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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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – May 4, 2015

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

HOUSE

The House is in recess this week.

SENATE

The Senate Finance Committee unanimously passed S. 335, a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve the 529 college savings plans. The House passed an identical bill in February by a vote of 401 to 20. The Senate bill now awaits full floor consideration.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a committee hearing on May 6 on consumer information’s role in college choice as it relates to reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. Witnesses for this hearing: Mark Schneider, College Measures President and Vice President and Institute Fellow at American Institutes for Research; Deborah Santiago, Excelencia in Education Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Policy; Stacy Lightfoot, Vice President of College and Career Success Initiatives at the Public Education Foundation in Tennessee; and Taleah Mitchell, a graduate of Seattle Central College.

BUDGET

The House and Senate released a joint budget resolution conference report on Wednesday, April 29. The House voted on the conference report last Thursday, it passed by a vote of 226 to 197. The Senate is expected to vote on the joint budget this week. The conference report does not adjust Fiscal Year 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 HELP Committee to produce legislation saving $1 billion over the 2016–25 period.

ADMINISTRATION

President Obama announced $250 million in free eBooks available to low-income students and the ConnectED Library Challenge for communities to commit to providing all students with library cards.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced eight additional Promise Zones in Minneapolis, Sacramento, Indianapolis, Camden, Hartford, St. Louis, Pine Ridge and South Carolina Low Country. The Promise Zones initiative seeks to increase private investments to create jobs, improve educational opportunities, reduce violent crime and increase economic activity in these areas.

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

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

HOUSE

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies will hold a subcommittee hearing on April 29 to receive testimony from public and outside witnesses on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 appropriations under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction. The deadline to have submitted a request to testify was March 31.

The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training will hold a subcommittee hearing on April 30 on college access and completion for low-income and first-generation students. Witnesses for this hearing have not yet been announced.

BUDGET

Politico reported House and Senate Republicans have reached a tentative agreement on a budget resolution for FY2016.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the winners of $12 million in Job ChalleNGe grants to fund job training, work experience and a second chance for teenagers with juvenile court records.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – April 20, 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 April 22 on challenges facing Native American schools. Witnesses for this hearing have not yet been announced.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will hold a markup on April 22 on the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act, which reauthorizes the U.S. National Science Foundation and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related agencies.

SENATE

The Senate passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 by a vote of 92 to 8. This bill provides an additional $800 million in mandatory funding for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program and restored funding for the lapsed Secure Rural Schools program. The bill was then signed by the President.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) unanimously passed the Every Child Achieves Act, legislation that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), by a vote of 22 to 0. With 29 amendments approved, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he looks forward to the bill being taken up by the full Senate, with opportunity for further amendment, discussion and debate before the Memorial Day recess. Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) called for continued bipartisan compromise on key issues as the bill progresses.

BUDGET

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) and House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) announced that conferees for the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Conference will meet on April 20.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) fined Corinthian Colleges Inc. $29.6 million for 947 cases of misrepresentation of job placement rates for current and prospective students in Corinthian’s Heald College system.

Inside Higher Ed reported ED approved two more direct-assessment programs, programs that are not based on credit hours. The approval of Walden University’s Tempo Learning program and the Texas State College System’s industrial systems technology program brings the total number of institutions with approval from both ED and regional accreditors for direct-assessment programs to six.

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Penn Hill Group Team Members Compete in Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Jeopardy

On April 10, Penn Hill Group’s Principals Danica Petroshius and Alex Nock and Vice President Rich Stombres participated in an ESEA Jeopardy game hosted by the Education Task Force of Women in Government Relations (WGR). This ESEA Jeopardy was in honor of the 50th anniversary of the bill’s passage and upcoming ESEA markup in the Senate (happening now). Contestants’ knowledge of both the bill and the six reauthorizations of ESEA since its passage were tested.

As a former democratic deputy staff director of the Senate HELP Committee, Danica served as the democratic representative for the Senate team. Alex, a former democratic deputy staff director for the House Ed and Workforce Committee, and Rich, a former deputy director of education for the House Ed and Workforce Committee, served as the democratic and republican representatives for the House team, respectively. While the House team won, all contestants were “schooled” in ESEA trivia, using audience lifelines to help out.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – April 13, 2015

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

HOUSE

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies will hold a subcommittee budget hearing on April 14 on early education. Director of the Edward Zigler Center at the Yale School of Medicine Walker Gilliam, President of the Ounce of Prevention Fund Diana Rauner and Executive Director of Smart Start Oklahoma Debra Andersen will testify.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a committee hearing on April 15 on “Serving Students and Families through Child Nutrition Programs.” Witnesses for this hearing have not yet been announced.

The House was in recess last week but is in session this week.

SENATE

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released the Every Child Achieves Act, a legislative agreement that would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The HELP Committee will hold an executive session on April 14 to discuss ESEA, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Technical Amendments Act, and nominations for Ericka Miller, Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education (ED) and Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, ED.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human services, Educations and Related Agencies will hold a subcommittee hearing on April 16 on the Fiscal Year 2016 budget request for ED. Secretary Arne Duncan will testify.

The Senate was in recess last week but is in session this week.

ADMINISTRATION

ED released the Ed Tech Developer’s Guide: A primer for Developers, Startups and Entrepreneurs, a free guide to help entrepreneurs apply technology to solve challenges in education.

ED released a Dear Colleague Letter, “Loan Counseling Requirements and Flexibilities,” providing new guidance on steps higher education institutions can take to help students avoid excessive loan amounts.

Secretary Duncan released a statement calling the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act a good step forward towards ESEA reauthorization, with further to go.

