Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – June 29, 2015

A quick look at the news from last week, compiled by Penn Hill Group:

HOUSE

The House is in recess this week.

SENATE

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the full Senate will plan to begin debate on the Every Child Achieves Act, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), on July 7. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a joint statement in support of debate of this bill by the full Senate.

The Senate is in recess this week.

BUDGET

The House Appropriations Committee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies approved its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill by a party-line vote of 30­–21. The bill would: reduce funding for education programs by $2.8 billion compared to FY2015; eliminate funding for a number of education programs; provide increases for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) State Grants and charter schools; and reduce the amount of funding available for Pell Grants. The bill also includes a number of prohibitions on the U.S. Department of Education (ED)’s implementation of higher education regulations and initiatives, including gainful employment, state authorization and teacher preparation regulations and the Administration’s college ratings system.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies approved its FY2016 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill by a party-line vote of 16–14. The bill would: reduce funding for education programs by $1.7 billion compared to FY2015; eliminate and reduce funding for a number of education programs; and provide increases for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) State Grants, Title I, charter schools and Head Start. The bill also includes a number of prohibitions on ED’s implementation of higher education regulations and initiatives, including gainful employment, state authorization and teacher preparation regulations and the Administration’s college ratings system.

ADMINISTRATION

ED announced it will no longer be releasing a college ratings system, and will instead release college “ratings tools” later this summer. These tools would be designed to allow students and others to come to their own conclusions on the benefits of one college or university over another.

ED appointed Joseph Smith, Jr. as Special Master to advise on loan discharges for former Corinthian Colleges students and others who are seeking similar relief.

ED approved state waiver renewals under ESEA for Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New York, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. New York received a four-year renewal while all others received three-year renewals.

A federal court ruled in favor of ED in the case APSCU v. Arne Duncan. This ruling upholds ED’s gainful employment regulations.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – June 22, 2015

A quick look at the news from last week, compiled by Penn Hill Group:

HOUSE

The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education will hold a subcommittee hearing on June 24 on the cost of compliance under Child Nutrition programs. Melody Schopp, Secretary of Education, South Dakota Department of Education; John Payne, President, Blackford County School Board of Trustees; Donna Martin, Director, School Nutrition Program, Burke County Public School; and Lynn Harvey, Chief, School Nutrition Services, Safe and Healthy Schools Support Division, North Carolina Department of Instruction will testify.

BUDGET

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies approved its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill by a party-line vote. The bill would: reduce funding for education programs by $2.8 billion compared to FY2015; eliminate funding for a number of education programs; provide increases for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) State Grants, Title I and charter schools; and reduce the amount of funding available for Pell Grants. The bill also includes a number of prohibitions on the U.S. Department of Education’s implementation of higher education regulations and initiatives, including gainful employment, state authorization and teacher preparation regulations and the Administration’s college ratings system. The full Appropriations Committee will hold a markup of this legislation on June 24.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies will hold a markup on June 23 on its FY2016 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a notice of proposed rulemaking related to Head Start programs, including requiring all Early Head Start programs to serve preschoolers for a full day and a full school year.

The Washington Post reported Rohit Chopra, student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), has resigned. His last day at the CFPB will be this week.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a proposal to allow low-income families to access broadband services under the Lifeline Program, which has historically only provided voice services to low-income families. The FCC also adopted a proposal further strengthening existing rules that restrict service providers from contacting consumers via telephone, including baring the use of predictive dialing devices.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – June 15, 2015

A quick look at the news from last week, compiled by Penn Hill Group: 

HOUSE

Education Week reported the House may resume consideration of the Student Success Act, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as early as this week.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a committee hearing on June 16 on federal rules and regulations for child nutrition programs. U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will testify.

SENATE

Education Week reported the Senate may consider the Every Child Achieves Act, which reauthorizes ESEA, as early as the week of June 22.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a committee hearing on June 17 on accreditation as part of its series of hearings on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. Peter Ewell, Vice President, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems; George Pruitt, President, Thomas Edison State College; Albert Gray, President and CEO, Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools; and Ann Neal, President, American Council of Trustees and Alumina will testify.

BUDGET

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill. This bill would fund the National Science Foundation at $7.34 billion, the same funding it received for FY2015.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related Agencies will hold a markup on June 17 of the FY2016 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced its debt relief process for Corinthian Colleges’ students whose schools have closed down, or who believe they were victims of fraud, regardless of whether their school closed.

