Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap-Up: November 7

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (October 31 – November 4) in Washington.

Secretary Duncan announced the NAEP Reading and Math 2011 Results. The reading scores were generally flat, and the math scores were marginally better. Education & Workforce Committee Ranking Member Miller (D-CA) used the results as a basis for calling on more States to apply for the Administration’s NCLB waivers.

With respect to waivers, of the 41 states that have expressed interest in applying, at least three, Colorado, Georgia and Kentucky, have posted their applications.  Penn Hill Group’s state by state chart providing the latest publicly available information on waiver applications is available here.

Meetings continue as Chairman Kline (R-MN) works toward a possible mark-up on the remaining parts of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act the committee has not yet addressed.

There continues to be interest on the committee to move WIA reauthorization legislation.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on the ESEA reauthorization bill on November 8, before the bill goes to the Senate floor. The witnesses are:

  • Katherine Beh Neas , Senior Vice President for Governmental Relations, Easter Seals
  • Amanda Danks , Lead Teacher, Wm. S. Baer School, Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Pam Geisselhardt , Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Adair County Schools, Columbia, KY
  • Terry Grier , Superintendent, Houston Independent School District, Houston, TX
  • Wade Henderson , President and CEO, The Leadership Conference, Washington, DC
  • Frederick Hess, Director of Education Policy, American Enterprise Institute
  • Tom Luna , Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction, Boise, ID
  • Charles Seaton , Teacher, Sherwood Middle School, Memphis City Schools, Memphis, TN
  • Elmer Thomas , Principal, Madison Central High School, Richmond, KY
  • Jon Schnur, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, New Leaders, Washington, DC

Senate Majority Appropriations staff announced that the entire Pell shortfall anticipated for the 2012-2013 award year would have to be offset with savings from FY 2012.  The offset (elimination of the subsidy on subsidized student loans during the repayment grace period) used in the Senate bill to cover this anticipated shortfall does not produce sufficient savings in FY 2012 to cover the entire shortfall.  No timeline or solution to this problem was announced.

Senate and House Leaders have begun to discuss their final appropriations strategy to complete the 2012 process. The Senate continues to consider a series of “minibuses,” a bundling together of several appropriations bills (as opposed to an omnibus, which is a single inclusive bill). The Senate passed its first “minibus” that included the following appropriations bills: Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. This minibus is expected to be completed in conference after the Thanksgiving break. It is not clear however, how the Labor HHS Education Appropriations legislation moves as a part of this process.