Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap-Up: July 26

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (July 18-22) in Washington.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee announced their first hearing on teacher issues under ESEA for Wednesday, July 26.  This hearing will likely kick off the House Committee’s work on Title II and other teacher related issues in ESEA.  Bipartisan staff discussions on a teacher bill have yet to start.

The House Labor/HHS/Education appropriations subcommittee markup originally scheduled for July 26 was postponed until after the August recess.  At this point, no date has been set for a rescheduled markup.

The House Leadership has yet to decide when it will bring the Foxx bill to repeal the clock credit hour and state authorization regulations or a bill to repeal the gainful employment regulation to the House floor.

On Thursday, HELP Committee Chairman Harkin held a round table discussion focused on for-profit higher education.  The hearing drew a handful of Democrats and no Republicans, and focused largely on the need to rely more on student outcomes (particularly around completion and job placement) as a way to weed out bad actors — not just in the for-profit sector, but in higher education as a whole. Harkin alluded to an on-going process to look at these issues, but did not provide any firm next steps in terms of additional hearings or possible legislation.  He noted that as he works to find a way to close the $11 billion Pell Grant shortfall, he expects to continue to look at this issue. He also noted that in the short term, he wants to focus on the 90/10 issue as well as military recruitment.

[UPDATE: The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education will hold a hearing on July 27 at 10:00 AM on the Department of Education’s FY2012 budget request. Secretary Duncan will testify.]

Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Thelma Melendez, is leaving the Department to become the Superintendent for Santa Ana School District in California.  Michael Yudin, her Deputy Assistant Secretary, has officially been named acting Assistant Secretary.

On Monday, July 18, the White House held an event with major CEOs urging their continued and expanded support for education — particularly around programs to support high quality teaching and early childhood education.