The Administration has withdrawn Ericka Miller’s nomination to be ED’s Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. Miller has been serving as a senior advisor at ED since November, 2013.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – June 8, 2015

A quick look at the news from last week, compiled by Penn Hill Group: 

SENATE

The Senate confirmed Michael Yudin as Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Prior to his confirmation, Yudin had been in an acting role in the position for which he was confirmed, as well as playing a role in the Department’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization efforts.

BUDGET

The House passed the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act by a vote of 242­–183. This bill would fund the National Science Foundation at $7.4 billion for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, an increase of $50 million over FY2015 and approximately $330 million below the President’s request.

ADMINISTRATION

ED released a report to Congress on highly qualified teachers enrolled in alternative certification programs. The report found that while just 1.5 percent of all teachers are both categorized as highly qualified and enrolled in an alternative certification program, these teachers were more likely to be teaching in low-income and urban areas during the 2013–14 school year.

ED and the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that the Miccosukee Indian School will receive flexibility from ESEA to use a different definition of Adequate Yearly Progress. The school is operated by the Bureau of Indian Education and this waiver is the first of its kind to such a school.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – June 1, 2015

A quick look at the news from last week, compiled by Penn Hill Group: 

HOUSE

The House was in recess last week.

SENATE

The Senate was in recess last week.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a committee hearing on June 3 on college affordability, as part of its series of hearings on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. Witnesses include: Judith Scott Clayton, Assistant Professor of Economics and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; Elizabeth Akers, Fellow, Brown Center on Education Policy, The Brookings Institution; Michael Mitchell, Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; F. King Alexander, President and Chancellor, Louisiana State University; and James Kennedy, Associate VP for University Student Services and Systems, Indiana University.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) released reviews of four loan servicers, Navient, Great Lakes, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and Nelnet. ED found that in the vast majority of cases related to loan interest rates for active-duty servicemembers, the servicers complied with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) circulated proposals to expand the FCC’s Lifeline program, including providing internet service to low-income individuals. Presently the program pays for low-income individuals’ phone service.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – May 26, 2015

A quick look at the news from last week, compiled by Penn Hill Group: 

HOUSE

The House passed the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 by a vote of 217 to 205. This bill reauthorizes the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related agencies.

SENATE

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) announced four Higher Education Act reauthorization working groups on accountability, accreditation, college affordability and financial aid and campus sexual assault and safety.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed the STEM Education Act of 2015 by a voice vote. This bill, passed by the House in February, 2015 by a vote of 412 to 8, would add computer science to the definition of STEM and supports existing STEM education programs at NSF.

BUDGET

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved their 302b allocations (individual subcommittee allocations). The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee received an allocation of $153.2 billion for its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 appropriations bill. This amount is nearly identical to the House 302b for their subcommittee and is $3.6 billion less than the FY2015 level.

ADMINISTRATION

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a First Look for Public School Safety and Discipline: 2013–14, providing data on safety and discipline plans as well as practices and frequencies of specific discipline issues.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) reported that according to new NCES data, the reported prevalence of bullying among students ages 12 to 18 dropped to 22 percent in 2013, after remaining at approximately 28 percent for a decade.

Inside Higher Ed reported the Administration may be considering an experimental sites initiative allowing incarcerated individuals to access Pell Grants.

ED updated its regulatory agenda for pending rules, officially shifting the anticipated timeline for a final teacher preparation rule from mid-2015 to October, 2015.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – May 18, 2015

A quick look at the news from last week, compiled by Penn Hill Group: 

HOUSE

The House is scheduled to consider the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 this week, which reauthorizes the U.S. National Science Foundation and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related agencies.

The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education will hold a subcommittee hearing on May 19 on waste, fraud and abuse in federal child nutrition programs. Witnesses for this hearing have not yet been announced.

SENATE

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a committee hearing on May 20 on institutional risk-sharing as it relates to reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) will testify during Panel I and Andrew Kelley, Director of the Center for Higher Education Reform at the American Enterprise Institute; Robert Silberman, Executive Chairman of Strayer Education, Inc.; Jennifer Wang, Policy Director of Young Invincibles; and Dr. Douglas Webber, Assistant Professor at Temple University will testify during Panel II.

ADMINISTRATION

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) hosted a public field hearing on student debt on May 14. U.S. Department of Education (ED) Under Secretary Ted Mitchell, CFPB Director Richard Cordray, various consumer groups, industry representatives and members of the public all spoke. CFPB is calling for comments on student loan servicing to improve borrower service, reduce defaults, develop best practices, assess consumer protections and spur innovation by July 13, 2015.

ED released a notice of proposed rulemaking, as a part of a “Program Integrity and Improvement” package, on financial aid access fees to ensure students have convenient access to federal financial aid and aren’t charged unreasonable fees or led to believe they are required to open a specific bank account to access their aid.

