Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – August 31, 2015

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

HOUSE and SENATE

The House and Senate are in recess and will return on Tuesday, September 8.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved one-year state waiver renewals under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for Florida, Idaho, Ohio and South Dakota. South Dakota’s waiver was put on “high-risk” status due to concerns with its guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems.

On August 28, Federal Student Aid (FSA) released recommendations on best practices in performance-based contracting. The recommendations come from an inter-agency task force that consists of ED, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – August 24, 2015

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

HOUSE and SENATE

The House and Senate are in recess and will return on Tuesday, September 8.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced in September it will begin a negotiated rulemaking process to clarify how direct loan borrowers who believe they were defrauded by an institution can seek discharge of the student loans they took out to attend that institution.

ED released a Dear Colleague letter to provide guidance on protecting student medical records as they relate to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

ED published a final rule to repeal the “2 percent assessment” regulation, which allows some students with disabilities to take alternative assessments based on modified academic achievement standards.

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) announced its 2015 HBCU All-Stars, 83 undergraduate, graduate and professional students with accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement.

ED reported that per the Federal Student Aid Data Center, there has been a 56 percent increase in borrowers who have enrolled in Income-Driven Repayment plans as of June 30. Nearly 3.9 million borrowers have enrolled.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – August 17, 2015

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

HOUSE and SENATE

The House and Senate are in recess and will return on Tuesday, September 8.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved three-year state waiver renewals under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for Maine and Michigan.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the comment deadline for their notice of proposed rulemaking on “Head Start Performance Standards” to September 17, 2015.

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Penn Hill Group Team Participates in NCLR’s Annual Conference

Danica (front row, far right) and Rich (back row, thrid from left) with NILSL fellows.

Earlier this summer, Penn Hill Group Principal, Danica Petroshius, Vice President, Rich Stombres and Senior Associate, Ruth López, participated in National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR’s) Annual Conference. At the conference, the largest gathering of its kind in the Hispanic community, Penn Hill Group provided insight into federal education issues affecting the Latino community to attendees representing early learning educators and K-12 school leaders.

Ruth served on a panel with Veronica Garcia, former New Mexico Secretary of Education, and discussed the National Institute for Latino Leaders in Early Childhood Education (NILLECE), while Danica moderated a panel that included Rich, Alejandra Ceja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and Gini Pupo-Walker, Executive Director of Family & Community Partnerships at Metro Nashville Public Schools. They provided feedback to the National Institute for Latino School Leaders Initiative (NILSL) Fellows on various policy recommendations the fellows developed. NILSL is a program designed to bridge the gap between practice and policy by providing school leaders with the tools they need to advocate for policies and reform efforts that lead to improved educational outcomes for Latino and ELL students. It is the only institute that trains school administrators to advocate for national- and state-level policies that strengthen the education of Latino students and ELLs while educating decision-makers.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – August 10, 2015

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

HOUSE

The House is in recess and will return on Tuesday, September 8.

SENATE

The Senate is in recess and will return on Tuesday, September 8.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s executive session scheduled for Thursday, August 6, has been postponed. The committee planned to consider several bills and nominations, including the nomination of Dr. Kathryn Matthew to Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved state waiver renewals under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Mississippi and Wisconsin. Alabama, Connecticut, Mississippi and Wisconsin each received a three-year renewal, and Arizona, Arkansas and New Hampshire each received a one-year renewal.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – August 3, 2015

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

HOUSE

The House is in recess and will return on September 8.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) met to discuss forming a conference committee to reconcile the two chambers’ bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). They also agreed to recommend Rep. Kline as the conference committee chair.

SENATE

As a part of a series of hearings related to reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a committee hearing on Wednesday, August 5, on improving student success. Stan Jones, President, Complete College America; R. Scott Ralls, President, North Carolina Community College System; Timothy Renick, Ph.D., Vice Provost And Vice President For Enrollment Management And Student Success, Georgia State University; and Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, Ph.D, President, Young Adults and Postsecondary Education, MDRC will testify

The Senate HELP Committee will also hold an executive session on Thursday, August 6, where they will consider several bills and nominations, including the nomination of Dr. Kathryn Matthew to serve as Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education announced a “Second Chance Pell Pilot program,” which would establish experimental sites that allow incarcerated individuals to receive Pell Grants for their postsecondary education. Rep. Kline and Sen. Alexander both expressed concerns over this approach.

Inside Higher Ed reported the White House hosted a summit on short-term training programs. The Administration is considering an experimental sites project related to these programs.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – July 27, 2015

HOUSE

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a committee hearing on Tuesday, July 28, on policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell will testify.

