Senate Reaches Bipartisan Agreement to Fund HBCUs

SENATE REPUBLICANS AND Democrats reached an agreement to permanently fund historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions after a months-long standoff during which federal funding for the schools expired.

“While this funding should never have lapsed in the first place, I’m glad that we were able to reach a deal that provides minority-serving institutions with the certainty of funding they deserve – and I truly appreciate the work done on both sides of the aisle to get us to this point,” Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, said in a statement.

The bipartisan proposal would make permanent $255 million in annual funding for HBCUs, simplifies the application for federal student aid, known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and eliminates annual paperwork required of borrowers enrolled in income-based student loan repayment plans.

Full story at US News

‘We Wanted Our Patrons Back’ — Public Libraries Scrap Late Fines To Alleviate Inequity

For nearly a decade, Diana Ramirez hadn’t been able to take a book home from the San Diego Public Library. Her borrowing privileges were suspended, she was told, because of a mere $10 in late fees, an amount that had grown to $30 over the years.

Ramirez, who is now 23 and stays in Tijuana with her mother, attends an alternative education program in San Diego that helps students earn high school diplomas. To her, the debt she owed to the library system was an onerous sum. Even worse, it removed a critical resource from her life.

“I felt disappointed in myself because I wasn’t able to check out books,” Ramirez said. “I wasn’t able to use the computers for doing my homework or filling out job applications. I didn’t own a computer, so the library was my only option to access a computer.”

Full story at NPR

Secretary DeVos Delivers on Promise to Provide Students Relevant, Actionable Information Needed to Make Personalized Education Decisions

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered on her promise to provide students more information than ever before as they make decisions about their postsecondary education options. Thanks to the groundbreaking redesign of the College Scorecard, students can now find customized, accessible, and relevant data on potential debt and earnings based on fields of study (including for 2-year programs, 4-year degrees, certificate programs, and some graduate programs), graduation rates, and even apprenticeships.  This total Scorecard “rethink,” as Secretary DeVos says, builds on President Trump’s Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities and will truly help students find the right fit for them.

“Every student is unique,” said Secretary DeVos. “What they study, as well as when, where, and how they chose to pursue their education will impact their future. Students know this instinctively. That’s why we worked to deliver a product that is customizable and transparent—a tool that provides real information students need to make informed, personalized decisions about their education. The Scorecard also ensures students can make apples-to-apples comparisons by providing the same data about all of the programs a student might be considering without regard to the type of school.”

Full story at the Department of Education

Schools Fear Deportation of DACA Recipient Teachers

IF THE SUPREME COURT rules in favor of the Trump administration, the future for teachers like Vicente Rodriguez and some 660,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, would be in doubt.

“I made it my life’s mission to make sure students would never, ever experience such events and hardship in pursuit of education as I did,” he said to thousands of people gathered in front of the steps of the high court Tuesday as the justices began considering the Trump administration’s efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

Rodriguez, who is a teaching assistant and DACA recipient from San Bernardino, California, is one of an estimated 20,000 teachers, assistant teachers and those in the process of being certified to become teachers who are protected under DACA in school districts all across the country.

Full story at US News

DeVos Subpoena On Hold – For Now

HOUSE DEMOCRATS WERE set to subpoena Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday for documents related to her department’s handling of borrower defense claims from students defrauded by for-profit colleges – the latest escalation in a public feud over the fallout of the secretary’s changes to Obama-era rules meant to rein in the sector and protect students.

The subpoena, which would have compelled the secretary to turn over certain records, would have been the first issued to DeVos by Rep. Bobby Scott, Virginia Democrat and chairman of the Education and Labor Committee.

But according to his committee staff, department officials agreed to turn over the requested papers by close of business Friday after learning the subpoena had been cleared by the House counsel and clerk.

Full story at US News

Secretary DeVos Names New Members to the National Assessment Governing Board

WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the appointment of seven leaders from around the country to four-year terms as members of the National Assessment Governing Board.

This year’s slate includes six new members and one re-appointed member. The appointees’ terms officially began on Oct. 1, 2019, and will end on Sept. 30, 2023.

The appointees will help set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card. NAEP offers to the public and to education policymakers at the national, state and local levels, objective data on student performance in nearly a dozen subjects. The information NAEP provides helps education stakeholders evaluate the progress of American education. The 26-member nonpartisan, independent Governing Board determines the subjects and content of NAEP tests, sets the achievement levels for reporting and publicly releases the results.

Full story at U.S. Department of Education

How Schools Are Using The Trump Impeachment Inquiry As A Teachable Moment

For the fourth time in history, Congress is considering impeaching the president of the United States. For teachers around the country, it’s an opportunity to explore concepts and skills that are often relegated to textbooks.

We asked social studies teachers from around the country how — if at all — they’re using this teachable moment, navigating the nationally polarizing topic and trying to sidestep the often asked question, “What do you think?”

Many educators told us they’re embracing the opportunity to bring concepts such as checks and balances to life. Some say they don’t have much time to address current events in class because of the amount of material they have to cover in a year.

Full story at NPR

Teachers Get Even With Bevin in Kentucky

KENTUCKY’S DEMOCRATIC Attorney General Andy Beshear leads current Gov. Matt Bevin by more than 5,000 votes in a high-profile gubernatorial race that drew more than 1.4 million people to the polls – a race considered by many as a bellwether for the potential impact educators may have in 2020.

For nearly three years, teachers have displayed a historic wave of activism across the country over issues of pay, increased funding, support services and the creep of charter schools, and that’s been especially true in Kentucky.

“To our educators, your courage to stand up and fight up against all the bullying and name calling helped galvanize our entire state,” Beshear said Tuesday evening during a victory speech. As of Wednesday, election results remained unofficial as Bevin sought a recanvas of the vote.

Full story at US News

U.S. Department of Education Rated Among Top Agencies on “Invest In What Works” Federal Standard of Excellence

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education’s leading efforts to use evidence and data in its management, budget, and policy decisions have been recognized in Results for America’s 2019 Invest in What Works Federal Standard of Excellence. Results for America provides a snapshot of how federal agencies are building and using evidence and data to get better results for young people, their families, and communities. Among nine federal agencies examined, the Department of Education ranked third on the Federal Standard of Excellence, with a total score of 73 points out of a possible 100.

The Department of Education received the highest possible scores for leadership, related to federal agencies designating key personnel to lead evidence and data efforts, as well as common evidence standards, which examines how federal agencies classify evidence for use in research and funding decisions. Notably, Results for America recognized the Department for the strong use of evidence when allocating funds in competitive grant programs.

Full story at U.S. Department of Education

NCAA Plans To Allow College Athletes To Get Paid For Use Of Their Names, Images

In a surprise move, the NCAA says it intends to allow college athletes to earn compensation — but it says it’s only starting to work out the details of how that would take place. The organization’s board of governors said Tuesday that it had voted unanimously to permit student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael Drake, the NCAA board chair who is also president of Ohio State University. In a statement, Drake stressed the need for “additional flexibility” in the NCAA’s approach.

Drake added, “This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

Full story at NPR