Penn Hill Group’s Vic Klatt Quoted in Education Week Article on Education Policy Implications of Senate Control Post-Election

Penn Hill Group Principal Vic Klatt was quoted in an August 27 Education Week article, “Policy Stakes High as Parties Vie for Senate Control,” specifically on the likelihood of passage of a charter school bill in the new Congress:

“The charter bills’ fortunes could improve no matter what the political landscape looks like, because the issue has bipartisan support, said Vic Klatt, a former aide to Republicans on the House education committee.

‘The issue there is more a process one of whether the Senate will ever want to pass a targeted bill like that,’ separating charter legislation from the rest of the ESEA, said Mr. Klatt, who is now a principal at Penn Hill Group, a government-relations firm in Washington.”

Klatt was also asked about the future for education policy in the Senate with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) as the likely leaders of the Senate education committee:

“’Between the two of them, for the first time in a long time, I think there’s some reason for optimism,’ Mr. Klatt said.”

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: September 8

A quick look at the news from last week:

HOUSE and SENATE

The House and Senate were in recess until September 8.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a joint subcommittee hearing titled, “Improving Department of Education Policies and Programs through Independent Oversight,” on Wednesday, September 10.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education announced that it will establish a negotiated rulemaking committee for proposed regulations governing the federal Direct Loan program, in order to allow more student borrowers to use the “Pay as You Earn” repayment plan. The committee is expected to convene in February, 2015. The Department is currently accepting written comments with suggestions on additional issues that should be considered by the committee. Comments are due on November 4, 2014. It will also host two public hearings to discuss the rulemaking agenda, on October 23, 2014 at the Department of Education office in Washington, DC, and on November 4, 2014 in Anaheim, CA.

The U.S. Department of Education granted approval for students participating in two competency-based education programs in the University of Wisconsin system to be eligible to receive Title IV student aid.

The U.S. Department of Education issued a pre-publication preview of changes it is making to the regulations governing the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. The proposed regulation makes a number of changes, including two new “models” that were permitted under the 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill related to use of evidence-based practices and state-approved approaches, and an extension of the SIG grant period from three to five years.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: August 18

A quick look at the news from last week:

HOUSE and SENATE

The House and Senate are in recess until September 8.

House education committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Senate education committee Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) look into the Department of Education’s waiver policies for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, specifically what information the Department based state wavier decisions on, how states have been impacted by the waivers and how timelines and policies in the waivers are being implemented or adjusted.

Senate education committee Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and the other Republican members of the committee wrote Education Secretary Duncan requesting information on the authority Duncan is utilizing to adopt the new Results Driven Accountability system for states under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Specifically the letter questioned the Department’s use of National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) tests as an element of the accountability matrix on which states are being measured.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education announced the opening of the Preschool Development Grant competition — $250 million is available for states through Development or Expansion Grants for preschool programs for low- and moderate-income families. The program is jointly administered by the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. Grant applications are due October 14, 2014.

The U.S. Department of Education granted extensions of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) state waivers for five states: Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Wisconsin. They join 13 other states that thus far have been granted extensions on their waivers through the 2014-15 school year.

The U.S. Department of Education has asked for public comments on implementing certain portions of the recently-passed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Specifically, they’ve asked for comments on issues relating to the WIOA sections on the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Title IV in WIOA) and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (Title II in WIOA). Comments are due August 29, 2014. 

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: July 7, 2014

A quick look at the news from last week:

SENATE and HOUSE

The House and Senate were in recess last week.

The House is scheduled to take up H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, on Wednesday, July 9. The bill, which is a bipartisan compromise between House and Senate leaders on two pieces of legislation to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, passed the Senate on June 26 by a vote of 95-3.

ADMINISTRATION

Inside Higher Ed is reporting that Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell said the U.S. Department of Education plans to release a draft version of the college ratings system this fall.

The U.S. Department of Education released a notice on interest rates on federal student loans for the next award period beginning July 1, 2014. In general, interest rates on the various student loan programs rise by 0.8 percent.