SENATE

As a part of a series of hearings related to reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold a committee hearing on Wednesday, July 29, on combating campus sexual assault. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) will testify on the first panel. Janet Napolitano, President, University of California; Dana Bolger, Co-Founder, Know Your IX; Dolores Stafford, Executive Director, National Association of Clery Compliance Officers; and Mollie Benz Flounlacker, Associate VP for Federal Relations, Association of American Universities, will testify on the second panel.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved state waiver renewals under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for Tennessee, Alaska, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon and Utah. Tennessee received a four-year renewal, Utah received a one-year renewal and all others received three-year renewals.

ED and the U.S. Department of Justice hosted a conference for superintendents, principals and teachers on rethinking school discipline. ED also released maps based on data from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), illustrating out-of-school suspension rates across the country.

As a part of her Reach Higher initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a 2015 Beating the Odds Summit for at-risk college-bound students, to support them in their transition to college and provide them with necessary resources.

ED, America Achieves, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) released a parent checklist with questions and resources for parents to use to advocate for their child’s education.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered Discover Bank and its affiliates to pay $18.5 million for illegal private student loan servicing practices. CFPB also filed a complaint against Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. for alleged illegal sales and billing practices when assisting students in completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They have proposed the company pay a $5.2 million fine.

The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) submitted its 2015 Accreditation Policy Recommendations to ED Secretary Arne Duncan. These recommendations include giving NACIQI final decision-making authority on recognition of accrediting agencies.

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Penn Hill Group Principal Discusses Data Privacy

On Friday, June 12, Penn Hill Group Principal Danica Petroshius participated in panel at the Digital Media and Learning Conference in Los Angeles, California, under the conference theme of “Equity by Design.” Other participants included Cathy Casserly, a Fellow at the Aspen Institute Communications & Society Program; Steve Bowen, the Director of Innovation at Council of Chief State School Officers; Jennie Magiera, the Digital-Learning Coordinator at Academy for Urban School Leadership; and Arthi Krishnaswami, the Founder and CEO of Ryecatcher.

Panelists discussed how student data privacy policies at all levels can help or hinder progress toward the goals of creating opportunities for youth to learn anytime, anyplace and at any pace, using resources in- and out-of-school as well as online. They discussed how privacy policies can affect the creation of “trusted learning environments,” which exist when youth and their learning support networks have confidence in using technology to engage in learning, especially when it involves students’ data. Audience members asked questions and gained insight about how they can become advocates for policies that support (rather than impede) the creation of and equitable access to trusted learning environments.

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Meet Penn Hill Group’s Intern: Madison Smith

Meet Madison Smith, a rising senior at Washington and Lee University, who has joined Penn Hill Group as an intern this summer. With an interest in poverty studies, Madison is an economics major and education policy minor.

Madison Smith

Madison Smith

See our interview with Madison below to learn more about her and what she brings to our office. Welcome, Madison!


What drew you to DC?

I’m excited to be in DC because there are so many changes happening with education at the federal level. I wanted to be in DC to be where the action is.

What do you hope to do or learn during this internship?

During this internship, I hope to learn more about how policy in the education system is changing. I’m specifically interesting in learning more about renewing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and college affordability.

What are some of your hobbies?

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my friends and family and traveling. I also play club volleyball.

How will this internship fit in with your future goals?

In the future, I aspire to work on the Hill and this internship is giving me insight into the policy world. It is also helping me figure out what specific education policies I care about and am interested in.

What interests you most about education?

I see education as a very important platform for all kids, no matter their background, to learn the skills and gain the knowledge they need to be successful. I am also interested in how teaching soft skills is continuing to become a part of our education system.

What did you do last summer?

I spent last summer also working on education issues, but in Vietnam. I worked with teachers and principals, learned more about their education system and what local universities over there are doing to try and fill in different educational gaps.

 

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – July 6, 2015

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

HOUSE

The House Committee on Rules will meet for a second time to consider H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), on Tuesday, July 7 at 5:00 p.m. Education Week reported this could lead to House floor consideration and a vote on this legislation as early as Wednesday, July 8.

The House was in recess last week, they will return Tuesday, July 7.

SENATE

The Senate will begin consideration of S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act, which reauthorizes ESEA, on Tuesday, July 7.

The Senate was in recess last week, they will return Tuesday, July 7.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education released “A Set of Family Rights,” outlining the Administration’s view on what families should expect for their child’s education.

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