The Education Report, a weekly publication of WPLLC, provides an executive summary of public policy issues affecting American education.
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Budget and Appropriations (Written 1/13/17)
This week, the news from Capitol Hill has been focused on Trump cabinet nominees (although not would-be Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos), “fake” news, an odd Trump Tower “press conference” and Republican efforts to repeal and/or replace Obamacare. As for this week’s education news, seventeen states and the District of Columbia told the Department of Education that they will file their ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) plans by April 3. Those states are Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont (plus the District of Columbia). The remaining states are presumably opting for the September 18 deadline. Of course, the incoming Trump Administration might not be ready to review those plans by April, or might push back all manner of ESSA deadlines. Regardless, it’s clear some states are eager to get going with new accountability plans.
As for Betsy DeVos’s confirmation hearing—it’s scheduled for Tuesday, January 17 at 5:00 pm. The lateness is odd, but would accommodate travel schedules of senators returning to Washington, DC, after the three-day weekend. Senate Democrats are seeking further delay, but Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, wants to dispense with the hearing quickly and get Trump’s pick confirmed. This week, more and more groups publicly voiced concerns about Betsy DeVos’s views on public education, her business background, her political contributions and her overall expertise in education policy outside of “school choice” issues. The hearing will be a lively one, as the other confirmation hearings have been, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will certainly have stern questions for her.
The education community continues to watch the conversation around budget reconciliation and the intention to repeal Obamacare for any would-be effects or signals regarding overall spending. So far, there haven’t been many, but the broader discussion around discretionary spending suggests that that non-defense discretionary spending and discretionary defense spending will be treated differently on Capitol Hill in the near future. Both the Secretary of Defense nominee and Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), who chairs the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, suggested that defense needs should be funded without regard to what is going on in other federal investments. Representative Cole even suggested that there might be a move to alleviate the restrictions that sequestration could place on defense spending, but did not suggest the same for non-defense spending. This is concerning for education and other domestic programs, and has their Democratic champions on Capitol Hill on high alert.
Next week will be a short one in Washington, DC, but will be packed with action. After Monday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, the city will prepare for Friday’s Inauguration and the subsequent marches and protests. That means the city will pretty much be shut down for business on Friday (or maybe even starting on Thursday, given the sweeping street closures and security measures). Tuesday evening is circled in red (for now—assuming no more delays) on education calendars across the city. That’s the day that more will be learned about the person who will likely hold the fate of federal education policy in her hands.
- Brookings Institute Discusses Role of Public Investment
- AFT Gives Recommendations to Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos
- CCRSC Outlines Intersection of Well-Rounded and Work-Based Learning
- House Democrats Form New Public Education Caucus
- New America Reflects On Next Generation Universities Initiative
- AEE Discusses Brining Mind, Brain, and Education Science to Teachers
- McGraw Hill Education Hosts Webinar On Comprehensive Literacy Plans
- Sources Say Allan B. Hubbard Top Contender for Deputy Education Secretary
- Learning to Teach: Practice-Based Preparation in Teacher Education
- Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (January 2017)
- What’s Hot in Literacy: 2017 Report
- International Literacy Association (January 2017)
- Five Key Trends in U.S. Student Performance
- Economic Policy Institute (January 2017)
- Charter Schools: The Landscape and the Horizon
- National Association of State Boards of Education (January 2017)
- Best Practices for Determining Subgroup Size in Accountability Systems While Protecting PII
- Institute of Education Sciences (January 2017)
- Ten Questions Senators Could Ask Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos
- Politics K-12 (Jan. 10, 2017)
- U.S. Supreme Court Considers Level of Special Education Benefits
- The Denver Post (Jan. 11, 2017)
- Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus Raises Concerns About DeVos’ Record on LGBT Issues
- The Wisconsin Gazette (Jan. 12, 2017)
- Native American Students Sue U.S. Government Over Dismal Education
- The Huffington Post (Jan. 12, 2017)
- The Return of the MOOC
- The Economist (Jan. 13, 2017)