The U.S. Department of Education released its lists of the most and least expensive colleges in the United States as part of its College Affordability and Transparency Center.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: June 30, 2014

A quick look at the news from last week:

SENATE

The Senate passed H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by a vote of 95-3 on Thursday, with Senators Coburn (R-OK), Johnson (R-WI) and Lee (R-UT) voting against it. The bill represents a bipartisan compromise between House and Senate leaders on two pieces of legislation to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act that were passed by the full House and the Senate HELP Committee earlier this Congress. There were three amendments offered during Senate floor consideration: a Sen. Flake (R-AZ) amendment on the makeup of local workforce boards which was defeated by a vote of 33-63, a Sen. Lee (R-UT) amendment relating to evaluation report requirements which was defeated by a vote of 40-58, and a manager’s technical amendment offered by Sen. Harkin (D-IA) which was agreed to by a voice vote. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to be considered as early as the week of July 7.

Senate education committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) released a draft proposal for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.  The “The Higher Education Affordability Act” touches upon most areas of the Higher Education Act. Chairman Harkin has asked for feedback on the bill from interested stakeholders and submissions should be sent to HEAA2014@help.senate.gov by August 29, 2014.

Robert Gordon’s nomination to be Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on June 25. His nomination will now go to the Senate floor.

The Senate will be in recess this week.

HOUSE 

House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and higher education subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) released a white paper outlining principles for strengthening the higher education system. Chairman Kline stated his intention of releasing a series of bills that address the principles in the white paper, and the first three of these bills were introduced on Thursday:

Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act (introduced by Reps. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Mike Kelly (R-PA), John Tierney (D-MA), Tim Bishop (D-NY), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Ed Royce (R-CA))

Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act (introduced by Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Luke Messer (R-IN))

Empowering Students through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (introduced by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Richard Hudson (R-NC))

The House Education and the Workforce Committee made several subcommittee assignments: Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) to the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions and the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) to the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions.

The House will be in recess this week.

ADMINISTRATION

Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell stated that the U.S. Department of Education will “pause” their efforts to develop a regulation requiring state authorization for distance education programs in each state in which they operate. The issue was recently part of a Negotiated Rulemaking session during which the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee failed to come to a consensus on the issue. The Department would have had to issue a final regulation by November 1 of this year in order for the regulation to go into effect for the 2015 fall semester, but Mitchell said the regulation will not be issued by that date.

The U.S. Department of Education will also delay implementation of the state authorization regulation for programs that are physically located in states other than the main campus of an institution. The rule was scheduled to go into effect on July 1 of this year, but the Department delayed it a year to July 1, 2015. This is the second delay in implementation of this regulation.

The U.S. Department of Education announced a new “Results-Driven Accountability” system for their monitoring of state special education programs. The system, which adds academic-related factors to the compliance monitoring historically used by the Department with states, will be in effect for this coming school year.

The U.S. Department of Education released a Notice of Proposed Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs. The purpose of the proposal is to provide the Department with a menu of priorities that it can use for individual grant competitions without having to take public comment on them each time. Comments on the NPP are due by July 24, 2014.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: June 23, 2014

A quick look at the news from last week:
HOUSE 

Current House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his Republican primary race in Virginia  and announced that he will step down from the Majority Leader position at the end of July. In a vote on Thursday, Republicans chose current Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), to replace Cantor. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) was chosen as the new Majority Whip.

The House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, and the Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a joint hearing on Wednesday, June 25 entitled “How Data Mining Threatens Student Privacy.”

The House Subcommittee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on Tuesday, June 24 on “American Energy Jobs: Opportunities for Education.”

SENATE

The Senate agreed to a unanimous consent agreement on Thursday to consider H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act on the Senate floor as early as this week. The agreement allows three amendments to be considered: a Flake amendment around local boards, a Lee amendment relating to evaluation report requirements, and a manager’s technical amendment. The bill represents an agreement reached several weeks ago by Senate and House committee leaders to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act.

Senate education committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) is expected to release a bill as early as this week that encompasses multiple higher education policy proposals.

