration’s efforts to strengthen the American economy through growing domestic manufacturing and increasing taxes for the wealthy and corporations, to which President Biden added, “To remain the strongest economy in the world, we need the best education system in the world.” Beginning with early childhood education, President Biden said, “I want to give every child a good start by providing access to pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds,” continuing, “Studies show that children who go to pre-school are nearly 50% more likely to finish high school and go on to earn a 2- or 4-year degree no matter their background.” The President recognized the need for increased access to child care, stating, “Imagine a future with affordable child care so millions of families can get the care they need and still go to work and help grow the economy.” Urging Congress to restore the Child Tax Credit (CTC), the President shared how the CTC, which first passed as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) in 2021, “cut taxes for millions of working families and cut child poverty in half.” President Biden also addressed the need for increased literacy support, stating, “I want to expand high-quality tutoring and summer learning time and see to it that every child learns to read by third grade.”
 
Additionally, President Biden named multiple efforts his Administration is targeting to address the cost of higher education. The President remarked, “When I was told I couldn’t universally just change the way in which you dealt with student loans, I fixed two student loan programs that already existed,” referring to the income-driven repayment (IDR) and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) programs. The President highlighted an increase in the maximum Pell Grant, and investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic- and Minority-Serving Institutions (HSIs and MSIs). The President also raised the Administration’s efforts in career-connected learning, “connecting businesses and high schools so students get hands-on experience and a path to a good-paying job whether or not they go to college.”

President Biden releases his Fiscal Year 2025 budget request: On March 11, President Biden released his fiscal year (FY2025) budget request, which puts forth the administration’s priorities and goals for the coming fiscal year, including for USED. Specifically, President Biden requests $82.4 billion in funding for USED, which is a $3.1 billion or 4% increase over the FY2023 level. The President proposes increases in FY2025 for core education programs, including Title I, Student Aid Administration, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Grants to States, Pell Grants, Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG), and Head Start.

Below are highlights of funding levels included in the President’s FY2025 budget request for key education and early learning programs:

  • Early Childhood Education:
    • For core early childhood education programs administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a combined increase of $1.4 billion is proposed compared to the FY2023 levels for these programs. Specifically, CCDBG would receive $8.5 billion, a 500 million increase over FY2023 levels, and Head Start would receive $12.5 billion, a $540 million increase.
  • K-12 Education:
    • The FY2025 budget request includes a $200 million increase for Title I above the FY2023 level, for a total recommended amount of $18.6 billion.
    • For Special Education Grants to States (IDEA Part B), President Biden is proposing a $200 million increase above the FY2023 level, for a total of $14.4 billion.
  • Student Financial Assistance:
    • Student Aid Administration has a requested budget of $2.7 billion, a $625 million increase over the FY2023 level. 
    • The President’s FY2025 budget request would set a maximum Pell grant award of $8,145, an increase of $750 above the FY2023 level. The Biden Administration also once again proposes to double the maximum Pell Grant award by 2029 through mandatory funding.

The President’s budget request also proposes multiple new mandatory programs for USED. As states and districts are required to obligate their ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds by September 30, 2024, the FY2025 budget request proposes a new $8 billion mandatory proposal for Academic Acceleration and Achievement Grants with funding to be spent over five years. These funds would allow states and school districts to continue many of the investments made with their ESSER funds in improving outcomes for underserved students through a variety of proven, evidence-based strategies. The strategies are aligned to the Administration’s Improving Student Achievement Agenda, announced in January, and include increasing student attendance and engagement; providing high-quality tutoring and small-group instruction; and expanding summer learning, extended, or afterschool learning time. In higher education, the FY2025 request proposes to provide mandatory funding for the following: (1) $90 billion for a Free Community College program to make community colleges free for eligible students; (2) $30 billion for an Advancing Affordability for Students program for eligible four-year HBCUs, TCCUs (Tribally-Controlled Colleges or Universities), or MSIs to provide two years of subsidized tuition up to $4,500 per year for students from families earning less than $125,000; and (3) $12 billion for a Reducing Costs of College Fund to lower college costs for students. However, because mandatory programs require passage of separate authorizing legislation, these funding proposals are unlikely to be advanced by Congress.

