September 2020 Issue

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White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative


September 2020 Issue

“We call for the choice of educational options for Latino students across America, including in-person schooling, commensurate with all relevant CDC and other health guidelines. We Hispanic commissioners know that Latino children in America are disproportionately harmed by the lack of options that best fit their educational style, and their families should be given the right to choose how to educate their children.”

Statement from the President’s Advisory Commission on Hispanic Prosperity regarding the call for educational choice for Hispanic students.

Initial Meeting of the President’s Advisory Commission on Hispanic Prosperity

Commissioners meeting

On Aug. 31, the President’s White House Hispanic Prosperity Commission (Commission) convened to tackle issues important to the Hispanic community, such as school choice, reopening schools, access to capital, and reducing barriers to Hispanic small business. President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative established the Commission to advise the President on the best ways to increase access to educational and economic opportunities for Hispanic American students, workers, and communities.

The Commission released a statement that addressed the importance of having the option of reopening schools for Hispanic students. In addition, the Commission created subcommittees to focus on educational opportunities, access to capital and identifying regulatory barriers to Hispanic small businesses, EEOC accessibility, and identifying federal resources for the Hispanic community.

Rethink Adult Ed Challenge

In recognition of National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the Rethink Adult Ed Challenge that will expand career opportunities for adult learners through pre-apprenticeship programs. These important educational opportunities help to ensure students seeking apprenticeships are prepared with the skills they need for success. 

The Rethink Adult Ed Challenge, with prizes totaling $750,000, will help Adult Education and Family Literacy Act-funded adult education providers create innovative and high-quality pre-apprenticeship programs — in any industry, anywhere in the United States.

Community colleges, correctional facilities, libraries, community-based organizations, and other eligible providers interested in entering the challenge should complete a Stage 1 submission by 11:59 p.m. ET on Nov. 25, 2020. Curated resources are available at to support entrants as they prepare submissions. To learn more, adult education providers can join a virtual information session on Oct. 15, 2020.

Safely Keeping Schools Open

On Sept. 4, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary DeVos led a discussion with college presidents and state and local leaders on the critical principles contained in the recently released “Recommendations for College Students.” These principles are intended to keep schools open, while also mitigating community spread of COVID-19. The Vice President highlighted a number of states and institutions that have taken innovative and collaborative approaches to return students to campuses. For example, Colorado State University is using surveillance testing to monitor the potential spread of the virus, and the University of Notre Dame quickly and efficiently dealt with a campus outbreak. The Vice President also emphasized the importance of keeping schools open and students on or near campus to minimize exposure to high-risk individuals and praised the efforts of essential workers who made school reopening possible.

Next, on Sept. 14, Secretary DeVos visited Sacred Heart Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan, meeting with students and teachers to learn how the school has been able to reopen safely and stay open. Schools across the Catholic Diocese are offering full-day, in-person learning five days a week. They are following safety guidelines set by the corresponding health agency: families are required to conduct screening surveys and temperature checks each morning before students go to school, and students and staff are required to wear masks in the building throughout the day.

Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released indicators to help schools make dynamic decisions about in-person learning as local conditions evolve throughout the pandemic. When coupled with local data about community spread, these indicators are an important tool to help local health officials, school administrators, and communities prepare, plan, and respond to COVID-19. These indicators are the latest resource CDC has provided for schools during the pandemic, supplementing previously released guidance.

Secretary DeVos Delivers on Promise to Protect Free Inquiry and Religious Liberty

Secretary DeVos announced the Religious Liberty and Free Inquiry Final Rule in response to Executive Order 13864, “Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities.” The final rule was created after reviewing more than 17,000 public comments and ensures that public institutions of higher education uphold fundamental rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and that private institutions of higher education adhere to their own policies on freedom of speech, including academic freedom. The final rule also ensures the equal treatment and constitutional rights of religious student organizations at public institutions and provides clarity for faith-based institutions with respect to Title IX. The final rule will be effective 60 days after the date of official publication in the Federal Register.