Senate education committee Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and fellow committee member Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) released a bill, the “Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency Act” or FAST Act, that seeks to simplify the federal student aid process. Specifically, the bill eliminates the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) and replaces it with two questions to determine eligibility, allows for year-round Pell Grants, and increases communications to borrowers on what to expect during repayment of their loans.

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will hold a hearing on Tuesday, June 24 on “Dreams Deferred: Young Workers and Recent Graduates in the U.S. Economy.”

The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing on Tuesday, June 24 on “Less Student Debt from the Start: What Role Should the Tax System Play?”

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a hearing on Thursday, June 26 titled “Sexual Assault on Campus: Working to Ensure Student Safety.”

BUDGET

The Senate attempted to bring a “minibus” of appropriations bills to the Senate floor last week, including the FY 2015 Commerce, Justice Science bill, the Agriculture bill and the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill. The Senate was unable to reach agreement to take up the three bills as one package with an amendment process, and the process was put aside for the time being. 

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: June 2, 2014

A quick look at the news from last week (May 26-30):

HOUSE 

The House Science Committee finished marking up, and passed by a vote of 20 to 16, the “Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act of 2014” (the FIRST Act, H.R. 4186). The committee began marking up the bill on May 20. The bill reauthorizes some of the federal scientific research programs, including the programs administered by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in the America COMPETES Act. A summary of the amendments introduced during the markup can be found here.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has indicated that he will seek to include language in the Labor, House and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill to prohibit the use of funds to develop, implement or administer a “postsecondary institution ratings system” such as the one proposed by the Obama Administration.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, introduced a bill that would increase school choice options for children of military parents, students with disabilities, and students in Washington, D.C. (through the DC Opportunity Scholarship program). The bill is titled the CHOICE Act (Creating Hope and Opportunities for Individuals and Communities through Education).

SENATE

The Senate is scheduled to begin consideration of the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be Secretary of Health and Human Services this week.

BUDGET

The House of Representatives passed its FY2015 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill by a vote of 321-87.

The Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations will markup their FY2015 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill on June 3. The full Committee will markup the CJS bill, along with the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill on June 5.

The Senate Committee on the Budget will hold a hearing on June 4 on “The Impact of Student Loan Debt on Borrowers and the Economy.”

ADMINISTRATION

John Easton, the Director of the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, will leave IES this fall to take a position at the Spencer Foundation.

At the White House Science Fair this week, President Obama announced new initiatives around STEM education as part of his “Educate to Innovative” campaign. The initiative would include a $35 million grant program to train STEM teachers, expansion of the STEM AmeriCorps program, and a new STEM mentoring program.

President Obama has nominated Shaun Donovan to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Donovan is currently Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: May 27

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (May 19 – 23):

HOUSE and SENATE

Leadership of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and the House Education and the Workforce Committee announced a bipartisan deal on a reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act, after resolving differences between the SKILLS Act which passed the House in 2013, and the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 which passed the Senate HELP Committee in 2013. The bill (the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) will go through the Senate first, which could happen as early as the second week in June.

The House Science Committee began marking up the “Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act of 2014” (the FIRST Act) on Thursday. The bill seeks to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act. Amendments were debated, but roll call votes on the amendments and final passage were postponed. A date has not yet been announced for a continuation of the markup. A summary of the amendments introduced during the markup can be found here.

A bipartisan group of members on the House Appropriations Committee sent a letter to committee leadership asking them to include language in the FY 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill to prohibit the U.S. Department of Education from enforcing their gainful employment regulation. The Department has issued a draft proposal for the regulation that is currently open for public comment.

The Senate is in recess this week. The House will be in session from Wednesday – Friday, May 28-30.

BUDGET

The Senate Appropriations Committee released its approved  302(b) allocations for FY 2015. The allocation for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee is $156.773 billion, which is level funded compared to the final FY 2014 funding level. The Senate allocation is $1.08 billion more than the House allocation of $155.693 billion.

ADMINISTRATION

U.S. Department of Education Deputy Under Secretary Jamienne Studley announced in a blog post that the Department has delayed the timeline for the Administration’s proposed college rating system. The Department had originally stated that they expected to publish a draft plan this spring, but Studley said they will now release a proposal this fall and a final version before the 2015-16 school year.

