Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap-Up: August 1

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (July 25-29) in Washington.


The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on teacher issues under ESEA on Wednesday. Witnesses focused on a variety of proposals to use Federal funding to encourage States and Districts to improve teacher quality, reform teacher training, measure teacher performance in improving academic achievement and tie performance to teacher pay.

Versions of the House “Boehner plan” and the Senate “Reid plan” include provisions that provide significant relief to the shortfall that has plagued the Pell Grant program. At this point, provisions in both bills eliminate Federal in-school interest subsidy for graduate student loans, and, eliminate the ability of the Department to provide borrower discounts for recipients of all types of student loans.

HELP Committee Chairman Harkin was quoted by Ed Week saying that ESEA will not be marked-up before the recess, and at this point, he is unwilling to commit to a date or time period in which a mark-up may take place.

The HELP Committee has officially postponed consideration of the WIA reauthorization bill until after the August 3rd recess. A date has not been set.

Secretary Duncan testified before the Senate Labor/HHS/Education Subcommittee this week, in a hearing on the FY12 education budget. The Secretary discussed and defended the Administration’s proposals on: Pell Grant funding, ESEA waivers, STEM, and Race to the Top among other topics.