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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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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