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

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

HOUSE and SENATE

The House and Senate were both in recess last week and are also in recess this week.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) approved four-year renewals of state waivers under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia. Education Week also reported Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Texas and Louisiana will ask for extensions to apply for renewal of their ESEA waivers.

ED released a list of 544 colleges whose federal financial aid is being delayed under heightened cash monitoring, as of March 1, 2015. Inside Higher Ed reported ED also released the names of 20 additional institutions subject to heightened cash monitoring, who have been placed on a more strict level of monitoring.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – March 30, 2015

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

HOUSE

The Washington Post reported Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said he hopes a full House vote on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Student Success Act, will occur in April, after the House returns from recess.

The House passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 by a vote of 392 to 37, including an additional $800 million for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program and restored funding for the lapsed Secure Rural Schools program. The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate.

The House is in recess until April 13.

SENATE

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) released three staff white papers related to reauthorization of the Higher Education Act on accreditation, risk-sharing and data collection of consumer information. He has requested interested parties submit comments on these papers by 5:00 pm on April 24, 2015.

The Senate Democratic caucus wrote a letter to Senator Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) urging them to include investment and support for quality early childhood learning programs in reauthorization of ESEA. Education Week reported Senator Alexander said he would prefer to address early childhood education separately.

The Senate is in recess until April 13.

BUDGET

The full House passed the House Fiscal Year 2016 Budget by a vote of 228 to 199. The full Senate also passed their Budget Resolution by a vote of 52 to 46. Both resolutions include reconciliation instructions to their respective education committees to produce legislation savings of $1 billion over ten years and requirements to produce “fair-value accounting” estimates when the Congressional Budget Office scores student loan-related legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he looked forward to House and Senate leaders reconciling the differing versions. 

ADMINISTRATION

President Obama announced over $240 million in new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) private-sector commitments and a $25 million grant competition through the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to support the creation of science and literacy-themed media, specifically targeted towards young, low-income children.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a $27 million adult reentry grant program called Training to Work. These grants will fund career pathway models that link and coordinate education and training services for soon-to-be-released inmates to obtain industry-recognized credentials.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – March 23, 2015

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

BUDGET

The House Budget Committee passed the FY2016 Budget Resolution. Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) made a statement highlighting the passage and said he plans to bring the budget to the Floor for full House consideration next week.  Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) released a statement in opposition to the Committee approved Resolution.

The Senate Budget Committee passed the Senate Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2016. Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) released a statement highlighting this as an important first step and stating he looks forward to this resolution being considered by the full Senate next week. Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-VT) issued a press release in response to the Committee passed resolution.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) released a proposed priority for the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3) that implements language in the conference report accompanying the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill on high school reform and redesign.

ED announced six grant awards through the Charter Schools Program’s National Leadership Activities Program. The Department stated these grants, totaling $4.1 million, will strengthen charter schools and charter school authorizers while improving these schools’ capacity to serve English learners and students with disabilities.

ED’s National Center for Education Statistics released new data that indicates the graduation rates for black and Hispanic students increased by nearly four percentage points from 2011 to 2013, decreasing the gap in graduation rates between minority and white students.

Politico Pro reported that while on a panel at the National Lieutenant Governors Association’s 2015 federal-state relations meeting, Deputy Under Secretary of Education Jamienne Studley said the first full version of the federal college ratings system will be released by August 2015.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up – March 16, 2015

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

HOUSE

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies will hold a subcommittee hearing on March 17 on the budget for the Department of Labor. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez will testify.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies will hold a subcommittee hearing on March 17 on the budget for the National Science Foundation. National Science Foundation Director France Cordova will testify.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies will hold a subcommittee oversight hearing on March 18 on the achievement gap in higher education. Gail Mellow, President of La Guardia Community College;  Aaron Thompson, Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education; Benjamin L. Castleman, Assistant Professor of Education and Public Policy at the University of Virginia; Carol L. Fischer, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Iowa; and Brian K. Fitzgerald, Ed.D., Chief Executive Officer of the Business-Higher Education Forum will testify.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity will hold a subcommittee hearing on March 17 on higher education opportunities for veterans. Witnesses for this hearing have not yet been announced.

The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training will hold a subcommittee hearing on March 17 on strengthening the higher education system. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., President of Purdue University; Dr. Christine M. Keller, Vice President of Research and Policy Analysis and Executive Director for the Voluntary System of Accountability and Student Achievement Measure at the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities; David A. Bergeron, Vice President of Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress; and Michael J. Bennett, Associate Vice President of Financial Aid Services at St. Petersburg College will testify.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a committee hearing on March 18 on the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Proposal for the Department of Labor. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez will testify.

The House was in recess last week.

SENATE

Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a statement on March 9 on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. They stated they have made significant progress in their negotiations and aim to consider markup of legislation during the week of April 13.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will hold a committee hearing on March 18 on oversight of the Federal Communications Commission. Federal Communications Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Michael O’Rielly, Ajit Pai, Jessica Rosenworcel and Tom Wheeler will testify.

ADMINISTRATION

President Obama launched a TechHire Initiative that will provide $100 million in competitive grants to joint initiatives by employers, training institutions and local governments that train and hire low-skilled workers for jobs in the technology field.

President Obama announced a Student Aid Bill of Rights with a Presidential Memorandum that is aimed at providing additional protections for borrowers with Federal student loans. President Obama also directed the US Department of Education (ED) to create a new online feedback system for borrowers to file loan-related complaints. The Administration also released state-by-state data on the number of federal student borrowers and the amount of outstanding loan balances.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the nationwide expansion of the Team Up for School Nutrition Success Initiative. This will provide school nutrition personnel nationally with technical assistance and peer-to-peer mentoring.

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