ED Review (07/12/19)

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July 12, 2019


PERKINS STATE PLANS

Butler Tech 

July 1 marked the start of a new era in career and technical education (CTE), as states began to implement the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, commonly known as Perkins V.  The Trump Administration championed this new law, which is designed to improve CTE and help students gain the skills they need to compete for in-demand, high-wage jobs in their communities.  As of the official implementation date, the Department had received, reviewed, and approved every state’s Perkins V one-year transition plan (video announcement). 

“Our team is so encouraged by the way states have embraced the spirit of this new law and are rethinking CTE on behalf of their students,” noted Secretary DeVos.  “The work is just beginning, though.  As states begin to think about their long-term CTE strategies, I would encourage them to continue to act boldly and break down the silos that exist between education and industry, so that all students are prepared for the in-demand, high-paying jobs of today’s economy and tomorrow’s.” 

Perkins will send nearly $1.3 billion to states, school districts, and community colleges for CTE initiatives this year alone. 

Examples of innovative ideas within state transition plans include:

  • changing the amount of federal funding that states direct to high schools and community colleges based on labor market demands and employer needs;
  • building partnerships between high schools and postsecondary institutions by encouraging the submission of a local consortia application, which allows for the pooling of resources for shared purposes;
  • refining the definition of size, scope, and quality of CTE programs to incorporate more elements of the Department’s Programs of Study Design Framework and the Association for Career and Technical Education’s definition of high-quality CTE;
  • requiring that all students complete “Individualized Success Plans;” and
  • experimenting with competency-based learning and integrating traditional academic coursework with technical skill coursework. 

Full, four-year state plans are due to the Department’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) in April 2020. 

CIVIL RIGHTS DATA

OCR 

The Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released new data showing students who file civil rights complaints under Secretary DeVos’ leadership are served more efficiently and effectively than students who filed complaints during the previous administration.  In fact, on average, OCR has resolved almost double the number of complaints per year compared to the prior eight fiscal years.  Additionally, OCR has achieved a 60% increase in the number of complaint resolutions that required schools to make changes to protect students’ civil rights. 

“From day one, our approach has been clear and unwavering: vigorously enforce civil rights laws, treat students as individuals, and resolve cases both efficiently and effectively,” DeVos said.  “The backlog of cases we inherited should have troubled everyone, as we know justice delayed is justice denied.  While many have tried to distort the nature of our approach, the numbers don’t lie.” 

In Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018, on average, OCR resolved 16,000 complaints a year, versus an average of 8,200 complaint resolutions a year under the previous administration.  Also, OCR has seen a 60% increase over the preceding eight years in the annual number of complaint resolutions requiring a school to make a substantive change for students, including: a 30% increase in Title VI (race/national origin) resolutions requiring corrective action; a 60% increase in disability-related resolutions requiring corrective action; and an 80% increase in Title IX (sex discrimination) resolutions requiring corrective action.  In 2018 alone, OCR resolved nearly as many sexual violence complaints that required corrective action as the previous administration resolved in all eight years combined. 

HIGHER EDUCATION UPDATE

Graduation Caps

Over the last two weeks, there have been a number of notable actions in the higher education space. 

First, Secretary DeVos congratulated Robert King on his confirmation by the U.S. Senate to serve as the Department’s Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education.  Prior to joining the agency last year, King was president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.  Notably, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, where he served for nine years. 

Second, the Department extended to September 23 the priority date for institutions to submit a letter of interest in the Federal Work-Study Experimental Site. 

Third, the Department published in the Federal Register a final rule rescinding the Gainful Employment (GE) regulations.  In this announcement, the agency offers guidance to institutions on what the rescission means and what they can do should they choose early implementation.  Institutions that do not implement early must comply with the 2014 rule until the rescission becomes effective on July 1, 2020. 

Fourth, the Department released letters, dated June 13, 2019, notifying institutions of investigations related to reporting of defined gifts and contracts from or with a statutorily defined foreign source. 

Separately, the agency’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) issued new Data Points examining the percentage of total price of attendance covered by federal Pell Grants, as well as the percentage of Pell Grant recipients with federal student loans, between the 2003-04 and 2015-16 academic years and outcomes of 2015-16 bachelor’s degree recipients one year after graduation. 