President Biden issues Executive Order on scaling and expanding Registered Apprenticeships: On March 6, President Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) titled, “Scaling and Expanding the Use of Registered Apprenticeships in Industries and the Federal Government and Promoting Labor-Management Forums.” A White House fact sheet states that the EO is informed by recommendations of the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empower, and notes that Registered Apprenticeships “are a proven strategy to expand equitable training pathways to good-paying jobs, including union jobs.” Specifically, the EO aims to expand Registered Apprenticeships in the federal workforce, directing the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Department of Labor, and other federal agencies to explore opportunities to reduce barriers and create pathways into and up through federal employment using Registered Apprenticeships. The EO also directs federal agencies to identify where they could include requirements or incentives for grant recipients or contractors to employ workers who are or were participating in Registered Apprenticeship programs.

White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention and the USED host briefing with HBCUs on mental health: On February 29, the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention (OGVP) and the USED hosted a briefing, with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on gun violence prevention and mental health support for victims of gun violence. The briefing, led by OGVP Deputy Director Gregory Jackson and Special Assistant for the USED’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development (OPEPED) Jessica Gall, focused on two key grant programs, the School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program and the Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant Program. Both grant programs are supported by funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) and aim to increase and train school-based mental health providers. The BSCA became law in 2022 and, among other provisions, provided $280 million in funding towards school-based mental health supports and strengthening the pipeline for school mental health professionals.

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

USED’s Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) releases updates to 2024-25 FAFSA process: On March 4, FSA announced updates to processing the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms. The announcement confirms the early March delivery of 2024-25 FAFSA Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) to institutions, state higher education agencies, and scholarship organizations so they can prepare student aid packages to send to students. The delivery of the ISIRS will occur in small test batches to a select number of schools before ramping up delivery to a broader set of institutions. Additionally, on March 12, FSA issued a notice that students who have contributors, such as parents or other family members, without Social Security numbers (SSNs) are now able to submit the FAFSA. The notice resolves technical issues that students were facing, as many applicants whose contributors did not have SSNs received an error message. The announcement follows a request from Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) to address “widespread misinformation [and] a lack of clear communication with students and stakeholders” regarding the error.

USED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issues Dear Colleague letter reminding schools of their legal obligation to address discrimination against Muslim, Arab, Sikh, South Asian, Hindu, and Palestinian students: On March 14, OCR issued a Dear Colleague letter reminding schools of their legal obligation to address discrimination against Muslim, Arab, Sikh, South Asian, Hindu, and Palestinian students. Assistant Secretary Catherine Lhamon writes that “OCR has seen a nationwide rise in complaints of discrimination against students, including against Muslim, Arab, Sikh, South Asian, Hindu, and Palestinian students” in K-12 and institutions of higher education. The letter describes multiple forms of discrimination from which Title IV protects students, and directs schools to OCR resources on addressing discrimination and filing a complaint with OCR. Regarding complaints, the letter states, “If OCR finds a hostile environment based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, and that the school knew or should have known of the hostile environment, OCR will evaluate whether the school met its obligation under Title VI to take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile environment and its effects, and prevent harassment from recurring.”

Government Accountability Office (GAO) issues report on costs of USED’s direct loan program: On March 4, the GAO issued a report titled, “Education Should Enhance Reporting on Direct Loan Performance and Risk,” which examined the status of USED’s planned model for estimating the costs of the Direct Loan program, as well as the extent to which USED provides key information about the performance and risks of the Direct Loan program. The report explains that over the last 30 years, the Direct Loan program has grown “in size and complexity,” and USED is reforming its model to estimate future costs to better account for the increasing complexity and borrower behavior; the model is aimed to be released in time to inform the President’s Fiscal Year 2028 budget request. The GAO recommended that, until the model is released, USED should enhance its reporting on the Direct Loan program to include further information on factors such as a wider range of economic circumstances, performance information, credit risk concentrations, and administrative risks, among others.

