Federal Activities

Below are the most recent news, reports, and recommendations relating to the federal government’s activities around ESSA.

Sunshine State, Feds Continue Wrangling Over Accountability Plan

Jeffrey Solochek reports for the Tampa Bay Times that the Sunshine State’s latest ESSA plan redraft addresses a number of the issues raised by the U.S. Department of Education. However, according to the Department’s Libby Witt, “some of the revisions that FDOE made in the…

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Educators to Congress—No Federal Cash to Arm Teachers

Alyson Klein reports for Education Week that more than a dozen educator groups have sent a letter to Congress to make it “crystal clear that states and districts can’t spend money from Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act on guns for school staff.”

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ESSA and Election 2018

Andrew Ujifusa reports for Education Week that, if Democrats win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November, “expect civil rights to grab the spotlight and for congressional subpoenas in the name of education oversight to become more popular,” particularly through the lens of…

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Democrats Try to Block Gun Funding Via Spending Bill

Andrew Ujifusa reports in Education Week that “Democrats on Capitol Hill are using just about every tool they can think of to try to stop Every Student Succeeds Act money from being used by schools to purchase firearms.” On September 7, “two top Democrats on…

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“Federal Flash” ESSA Update

This month’s “Federal Flash” from the Alliance for Excellent Education examines “Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s record on education, congressional action on border separation, action by President Trump that could jeopardize diversity in schools, and a quick update on ESSA.”

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DeVos AWOL on Capitol Hill?

“U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos hasn’t testified before the House or Senate education committees since becoming secretary more than a year ago—and Democrats aren’t happy about that,” reports Alyson Klein. Democrats “say they want to question DeVos’ choice to approve ESSA plans that they and some…

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Congress Taking Back a Little Education Oversight With ESSA Implementation?

Carolyn Phenicie reports that the Republican-controlled Congress, after a year of a “hands-off” approach, is “taking a small step back into the fight over implementing” ESSA. Included in “a report filed with the $1.3 trillion government funding bill passed last week is a reminder to states—through the federal Education…

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Ed Tech Also “Fares Well” in Spending Bill

According to EdScoop’s Patience Wait, another financial winner in the recently passed budget bill is ESSA’s Education Innovation and Research grant program, which “will receive $120 million this year, up from $100 million last year, but lower than the $180 million it once received annually…

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What the “Huge Hike” in ESSA Block Grant Funding Really Means

Education Week’s Alyson Klein reports that the massive spending bill signed into law on March 23 will provide more than a billion dollars to ESSA’s Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (a.k.a. Title IV of the law). This is an increase from $400 million in fiscal…

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Alexander Furious Over Dept. of Ed State Plan Reviews

Politico reports that Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, was “furious” that a top aide to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was “circumventing” ESSA, contending the federal agency was “out of bounds” in challenging state officials on issues such as…

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Senate Committee Discussed State Innovation under ESSA

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a hearing on state innovation under ESSA. During the hearing, Chairman Lamar Alexander commented that “Tennessee, Louisiana, and New Mexico have taken the most advantage of the flexibility” offered under ESSA, in terms of “creating innovative…

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State Innovation under ESSA

The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a hearing to discuss state innovation under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

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DeVos Announces Upcoming Plans

Education Week’s Alyson Klein reports that Secretary DeVos told a gathering of secondary school principals on September 25 “that she wants to cut the federal red tape that she thinks is holding them back from serving students to the best extent possible,” and that “she’ll…

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Top Democrats in Congress Critiques DeVos’ Oversight of States’ New Plans

Top Democrats in Congress “say that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ oversight of states’ new plans for education has ‘failed to adequately address several shortcomings’ in plans that have been turned in so far, and urged the secretary to do better in the next…

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RealClearEd Examines DeVos’ Reaction to States ESSA Plan

RealClearEducation examined how U.S. Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos is “encouraged” to see states expand school choice under ESSA. The piece identifies local efforts in Arizona, Colorado, and Florida. In a statement to RealClearEducation, DeVos was pleased “to see so many states pass pro-student and…

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Experts Questioning Impact of Lack of Personnel at Dept. of Ed on ESSA

Education Week highlights experts who are questioning the lack of personnel at the Dept. of Education to review state ESSA plans. According to Michael J. Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, “having fewer staffers—and few with official Senate confirmation—means a lot of more…

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President Trump Issues Executive Order

President Trump issued an executive order directing Secretary DeVos to “review every policy and directive of the Department of Education and rescind any that she deems to overstep the role of the federal government.” According to Alyson Klein of Education Week, ESSA “already greatly reduces…

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25 Organizations Write to DeVos with Guidance for Peer Review Process

In a letter to Secretary DeVos, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 24 other organizations urged her to “ensure that children receive the support and attention they deserve through the implementation of ESSA.” The groups raised concern over submitted plans that are…

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Thomas B. Fordham Institute Praises DeVos for ESSA “State Plan Peer Review Criteria”

Brandon Wright of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute published an article praising Secretary Betsy DeVos for her ESSA “State Plan Peer Review Criteria.” According to Wright, the criteria encourage states to develop an accountability system that goes beyond just measuring proficiency. Through the use of…

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Nineteen Democrats Send Letter to Secretary DeVos Asking for More Information

Nineteen House and Senate Democrats sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos asking for a “full explanation of how requirements for stakeholder voices will be met under a new ESSA template for state-submitted plans.” The letter also encouraged states to submit plans…

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DeVos Speaks to CCSSO at Annual Legislative Conference

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke to the Council of Chief State School Officers at their annual legislative conference. DeVos stated, “Once your state has developed a plan to provide a quality education in an environment that is safe and nurturing for all children,…

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CAP Raises Concerns over Trump’s Proposed Federal Budget

Experts from the Center for American Progress posted a blog opposing President Trump’s 2018 federal budget. CAP said the budget “would dismantle public schools through massive cuts to teacher training, after-school programs in public schools, and transfers of public funds to private school vouchers.” They…

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AFT Says Trump’s Proposed Federal Budget Will Negatively Impact ESSA

The American Federation of Teachers said that Trump’s budget “takes a meat cleaver to public education” with AFT President Randi Weingarten saying it will negatively impact ESSA’s Title I and Title II funding. Weingarten stated the plan “weakens federal support for job training and employment…

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DeVos Delivers Speech on New ESSA Accountability Regulations

During a speech to the Council of the Great City Schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos touted the new ESSA accountability regulations. According to The 74, DeVos argued the Dept. of Education under President Obama had “gone outside of its established authority” and “created roadblocks, wittingly or unwittingly, for parents and…

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Sen. Lamar Alexander Calls for Stakeholders to Continue Draft ESSA Plans

While speaking to local education leaders, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) told them to “assume that the U.S. Dept. of Education will say yes” to the “plans they’re drafting to comply with ESSA.” Alexander called for stakeholders to continue to draft plans.

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