The U.S. Department of Education concluded its negotiated rulemaking process on Program Integrity issues this week with a fourth and final session. Negotiators were unable to reach consensus on the complete package of issues being discussed. Issues that were part of the negotiated rulemaking included the definition of adverse credit under the PLUS loan program, state authorization for distance education, and cash management. Because the negotiators were unable to reach an agreement, the Department can now issue their own proposed rules on these issues, irrespective of decisions make during the negotiated rulemaking session.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants, including the recently announced competitions for First in the World development grants, Workforce Innovation Fund grants, and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Research Initiation Initiative grants. Please see here for more information.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: May 19

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (May 12 – May 16):

HOUSE and SENATE

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, by a partisan vote of 12-10. The bill is Chairman Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) version of the President’s proposed state Pre-K proposal.

Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) released a legislative discussion draft of the “Protecting Student Privacy Act of 2014,” that amends the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The draft addresses the use of personally identifiable student information for advertising and marketing, adds new access and complaint procedures for parents regarding services provided to schools by third parties, and requires security measures for education records held by third parties to be as stringent as a school district or state would employ.

The Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday, May 22 on “Examining Access and Supports for Servicemembers and Veterans in Higher Education.”

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education announced the start of the First in the World competition. There is $75 million available for institutions of higher education (including $20 million for minority-serving institutions) to fund the development and testing of strategies to improve college attainment and affordability.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that it has reached a $60 million settlement with Sallie Mae in a lawsuit that alleges that Sallie Mae charged servicemembers excessive rates on student loans in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The U.S. Department of Education released guidance that states that charter schools must follow the same federal civil rights laws that apply to all other public schools, including provisions related to discrimination in admissions and the administration of discipline, serving students with disabilities and providing support to English learners.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last week to take up the FCC Chairman’s “net neutrality” proposal by a vote of 3-2. The proposal would, among other things, allow Internet providers to charge websites for faster service. The proposal is available for public comment for four months.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

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Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up: May 12

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (May 5– May 9):

HOUSE

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 4366, the Strengthening Education through Research Act, a bill to reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) by a voice vote.

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 10, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act by a vote of 360-45.

SENATE

The Senate confirmed the nomination of Ted Mitchell as Under Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

A bipartisan group of Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) members – Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) – introduced the Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Act, which would make changes to the federal Charter Schools Program. The bill is similar to H.R. 10, which passed the House this week.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing on Tuesday, May 13 on “Strengthening Minority Serving Institutions: Best Practices and Innovations for Student Success.”

The Senate HELP Committee will mark up S. ___, the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, during an Executive Session on Wednesday, May 14. This is Chairman Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) version of the President’s proposed state Pre-K proposal.

BUDGET

The House Appropriations Committee released its committee report on 302(b) allocations for FY 2015. The allocation for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee is $155.693 billion, which is 0.7 percent less than the final FY 2014 allocation.

The House Appropriations Committee released its FY 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, which was marked up and approved by the subcommittee on Thursday.

The House Appropriations Committee marked up its FY 2015 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill (committee report), which passed by a voice vote.

ADMINISTRATION

The U.S. Department of Education told chief state school officers that it will put off review of the teacher and principal evaluation portions of state’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver extension applications for states that are proposing substantive changes to their teacher evaluation system. Specifically the Department stated that it will make extension decisions based on the other elements of state’s waiver applications and review the teacher and principal evaluation sections separately.

The U.S. Department of Education released Executive Summaries for its new Preschool Development Grant competition and is seeking comment on the summaries. There are two competitions –a development grant competition for states with small or no state-funded preschool program, and an expansion grant competition for states that have more robust programs or that have been awarded a Race to the Top- Early Learning Challenge grant. Comments are due by May 16, 2014.

Education Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Holder released guidance for elementary and secondary schools to ensure that schools are enrolling all students regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Penn Hill Group provides a list of grant opportunities and summaries for select grants. Please visit our website for more information.

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