GAO issues report detailing physical and digital infrastructure needs at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): On March 12, the GAO issued a report titled, "Hispanic-Serving Institutions Reported Extensive Facility and Digital Infrastructure Needs," which describes HSIs' facility and digital infrastructure needs, and funding sources for capital projects. The report notes that HSIs serve over 2 million enrolled students and represent 60% of all Hispanic students in college; to study a representative sample of institutions, the GAO issued a survey and analyzed the most recent HSI data on college student and institutional characteristics, finances, grant programs, and COVID relief funds. Survey results indicated that due to maintenance backlogs, damage from natural disasters or severe weather, and facility modernization needs, 43% of HSIs need physical repairs or replacements to buildings. Regarding digital infrastructure, the GAO estimates that 74% of HSIs have experienced a cyberattack in the five years since issuing the survey, and at roughly a third of HSIs, more than 10% of students cannot reliably connect to the internet off-campus. Public HSIs rely on state capital grants or appropriations for capital projects, and private HSIs use student tuition and fees. Both public and private HSIs face challenges in funding, as roughly 74% of public HSIs consider state funding insufficient to address capital project needs and about 75% of private HSIs face funding challenges due to declining tuitions and fees revenue. USED officials noted that while the Department has grant programs for HSIs that can be used for capital projects, the funds are generally used for other needs, such as student services. 

Congress

House:

House Education Subcommittee holds hearing on college DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) programs: On March 7, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing titled “Divisive, Excessive, Ineffective: The Real Impact of DEI on College Campuses.” The hearing heard from four witnesses: Dr. Erec Smith, Associate Professor of Rhetoric at York College of Pennsylvania and a Cato Institute Fellow; Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, Chair of Do No Harm; Dr. James Murphy, Director of Career Pathways and Post-Secondary Policy at Education Reform Now; and Dr. Jay Greene, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation's Center for Education Policy. 
 
In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Burgess Owens (R-UT), remarked, “DEI is not an abstract concept but is instead practical applications used on almost every college campus throughout our country, both public and private. It’s seen as universities use race as a “plus” factor in admissions. Instead of intellectual competition and meritocracy, it is skin color that is deemed the winner or loser, pitting races against each other.” Subcommittee Ranking Member Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), in her opening remarks, criticized the Republican majority for holding a “divisive” hearing “to malign DEI programs” and argued that while [increases campus diversity] “should be celebrated” but that “increases in campus populations are not necessarily indicative of changed attitudes or closely held beliefs.” And continued that students face “other forms of discrimination not limited to race, including discrimination based on disability…religion. This is why DEI offices exist.”
 
In general, Republican Members of Congress, along with three of the witnesses - Drs. Smith, Goldfarb, and Greene - offered sharp criticisms of DEI programs and cited examples of policies or specific actions they viewed as “excessive,” “divisive,” or “ineffective.” Democratic members and Dr. Murphy from Education Reform Now highlighted the continued need for DEI programs in addressing student safety and discrimination, and were critical of the focus of the hearing. Ranking Member Bonamici, in closing, noted that “Democrats will continue to support and defend programs that protect students and educators from all forms of discrimination, harassment and violence on campus.” Chairman Owens, in arguing against affirmative action, closed with “we just need to make sure we're now looking at [the] potential of all kids, regardless of color, race, and creed.”

House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education holds hearing on impact of charter schools: On March 6, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing titled, “Proven Results: Highlighting The Benefits Of Charter Schools For Students And Families.” The committee heard from four witnesses: Macke Raymond, founder and director of the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University; Julian Vasquez Heilig, founding board member of the Network for Public Education; Robert Pondiscio, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; and Kenneth Campbell, CEO of New Schools for Baton Rouge.