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES 

Don’t miss these newly issued Notices Inviting Applications (NIAs) for grant competitions. 

  • Charter Schools Program Developer GrantsThese grants are intended to support the opening of new charter schools and the replication and expansion of high-quality charter schools. Eligible applicants are developers that have applied to an authorized public chartering authority (with adequate and timely notice) to operate a charter school and located in a state that does not have a Charter Schools Program State Entity grant.  Applications are due by August 2.
  • Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) -- State Grants.  This program provides grants to support academic and support services for eligible low-income students to help them obtain a high school diploma and prepare for and succeed in higher education.  Eligibility is limited to states without an active GEAR UP grant or with a GEAR UP grant scheduled to end prior to October 1, 2019.  Applications are due by August 7.
  • Trauma Recovery Demonstration Grant Program.  This program provides grants to help support model programs that enable a student from a low-income family who has experienced trauma that negatively affects the student’s educational experience to access trauma-specific mental health services.  Eligible applicants are state educational agencies (SEAs).  Applications are due by August 14. 

SUPPORTING INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES 

As required by law, the Department issued annual determinations regarding states’ implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (fact sheet).  Each state was evaluated on key indicators under Part B (ages 3 through 21) and Part C (infants through age 2) and placed in one of four categories: meets requirements, needs assistance, needs intervention, and needs substantial intervention.  Most states fell into the top two groups.  A total of 21 states met requirements for Part B, and 27 states and the District of Columbia met requirements for Part C.  Determinations are part of the ongoing effort to improve education for the nation’s more than seven million children and youth with disabilities.  (Note: Determination letters have been sent to the states and are available online.) 

ODDS AND ENDS 

  • Last week, the Secretary discussed Education Freedom Scholarships (EFS), empowering students and families, and the importance of protecting free speech and religious liberty at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Annual Policy Conference.
  • Also last week, the Secretary addressed the Fund for American Studies, asserting “We have to embrace the idea that change is possible and change has to happen for the kids that are being left behind” when outlining her EFS proposal (video).
  • Earlier this week, the Secretary participated in the Tenth Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Education, featuring a Plan of Action targeting quality, inclusivity, and equity in the education system, strengthening the teaching profession, and promoting early childhood development.
  • First Lady Melania Trump visited Huntington, West Virginia, to learn more about the community’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis (readout).
  • Not only was Antoinette Love accepted into a record-setting 116 colleges and universities and awarded over $3.7 million in scholarships, she is also a first-generation college student and inspired her father to go back to school.
  • Imagine graduating from high school with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.  How does dual enrollment work?  Here are some answers to the top five most frequently asked questions.
  • For all things science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related, visit the Department’s updated STEM landing page.
  • The Department is making technical changes to existing Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title I regulations, to reflect the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  Although the regulations were issued as final, the agency has invited public comment (on or before August 1) to determine whether any additional changes are necessary.  It will consider comments in determining whether to make further technical changes or engage in rulemaking.
  • To help school communities manage their engagement on the anniversary of a difficult event and make critical decisions about creating memorials, the Department’s Office of Safe and Supportive Students (OSSS) and its Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center developed a resource: “Paying Tribute to Deceased School Community Members.”
  • According to Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) data, if the U.S. population was a basketball team, one player on the court would be functionally illiterate. 

QUOTE TO NOTE 

“As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we all share a truly extraordinary heritage.  Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told: the story of America.  It is the epic tale of a great nation whose people have risked everything for what they know is right and what they know is true.  It is the chronicle of brave citizens who never give up on the dream of a better and brighter future.  And it is the saga of 13 separate colonies that united to form the most just and virtuous republic ever conceived….  That same American spirit that emboldened our founders has kept us strong throughout our history….  It is the spirit of daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love that built this country.” 

-- President Donald Trump (7/4/19), in remarks at a “Salute to America” 

UPCOMING EVENTS 

The 2019 Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference in Reno (December 3-6) will present the latest information on Higher Education Act (HEA) Title IV programs and federal policies and procedures. 


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