Legislative Activity

Senate Budget Committee Report

Last week, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) released a report which details her priorities for the federal budget over the next two years. Chairman Murray called on her colleagues to use the greater budget certainty provided for the next year as a result of the December 2013 bipartisan budget agreement “to responsibly tackle some of our long-term budget challenges.” The report outlines a number of priorities spanning a wide range of issues, including several education and workforce training initiatives. As such, the report calls for increased funding for early childhood education programs, primary and secondary schools, higher education, and post-college job training programs. It also calls for providing support for a wide range of postsecondary options — beyond just four-year colleges and universities — to meet the educational and training needs of a diverse population of young people and working-age adults.

Student Data Privacy

Republicans Reps. Todd Rokinta (IN), Chair of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, and Patrick Meehan (PA), Chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies, are currently working to determine whether there is a role for the federal government to play related to student data privacy. Reps. Rokita and Meehan are working to learn more about the issue and are considering legislation to maintain student privacy in light of the extensive amounts of data currently being collected in educational settings.

Workforce Investment Act Compromise

A deal is expected to close soon to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) as Senators continue to negotiate over procedural issues. Senate leaders have other priorities to address before scheduling a vote on the compromise WIA bill, which could come the week of June 16. If the Senate approves the draft bill without major changes, House leadership has indicated it will act quickly to pass the measure.

Upcoming Hearings:

  • Monday, June 2: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight will hold a roundtable discussion titled “Campus Sexual Assault: The Role of Title IX.” This is the second of three roundtables on the topic planned by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
  • Tuesday, June 5: The Senate Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Subcommittee will markup its draft FY 2015 CJS Appropriations Bill Tuesday, followed by a full committee markup on Thursday. While the total amount allocated for the bill at $51.2 billion matches the House-passed version, the House included a controversial amendment to cut social sciences research by $15 million.
  • Wednesday, June 4: The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled “Student Loan Servicing: The Borrower’s Experience.”
  • Wednesday, June 4: The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Impact of Student Loan Debt on Borrowers and the Economy.”
  • Thursday, June 5: The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to consider legislation related to veterans’ health care, education, job-training and other benefits.

Regulatory Activity

Title IX Investigation

Since the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) first released its list of colleges and universities under Title IX investigation about a month ago, OCR has added the names of five schools to the list. During the initial release of the Title IX investigation list, OCR had explained that the placement of schools on the list does not imply that they have or will be found to have violated the law. Some of the schools appear on the list because of an OCR-initiated complaint or investigation as part of a compliance review. As shared in our blog post on May 5, OCR will continue to update the list and make it available to stakeholders upon request.

My Brother’s Keeper

The My Brother’s Keeper Task Force released its first progress report offering initial recommendations within the first 90 days of President Obama issuing his Presidential Memorandum for the initiative.  The Task Force has indicated that it intends to build on its  recommendations as soon as within a few months.

In the report, the Task Force divides its recommendations into two categories: (1) Focus Areas, where recommendations are pinpointed at key milestones of development for boys and men of color; and (2) Cross-Cutting and Areas of Opportunity, where recommendations broadly apply to all focus areas. Overall, over 20 initial recommendations are shared that focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • Entering School Ready to Learn – For example, ensuring access to high quality early care and education; eliminating suspensions and expulsions in early learning settings.
  • Reading at Grade Level by Third Grade – For example, brining successful evidence-based practices to Scale, starting with early literacy screenings.
  • Graduating from High School Ready for College and Career – For example, maintaining momentum in turning around the worst performing schools.
  • Completing Postsecondary Education or Training – For example, improving college advising services and support tools.
  • Entering the Workforce – increase entry-level job, mentorship and apprenticeship options.
  • Reducing Violence and Providing a Second Chance – For example, reducing violence in high-risk communities by integrating public health approaches.

Department Departures

John Easton, the Director of Institute of Education Sciences, will end his six-year term early to become a senior fellow at the Spencer Foundation.  Easton is likely to start his position in the fall.