During his opening remarks, Subcommittee Chairman Aaron Bean (R-FL) expressed support for charter schools and described the “eager[ness]” that surrounds students’ acceptances. Chairman Bean asserted, “The charter success story is linked to thousands of student success stories…they’ve proven what we all expected—removing the education bureaucracy is a boon to student achievement.” Ranking Member Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) responded in her opening statement, “Mr. Chairman, I see your scenario not as a case for more charter schools but as a case for making all public schools the best they can be.” Ranking Member Bonamici also expressed concern that many charter schools are operated by for-profit corporations, which are among those that “are not subject to the same level of oversight and accountability as traditional public schools.” 

In his statement, Mr. Pondiscio shared his personal experience teaching at both traditional public and charter schools, where he found, in his view, that charters were doing more to challenge students and “deliver[ed] astonishing results for children.” Witness Dr. Julian Vasquez contrasted others’ remarks, calling attention to “A recent study by the Network for Public Education [which] found that over 25% of charter schools closed within five years,” which he said caused instability for students attending those schools.

Throughout the hearing, Republican Committee members called attention to areas of the country where traditional public schools have low student test scores and graduation rates, with some focusing on how school choice provides the opportunity for families to select a school with better student outcomes. Full Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) asked about the success rates for urban charter school students; Mr. Raymond responded that those students “learn an extra 30 days in a year’s time in reading and 28 extra days of learning in math” compared to students in the traditional public school district. Democrats continued questions on oversight of charter schools, including for-profit influence, high teacher turnover, and the especially low performance of students at virtual charter schools. Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) also expressed concern about “the harsh discipline practices that exist more often in charter schools than in traditional public schools and how these practices disproportionately impact marginalized students, including students with disabilities,” as well as how charter schools may “fail to align with the broader community interests.”

In their closing remarks, Chairman Bean reiterated earlier statements that “charter schools have high levels of academic achievement,” while Ranking Member Bonamici repeated prior sentiments that charter schools cause underfunding in “our already overwhelmed traditional public education system.”

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Foxx continues actions following testimony on the response to antisemitism on college campuses: On March 13, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) announced that the Committee will interview Dr. Dara Horn, a former member of Harvard’s Antisemitism Advisory Group, on March 18. Chairwoman Foxx has recently issued subpoenas to Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow Penny Pritzker, Interim President Dr. Alan Garber, and Harvard Management Company’s Chief Executive Officer N.P. Narvekar for failing to produce priority documents related to the Committee’s antisemitism investigation. The investigation follows the December 5 testimony of Harvard University’s former President Dr. Claudine Gay before the Committee, writing that, “While Dr. Gay has since resigned, Harvard’s institutional failures regarding antisemitism extend well beyond one leader.”  Of the interview, Chairwoman Foxx stated, “Dr. Horn’s interview will provide important insight into Harvard’s response to pervasive antisemitism on its campus…The Committee will continue to use all its tools to examine the epidemic of antisemitism at Harvard and other universities and hold these institutions accountable for their failure to protect Jewish students.” 

On March 8, Chairwoman Foxx sent a letter to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) President Sally Kornbluth and MIT Corporation Chair Mark P. Gorenberg requesting information regarding MIT’s response to antisemitic incidents on campus. The letter refers to MIT President Kornbluth’s testimony in December 2023, during which Chairwoman Foxx writes, “Dr. Kornbluth made numerous statements that further called into question the Institute’s willingness to address antisemitism seriously.” The letter requests information and documents regarding reports of antisemitic acts or incidents and related documents and communications since January 2021 and corresponding disciplinary processes, among other information.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Foxx requests GAO investigation into USED compliance with Congressional oversight requests: On March 4, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sent a letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro requesting that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate USED’s responses to Committee oversight requests. Chairwoman Foxx expresses “deep” concern regarding USED’s “lack of responsiveness to the Committee’s oversight requests” on multiple oversight requests, including the Biden Administration’s student loan forgiveness proposal, foreign adversaries funding American universities, borrower defenses to repayment of student loans, and the rollout of the simplified FAFSA. The letter states that USED “has continually failed to respond in a timely manner” following requests for information. Chairwoman Foxx requests that GAO examine USED’s process for responding to Congressional oversight requests for information about postsecondary programs, as well as their timeliness in doing so.