Updated COVID-19 Resources


The White House, the Department, and other federal agencies continue to release guidance to support schools, educators, and families regarding COVID-19. Many of the latest documents are listed below. Please visit the Department’s COVID-19 information and resources webpage for the most current information, and any questions for the Department may be directed to

New Web Tool to Help Families and Educators Easily Access School Spending Data

The Department launched a new tool that increases transparency on per pupil expenditures (PPE) in schools. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to report how much federal, state, and local taxpayer money school districts spent on students. Unfortunately, each state provides the information in different ways. Now, through the new website, state data will be aggregated and made easily accessible and searchable. The tool displays the breakdown of federal, state, and local funds that make up the PPE for each school and district, starting with the 2018-19 school year. The tool features an interactive map, individual state pages, and a downloadable Excel file. Users can search for individual districts and schools and sort, filter, and compare information between schools and districts within each state. The site is also accessible on mobile devices.

Request for Information on Federal STEM Education Strategic Plan

On behalf of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM), and in coordination with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Science Foundation (NSF) requests input on the implementation of the federal STEM education strategic plan released in December 2018, Charting a Course For Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education. The NSF is seeking public input on STEM education digital resources, strategic partnerships, computational literacy, transdisciplinary learning, and more. Any questions regarding the RFI should be emailed to Cindy Hasselbring, Assistant Director of STEM education at OSTP, at The STEM Request for Information comment period will close at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 19, 2020.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated yearly from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. 

President Trump released a proclamation on National Hispanic Heritage Month recognizing how Hispanics “embody the best of our American values, including commitment to faith, family, and country.”

To commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Secretary DeVos celebrated the contributions of the Hispanic community and shared the importance of school choice for Hispanic families.

118 Hispanic-Serving Institutions Awarded Department Grants

The Department awarded over $69 million to 118 Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSIs) through the Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions grant program. This program assists HSIs to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the attainment of, Hispanic students. Congratulations to all the HSIs recipients.

A Letter to America’s Parents

In an Aug. 31 letter to parents, Secretary DeVos expressed how important it is that every student have access to full-time learning this fall in the ways and places that work best for their family –  online, in-person, or utilizing a hybrid approach.

“At the end of the day, we want everyone to have the choices to make the best decision for them. Some may choose to learn at home. Some may choose to return to their school. Some may choose to do a combination of both. Each of you needs to be able to choose what’s best for your own families because you know your children and their circumstance better than anyone. Your child. Your school. Your way. … President Donald Trump and I are fighting every day for more options for every student and every family this fall.”

2020 Blue Ribbon Schools Announced

On Sept. 24, Secretary DeVos recognized 367 schools as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Learn more about each 2020 Blue Ribbon School awardee.

Discover Apprenticeship

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of registered apprenticeships and increase participation by business leaders and job seekers nationwide.

The Discover Apprenticeship campaign seeks to help connect job seekers and job creators through expanded apprenticeships and show them how apprenticeships can help workers achieve the American Dream, regardless of whether they are starting or changing their careers. The campaign will also support the Department of Labor’s efforts to attract individuals who are underrepresented in apprenticeships historically.

2021 Presidential Management Fellows Program

Are you a rising leader interested in confronting the nation’s most pressing challenges through public service? Apply for the 2021 Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. PMF is the Federal government’s flagship leadership development program for advanced degree candidates. The two-year fellowship offers full salary, benefits, and leadership training to develop a cadre of future government leaders. All academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Don’t miss your shot to become a PMF!

The PMF Class of 2021 Application period is now open and closes at 12 noon Eastern on October 14, 2020. Visit for more information.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Summer Internship Opportunities

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is seeking student applicants for their 2021 Summer Paid Internship Program. This is an opportunity for STEM students to get an introduction to the NRC and receive valuable federal government experience. The deadline is Oct. 19, 2020.