Legislative Activity

Child Care and Development Block Grant

Before leaving for recess, the Senate overwhelmingly passed its legislation (S. 1086) to reauthorize the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) by a vote of 97-1. The bill will renew the federal funding provision for state support of child care services for low-income families and institute educational, health and safety standards for facilities. The authorization of the CCDBG program expired in 1996. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) also announced that his Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday to review the House’s priorities for the CCDBG program.

Veterans Education Legislation

On Tuesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity will hold a legislative hearing on a slate of veterans’ affairs bills, several of which relate to veterans education issues. The following bills will be considered as part of the hearing: Warriors’ Peer-Outreach Pilot Program Act (H.R. 3056), Military Skills to Careers Act (H.R. 3614), Student Veterans IT Upgrade Act (H.R. 4147), and Veterans Education Survey Act of 2014 (H.R. 4151).

Upcoming Hearings:

  • Tuesday, March 25: The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold another hearing in its series on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The hearing will focus on teacher preparation programs within HEA and is titled “Teacher Preparation: Ensuring a Quality Teacher in Every Classroom.”
  • Tuesday, March 25: The House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education will hold a hearing titled “The Foundation for Success: Strengthening the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program.”
  • Tuesday, March 25: The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a legislative hearing on a number of bills related to veterans’ issues, including several pieces of legislation related to veterans education.
  • Tuesday, March 25: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-Health and Human Services-Education will hold a hearing for the public and outside witnesses to provide testimony on the FY 2015 appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
  • Wednesday, March 26: The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing titled “Reviewing the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal for the Department of Labor.” Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez is scheduled to testify at the hearing.
  • Thursday, March 27: The Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled “Strengthening the Federal Student Loan Program for Borrowers.”

Regulatory Activity

White House Forums on Economic Opportunities for Women

On Thursday, March 20, the Obama Administration announced that it will host five regional forums on expanding access to higher education for women and identifying opportunities to better ensure women have the necessary skills to succeed in the workforce. The forums will take place this spring on April 11 in Denver, April 28 in Chicago, May 5 in San Francisco, and May 19 in Boston. The fifth forum will be held in New York City, but a date has not been set. Following the forums, the Administration will host a White House Summit on Working Families on June 23.

As part of this White House initiative, on Wednesday, March 26 the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the National Women’s Business Council are hosting a “STEM for Her” roundtable with representatives from the private sector, academia, and other stakeholders to discuss additional ways to increase women entrepreneurs in STEM fields. The SBA plans to use this feedback to inform the framework for the White House Summit this summer.

Program Integrity and Improvement Negotiated Rulemaking Committee

From Wednesday, March 26 – Friday, March 28, the Program Integrity and Improvement Negotiated Rulemaking Committee will convene for its second session to work towards drafting proposed rules on clock to credit hour conversion, state authorization distance education and foreign locations, cash management, retaking coursework, and the definition of adverse credit for Direct PLUS Loan eligibility. In preparation for this session, the Department has drafted regulatory language for negotiators to review and discuss. We expect the Department to start issuing some of the proposed rules for comment later in the year.

Teacher Education

Today, the Department of Education will give a 30-day extension for its information collection on the TEACH Grant Program. This collection informs the Department’s report to Congress about the TEACH Grant Program, which is required under the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. The Department is also seeking comments on its collection of information on the Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants Program’s Scholarship Contract and Teaching Verification Form for Title II Scholarship Recipients. The comment period will likely be for 30 days.

Last week, the Department published a notice in the Federal Register seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget to begin collecting information on the degree to which teachers participating in an alternative route to certification program teach students with disabilities, English language learners, rural students, and economically disadvantaged students. This information will be used in drafting the Department’s report to Congress, which was due on December 31, 2013. This report has been anticipated by the education community, given the controversy over the definition of a “highly qualified teacher” including teachers from alternative certification programs like Teach for America.

Impact Aid

The Department of Education is extending the deadline for submitting applications for the FY 2015 Impact Aid Section 2002 Grant Program until April 30.  The official notice will be published in the Federal Register today.