House Oversight Committee advances bipartisan legislation on federal AI governance and transparency: On March 7, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee advanced H.R. 7523, the “Governmentwide Executive Councils Reform Act of 2024,” which establishes key provisions on federal Artificial Intelligence (AI) governance. The bill advanced unanimously out of the Committee’s markup by a vote of 40-0 after it was introduced on March 6 by the House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD). The bill aims to centrally codify federal governance of AI systems by: 

  • Defining federal systems for responsible AI use;
  • Strengthening governmentwide federal AI use policy authority and requirements;
  • Establishing agency AI governance charters; and
  • Creating additional public accountability mechanisms.

Introducing the bill, Chairman Comer said, “Agencies have already begun to use artificial intelligence to improve oversight, save taxpayer dollars, and increase government efficiency. The bipartisan Federal AI Governance and Transparency Act ensures that the federal government’s use of AI will improve government operations while protecting privacy, civil rights and civil liberties, and upholding American values.” During the markup, Ranking Member Raskin added that the legislation establishes, “a framework that responsibly addresses the public risks of these uses so we can best achieve their public benefits.” 

Upcoming Events (Congress & Administration):

  • On March 20 at 10:00 a.m., the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request For The Department Of Health And Human Services.” Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra will testify. The hearing will be held in 2358-C Rayburn House Office Building and livestreamed here.
  • On March 20 at 10:30 a.m., the House Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity will hold a legislative hearing on pending legislation. The hearing will consider a number of bills, including H.R. 7323, legislation directing the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to disapprove courses of education offered by a public institution of higher learning that does not charge the in-State tuition rate to a veteran using certain educational assistance. The hearing will be held in 360 Cannon House Office Building and livestreamed here.
  • On March 21 at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will testify. The hearing will be held in 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building and livestreamed here.
  • On March 21 at 10:00 a.m., the House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request. Witnesses have not yet been announced. More information is here.
  • On March 21 at 2:30 p.m., the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request. Witnesses include Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jared Bernstein. The hearing will be held in 2359 Rayburn House Office Building and livestreamed here.
  • On March 26 and 27, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will hold the Spring 2024 Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee Meeting. The agenda includes a presentation on the NSF budget, a session on Artificial Intelligence at NSF, and a meeting with the NSF Director’s Chief of Staff. More information and registration are here.
  • On March 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the National Board for Education Sciences will host a virtual meeting. The agenda includes reviewing reports from NBES subcommittees and a discussion of Senator and Ranking Member Bill Cassidy's  (R-LA) Report to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The Board will also hear from P. David Pearson (University of California Berkeley), Leslie Fenwick (Howard University), Mary Helen Immordino-Yang (University of Southern California), and Robert Jaegers (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning). Members of the public interested in virtually attending this meeting or submitting written comments may email Ellie Pelaez, (ellie.pelaez@ed.gov) no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 26, 2024. More information is here.
  • From April 12 to 14, the USED will host the Spring Teach to Lead Summit, titled, “Leading for the Future: Improving the Educator Experience and Expanding Opportunities to Elevate the Profession.” The Spring summit will convene teams of PK-12 educators from across the country to engage in focused planning and thought partnership around innovative ideas to improve the educator experience and strengthen the education profession. Sessions at the summit will provide teams with collaboration time, skills development, and professional consultation to help teams plan for implementation and seek additional partners and support for their work. More information is here.
  • On April 17 at 10:15 a.m., the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a meeting titled, “Columbia in Crisis: Columbia University’s Response to Antisemitism.” The committee will examine how Columbia’s leadership and the school are addressing antisemitism on its campus. Witnesses include: Dr. Nemat (Minouche) Shafik, President of Columbia University; Claire Shipman, Board of Trustees Co-Chair at Columbia University; and David Greenwald, Board of Trustees Co-Chair at Columbia University. The hearing will be held in 2175 Rayburn House Office Building and livestreamed here. More information is here.

Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):

  • On March 19 at 12:30 p.m., the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading will host a webinar titled, “Investing in the Future: Philanthropy’s Role in Strategic Public Financing for Children.” The webinar is part of a “Funder to Funder Conversation” series designed to provide opportunities for shared learning, collaboration and even co-investing between and among local funders and their more "national" counterparts. Panelists include: Todd A. Battiste, Senior Vice President of Education & Youth Initiatives at United Way of Southeast Louisiana; Heather Flaherty, Executive Director of Chuckanut Health Foundation; September Jarrett, Program Officer for Education at the Heising-Simons Foundation; and Trevor Storrs, President & CEO of Alaska Children's Trust. More information and registration are here.
  • On March 19 at 4:00 p.m., the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a webinar titled, “Getting K–12 Right.” Panelists will draw on ideas from a new book by AEI’s Fred Hess and Michael McShane - Getting Education Right: A Conservative Vision for Improving Early Childhood, K–12, and College - and consider “an outline K–12 education reform unencumbered by the groupthink and political constraints that hamper even farsighted progressives.” Panelists include, Derrell Bradford, President of 50CAN, Cade Brumley, Louisiana State Superintendent of Education, and Nicole Neily, President of Parents Defending Education. More information and registration are here
  • On March 20 at 2:00 p.m., the EducationTrust will host a webinar titled, “Resource Equity in Action: Measuring Impact and Maintaining Momentum.” The session is the last in a series focusing on how to measure the impact of advocacy campaigns, and will feature a state-level advocate to discuss how they approached measuring impact in their work and the challenges and successes they faced in doing so. More information and registration are here.
  • On March 20 at 4:00 p.m., the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) will host an in-person briefing titled, “Tackling Critical Teacher Shortages: Insights on Federal Policies & Programs.” The briefing is co-sponsored by the Offices of Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), as well as a number of organizations, including AASA, The School Superintendents Association; the American Federation of Teachers; NAACP; and the National Center for Learning Disabilities, among others. Speakers will discuss research on the state of the educator workforce, evidence-based approaches to address teacher shortages, and more robust federal strategies that could help ensure that every student has access to a well-prepared, diverse, and stable educator workforce. Senator Kaine will provide welcoming remarks, and speakers include: Michael DiNapoli, Jr., Deputy Director of Federal Policy at LPI; Jacqueline Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer at the National Center for Learning Disabilities; Thomas Owenby, Associate Dean for Teacher Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education; and Reggie White, 2022–2023 Alabama Teacher of the Year, among others. The briefing will be held in Dirksen Senate Office Building, room B-48. More information and registration are here.
  • On March 21 at 1:00 p.m., the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) will host a webinar titled, “New School Applications: Do Authorizer Evaluations Predict the Success of New Charter Schools?” Presenters from the Fordham Institute and North Carolina will discuss findings from a forthcoming report titled, “Do Authorizer Evaluations Predict the Success of New Charter Schools?” Speakers include Alex Quigley, Executive Director of Durham Charter School, and Adam Kho, Assistant Professor in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. More information and registration are here.
  • On March 21 at 3:30 p.m., UCLA Government and Community Relations will host an event titled, “Can Congress Handle Regulating AI?” The event will feature a conversation with House AI Taskforce co-Chairmen Jay Obernolte (R-CA) and Ted Lieu (D-CA) and UCLA Blueprint Editor Jim Newton. The event will be held in 2075 Rayburn House Office Building. Registration is here.

Publications (Congress & Administration):

  • In March, the USED published a new set of briefs from the Family Engagement Learning Series. The briefs summarize the Department’s six-part webinar series of conversations designed to raise the bar for family engagement practices between school and home. Topics covered include family engagement to support student success, student engagement and attendance, and student mental health and well-being among others. 