Julius Lloyd Horwich has been nominated as Assistant Secretary for Legislation and Congressional Affairs at ED. Horwich is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Congressional Affairs at ED.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – May 11, 2015

A quick look at the news from last week, compiled by Penn Hill Group:

HOUSE

The House is scheduled to consider the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 this week, which reauthorizes the U.S. National Science Foundation and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related agencies.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a committee hearing on May 14 on the federal government’s mismanagement of Native American schools. Witnesses for this hearing have yet to be announced.

The House was in recess last week.

BUDGET

The House and Senate passed a budget resolution conference report. The House passed the conference report by a vote of 226 to 197 on April 30 and the Senate passed the conference report by a vote of 51 to 48 on May 5. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) said he next plans for the Committee to write 12 appropriations bills that reflect the passed conference report. The conference report does not adjust Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 spending caps for defense or non-defense spending, but does include reconciliation instructions for both the House Education and the Workforce Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to produce legislation savings of $1 billion over the 2016–25 period.

Shaun Donovan, Director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, issued a memorandum to all heads of departments and agencies calling for agencies to submit their FY2017 budget requests with a five percent reduction below their agency’s net discretionary total, compared to the FY2016 budget. The memorandum also instructs agencies to identify additional investments that further agency missions and have “strong evidence of effectiveness.”

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education awarded more than $24.8 million to 67 school districts to establish or expand counseling programs.

The National Center for Education Statistics released the Digest of Education Statistics, 2013, which provides statistical information related to Pre-K through graduate school education on topics including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, graduates, attainment and finances.

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Job Opportunity: Penn Hill Group Seeks Director of Operations

Penn Hill Group Overview
Penn Hill Group is a bipartisan government relations firm located in Washington, DC. With decades of Congressional, Administration and private sector experience, the members of Penn Hill Group provide clients with cutting-edge advocacy, policy development and analysis, communications, research, and strategic consulting support. Penn Hill Group specializes in education and workforce issues, including early childhood education, K-12 education, special education, career and technical education, higher education and other critical issues ranging from juvenile justice to library and museum policy.

Position Overview
The Director of Operations will manage daily operations of the office. This includes, but is not limited to: scheduling and logistical support; contract and invoice management; facilities and technology support; continuous improvement of office systems; and event planning. The Director of Operations will work closely with all members of our team, as well as clients, and must have exemplary interpersonal communication skills and an ability to manage multiple projects within tight deadlines. The ideal candidate is personable, organized, task-oriented, and is able to execute well in a fast-paced environment.

Responsibilities

  • Support staff and principals across the firm with timely assistance and correspondence
  • Coordinate schedules, appointments and bookings, including all aspects of travel, event and meeting planning and logistics support
  • Maintain systems and processes, including contract management and vendor procurement
  • Support finance and accounting processes; prepare invoices and reimbursements; track bills and budgets
  • Design, implement and oversee adherence to office policies and procedures
  • Manage and coordinate IT vendor and support
  • Analyze and monitor internal processes
  • Implement procedural changes to improve operational efficiency
  • Ensure filing systems are maintained and current
  • Organize orientation and training of new staff members
  • Monitor and maintain office supplies
  • Maintain a safe and secure working environment
  • Recruit, select and train interns

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience working as an office manager or similar position
  • Exceptional organizational, communications, analytic and interpersonal skills
  • Strong judgment, decision-making and problem solving skills
  • Willingness to take initiative and adapt in a fast-paced office
  • Keen attention to detail and high level of accuracy
  • Strong writing and copy editing skills
  • Skilled at Microsoft Office programs; other programs a plus

This is a full-time position with competitive benefits and is available immediately.

To Apply: Please combine a cover letter, resume and writing sample into a single .pdf and email to jobs@pennhillgroup.com. Please include your last name and “Operations” in the title of the attachment. No phone calls please.

Application deadline is 5 pm ET on Friday, May 15.

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Penn Hill Group Speaks at IEL’s Washington Policy Seminar

Penn Hill Group Vice Presidents Kara Marchione and Rich Stombres spoke at the Washington Policy Seminar, a capstone event of the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP), hosted by the Institue for Educational Leadership (IEL) on April 19. Kara and Rich discussed the current education policy landscape and the overarching federal-state relationship in this context.

The seminar specifically focused on where the federal-state relationship is headed, especially given that it has been 50 years since the initial passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Kara and Rich used their Democratic and Republican expertise to give a holistic analysis of the federal-state relationship in education.

 

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