Penn Hill Group’s Washington Wrap Up — April 25, 2016

A quick look back at the news from last week, compiled by Penn Hill Group:


Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) thanked the negotiators for their work during the negotiated rulemaking (neg-reg) process on the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). He also reiterated that he planned to use every tool at his disposal regarding supplement, not supplant to ensure ESSA is implemented the way Congress intended.


The U.S. Department of Education (ED) held its third and final neg-reg session on the implementation of ESSA. The neg-reg committee reached consensus on assessment issues, but failed to do so on supplement, not supplant. ED said that it will attempt to produce “clean” regulatory language on the assessment issues by the end of the week. While the consensus language on assessments will be used as the basis of ED’s proposed rules in that area, ED may now go forward with its own supplement, not supplant regulations. However, because consensus was not reached on supplement, not supplant, ED must send its proposed regulations to Congress for review before publishing them for comment in the Federal Register.

The White House, ED and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new grants, resources, learning activities, research and a policy statement around science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in early learning.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced plans to invest $90 million in additional funds to expand apprenticeship through ApprenticeshipUSA.

As a part of President Obama’s Testing Action Plan, ED released a series of case studies of states and districts that are working to ensure students take fewer, better and fairer tests.

A federal judge ruled that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools did not have to comply with a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau civil investigative demand issued in August, 2015.

ED released a letter providing clarification for accreditors on the flexibility that they have in differentiating their reviews. The letter encourages use of that flexibility in order to focus on student achievement and problematic institutions or programs.

The Brookings Institution announced that Former Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has joined the Brookings Institution as a nonresident senior fellow in the Governance Studies program’s Brown Center on Education Policy.