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On February 29, the Manhattan Institute published a new issue brief titled, “Enforcing the Law on Colorblind Admissions: Stop Unconstitutional Discrimination and Fund Better Alternatives.” 
  • On March 4, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) published a new analysis titled, “College Cost Reduction Act Could Save $150 Billion, Lower Tuitions.” The blog post is an initial analysis of the Republican bill designed to lower higher education costs and reform the student loan and Pell Grant programs, which the CRFB estimates would save the federal government $150 billion over a decade primarily by replacing the Biden Administration’s Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) expansion for new borrowers. The analysis notes that other provisions in the bill “would largely offset each other…for example, introducing the new Repayment Assistance Plan would modestly increase federal costs, while introducing risk sharing would lead to modest savings.”
  • On March 5, the National Education Policy Center published a new policy brief titled, “Time for a Pause: Without Effective Public Oversight, AI in Schools Will Do More Harm Than Good.” The brief explores the harms if lawmakers and others do not implement measures to prevent risks posed by the widespread use of pre-AI digital technologies in education. The authors urge school leaders to pause the adoption of AI applications until policymakers have had sufficient time to thoroughly educate themselves and develop legislation and policies ensuring effective public oversight and control of school applications.

Legislation:

Introduced in the House of Representatives:

H.R. 7534
A bill to amend the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 to improve protections for children, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA)

H.R. 7549
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for the termination of a certain educational assistance program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-IN)

H.R. 7575
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide loan deferment and loan cancellation for certain founders and employees of small business start-ups, to amend the Small Business Act to establish a young entrepreneurs business center, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)

H.R. 7612
A bill to affirm and protect the First Amendment rights of students and student organizations at public institutions of higher education.
Sponsor: Rep. Erin Houchin (R-IN)

H.R. 7639
A bill to establish a National Advisory Council on Unpaid School Meal Debt in Child Nutrition Programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)

H.R. 7644
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to reauthorize the Federal work-study program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)

H.R. 7679
A bill to amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to establish a fund to provide support services for individuals participating in certain training activities under such Act.
Sponsor: Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)

H.R. 7680
A bill to support the preparation and retention of outstanding educators in all fields to ensure a bright future for children and youth in under-resourced and underserved communities in the United States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI)

H.Res. 1059
A resolution expressing support for the designation of the week beginning March 5, 2024, as "School Social Work Week.”
Sponsor: Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL)

H.Res. 1075
A resolution recognizing the contributions of AmeriCorps members and alumni and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in the lives of the people and communities of the United States.
Sponsor: Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) 

Introduced in the Senate:

S. 3873
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to expand eligibility for Post-9/11 Educational Assistance to members of the National Guard who perform certain full-time duty, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)

S. 3877
A bill to amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to permit greater flexibility in carrying out incumbent worker training programs, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)

S. 3883
A bill to appropriate funds for the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education.
Sponsor: Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)

S. 3884
A bill to establish a grant pilot program to provide child care services for the minor children of law enforcement officers to accommodate the shift work and abnormal work hours of such officers, and to enhance recruitment and retention of such officers.
Sponsor: Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY)

S. 3907
A bill to authorize the Secretary of Education to carry out a grant program to assist local educational agencies with ensuring that each elementary school and secondary school has at least one reading, literacy, or biliteracy specialist on staff.
Sponsor: Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)

S. 3910
A bill to provide technical assistance and grants for faith-based organizations, institutions of higher education, and local governments to increase the supply of affordable rental housing, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

S. 3911
A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the methods by which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs conducts oversight of certain educational institutions, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

S. 3952
A bill to increase rates of college completion and reduce college costs by accelerating time to degree, aligning secondary and postsecondary education, and improving postsecondary credit transfer.
Sponsor: Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

S. 3953
A bill to make demonstration grants to eligible local educational agencies or consortia of eligible local educational agencies for the purpose of increasing the numbers of school nurses in public elementary schools and secondary schools.
Sponsor: Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)

S.Res. 576
A resolution expressing support for the designation of the week of March 4 through March 8, 2024, as "National Social and Emotional Learning Week" to recognize the critical role social and emotional learning plays in supporting the academic success and overall well-being of students, educators, and families.
Sponsor: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)