Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap-Up: July 23

Here’s a quick look at the news from last week (July 16-20) in Washington.


The Department of Education announced the approval of seven more ESEA waivers from the second round of waiver applications – Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia. In total, thirty-two states and D.C. have been granted ESEA waivers, and five additional applications are still under review from Round Two.

The Obama Administration announced the President’s plan to create a new, national Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps, a $1 billion effort that is designed to boost students’ achievement in STEM subjects. The program will give high-performing teachers salary stipends of up to $20,000. It will start with 50 teachers, and expand over four years to reach 10,000 teachers. The Administration will use $1 billion from the President’s 2013 budget request.


The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing Thursday on “Making College Affordability a Priority: Promising Practices and Strategies.”

HELP Committee Chairman Harkin said Thursday that an investigative report on for-profit colleges will likely be out before the August recess.

The Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families announced Thursday that they will hold a hearing on July 26 on Child Care Development Block Grant reauthorization. The Committee continues to work on legislation that could be marked up in the Fall.


The House Committee on Education & the Workforce held a hearing on July 18 titled “Keeping College Within Reach: Exploring State Efforts to Curb Costs.” A summary from the Committee is available here.


The House Labor, HHS, and Education Subcommittee marked up the FY 2013 appropriations legislation last week. The bill passed the Committee by a vote of 8-6, with all subcommittee Democrats and Rep. Flake (R-AZ) voting against it. The bill summary and draft legislation are available here.   The discretionary Pell Grant maximum was maintained at $4,860 (the total pell Maximum would be $5,635), IDEA State grants receved a $500 million increase.  Title I funding was maintained at the 2012 level.  Race to the Top, i3 and the School Improvement Grant program were all eliminated in the bill.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing next Wednesday, July 25 to discuss the impact of budget sequestration on education. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will testify.