Some questions:

What about those calls for Betsy DeVos to resign?

Any chance we will see a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act any time soon?

Will the House Committee budget deal pave the way for additional funding for education?

Washington Update, April 5, 2019


Dear Colleagues:

Along with the cherry blossoms, tourist season is in full bloom in DC! If you haven't been here in the spring, put it on your bucket list!

1. House Democrats Adopt Proposal to Raise Budget Caps for FY 2020 Opening the Door for Appropriations Bills to Move

In order for the Congress to move funding bills forward, the budget caps need to be raised. Without raising those caps, both defense and non-defense spending would have to be cut significantly. This week the House Budget Committee, Chaired by Rep. John Yarmouth (D-KY), adopted a provision to raise caps for both sectors of spending. Here are the specifics:

Only Democrats supported the proposal in the committee; however, many thought the Defense cap was too high. In addition, most Republicans objected to the bill claiming the defense cap was too low. Education advocates believe this was a good opening volley with a long road ahead. The bill will likely go to the House floor for a vote next, where amendments are expected and where the vote will be tight. Chairman Yarmouth is hoping to secure enough Democrats to squeak the proposal through.

The next stop will be the Senate, where a bipartisan agreement will be necessary. The caps will likely be lower after going through that process. Appropriations Chair, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), indicated that she would like to begin marking up the 12 appropriations bills after Easter recess - the week of April 29 - in order to meet the goal of passing all bills before October 1, when the 2020 fiscal year begins.

2. Higher Education Act Update: Hearings, Timing, Negotiated Rulemaking, Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Hearings and Timing:

Negotiated Rulemaking:

Public Service Loan Forgiveness:

3. Two Democratic Members of Congress Call for Sec. DeVos' Resignation/Third Appearance on the Hill Next Week

Two Democratic Members of the House of Representatives - Katherine Clark (MA) and Mark Pocan (WI)-- have called on Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos to resign. Her appearance before the House Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations subcommittee last week appears to have contributed to these calls. Both Rep. Clark and Rep. Pocan (D-WI) are members of that Subcommittee and questioned her pointedly during the hearing.

Rep. Clark questioned Sec. DeVos about her use of research to justify elimination of the Department's guidance related to the disproportionate utilization of discipline procedures for students of color. Clark described the research as stating that "the association between school suspensions and blacks and whites reflects long-standing behavioral differences between youth and that, at least in the aggregate, the use of suspensions may not be racially biased as many have argued." Clark said that "She has failed to live up to her basic job responsibility: making sure that kids have equitable access to public education. She is unfit to carry on in this job."

Rep. Pocan, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, wrote an oped calling for DeVos to "step down from her role and allow a committed educational professional" to take the job. "She has also worked to revoke guidelines on affirmative action and strip protections and rights for LGBTQ students - including students who identify as transgender," he wrote.

DeVos will make her third appearance before the 116th Congress next week when she testifies before the House Committee on Education and Labor about the policies and priorities of the Department of Education. The hearing is at 9 am on April 10. See link below to watch.



For hearing with Sec. DeVos April 10 at 9 am:

4. New Resources for Educators

Wishing you a wonderful spring weekend!

See you on @janewestdc


Jane West Educational Blog - Spring 2019

Jane E. West Ph.D.
Education Policy Consultant
Cell: 202.812.9096
Twitter: @janewestdc

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