Press Room NEWSLETTERS
September 9, 2016

ED Review... a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders

What's inside...
Back to School: Bus Tour
Federal Student Aid
ESSA Update
School Resource Officers/Campus Police
Health Care Coverage
Odds and Ends
Quotes to Note
Upcoming Events

Back to School: Bus Tour

September 12-16, Secretary King and senior Department officials will visit 11 cities in six states across the American Southeast as part of the Obama Administration's seventh and final Back to School bus tour. This year's theme is "Opportunity Across America." Events will tout key initiatives over the eight years, highlighting the progress made to expand opportunity across the nation and the groundwork laid for continued momentum.

For a look at a few of the people and places the Secretary will be visiting, watch the video trailer.

The public will be able to connect with the bus tour in a number of ways, including following the tour online and on social media (#OpportunityTour).

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Federal Student Aid

There are two major changes coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process this year. First, the 2017-18 FAFSA will be available earlier. Students can file as early as October 1, 2016, rather than beginning on January 1, 2017. Second, starting with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will use earlier income and tax information. For example, students—and their parents, as appropriate—will report their 2015 income and tax information, rather than their 2016 income and tax information. How will these changes benefit students? On the front end, students will no longer have to use estimates or log in later to update their FAFSA after they file taxes, and they may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import their tax information into their FAFSA. On the back end, students will have additional time to meet most deadlines and explore and understand their financial aid options.

Department officials have been answering back to school comments and questions about the FAFSA via social media platforms—here is a sampling of some of the most popular tweets with agency responses.

Also, the Department's partners have advice for counselors as they organize events and prepare to help students and parents through the financial aid process—here are creative ways to make the process fun.

In related news, in response to the announcement that ITT Educational Services is closing its more than 100 campuses nationwide, Secretary King sent a message to students explaining their options to continue their studies at another school or have their federal loans discharged; Under Secretary Ted Mitchell sent a letter to community college leaders whose institutions are close to one or more ITT campuses and offer programs that align with several of ITT's offerings, urging them to step in and help these students; the Department launched an ITT-specific web page with a series of questions-and-answers and information on webinars and in-person transfer fairs; and the Under Secretary participated in a call with reporters outlining the agency's plan to support students (press call audio and transcript).

Also, Department interns offer advice to incoming freshmen to make their college years "unregrettable."

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ESSA Update

Last week, the Department released proposed regulations to implement the requirement in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as recently revised by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), that federal funds must supplement, and may not supplant, state and local funding. This proposal will help ensure that federal funds are additive and do not take the place of state and local funding in low-income schools, in keeping with the long-standing commitment under Title I that the nation's highest-need students receive the additional resources needed to help them succeed. The regulation would mean up to $2 billion in supplemental state and local funding for high-poverty schools (Federal Register notice, press call audio, and NPR's "All Things Considered" interview).

No single federal rule can make up for decades of resource inequities, but the proposed rule is designed to mitigate clear discrepancies in educational resources and opportunities:

  • low-poverty, low-minority schools are twice as likely to offer a full-range of math and science classes as high-poverty, high-minority schools;
  • on average, low-poverty schools offer three times as many Advanced Placement (AP) courses as high-poverty schools;
  • low-minority schools are twice as likely to offer dual credit or dual enrollment opportunities, compared with high-minority schools; and
  • educators in high-poverty, high-minority schools are more than twice as likely to be in their first or second year of teaching, compared to their peers in low-poverty, low-minority schools.

Recognizing this is not a simple undertaking, the proposed rule reflects the robust and thoughtful input from the negotiated rulemaking process and feedback the Department received from stakeholders across the education system over the past few months. Compared to the original proposal put forward during negotiated rulemaking, the new proposal would allow states and school districts greater flexibility in complying with the supplement not supplant provisions. Specifically, the proposal clarifies several options for how to demonstrate compliance and provides multiple flexibilities.

Regardless of how they choose to demonstrate compliance, the agency encourages districts to meet the requirement by: increasing overall funding for education—with a focus on new resources for Title I schools, rather than shifting resources from other schools—and avoiding forced staff transfers—instead, providing schools the resources that students need to learn and that will attract staff to choose to work in Title I schools.

The public comment period closes November 7.

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School Resource Officers/Campus Police

This week, both the Education Department and the Justice Department's Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) released letters to states and districts emphasizing the importance of well-designed School Resource Officer (SRO) programs and calling on leaders of higher education institutions to commit to implementing the recommendations from the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing in the campus policing context. To further assist in the P-12 context, the agencies also released Safe, School-Based Enforcement through Collaboration, Understanding, and Respect (SECURe) rubrics. These resources can help education and law enforcement agencies that use SROs to review and—if necessary—revise SRO-related policies in alignment with reasonable steps that can lead to improved school safety and better outcomes for students while safeguarding civil rights (Education: P-12 letter and campus letter; Justice: P-12 letter and campus letter; SECURe rubrics: state and local policy and local implementation; and press call audio and transcript).

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Health Care Coverage

As students begin the new school year, the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services are calling on states and districts to help enroll students in health care coverage during school registration processes and ensure students have access to the health care coverage they need. In support of this effort, Secretary King, Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, and District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson joined the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), AASA: The School Superintendents Association, and other officials at the Cardozo Education Campus for a roundtable discussion spotlighting best practices for getting more students enrolled in health care. CDF and AASA released an "Insure All Children" toolkit, informed by extensive work with districts across California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Research shows that children who have health care are more likely to graduate from high school and college than uninsured children, and, when eligible parents are enrolled in Medicaid, their children are more likely to receive preventative and necessary health care.

This latest action builds on efforts from January 2016, when the agencies released a "Healthy Students, Promising Futures" toolkit detailing state and local practices that can improve and expand school-based health services.

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Odds and Ends

  • Secretary King discussed the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued 100 days before the more famous historical document, on a "Stuff You Missed in History Class" podcast.

  • On August 31, the Department announced $2.5 million in grants to operate 23 Community Parent Resource Centers in 17 states and a Parent Training and Information Center to serve the country's freely associated states and outlying areas in the Pacific Ocean. These centers provide parents with training and information to work with professionals in meeting early intervention and special needs of children with disabilities.

  • On September 2, the Department announced a more than $350,000 Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant to the Baltimore City Public Schools to assist with the ongoing recovery efforts following the stabbing death of a student at Renaissance Academy.

  • New statistical reports from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) look at remedial coursetaking by college students spanning a six-year period and military servicemembers' and veterans' enrollment in undergraduate and graduate school before and after the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

  • This year, the Department celebrates 55 years of international education programs under the Fulbright-Hays Act. The law remains the basic charter for all U.S. government-sponsored educational and cultural exchanges. Current Fulbright-Hays programs administered by the agency's International and Foreign Language Education Office include Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowships, Group Projects Abroad, and Seminars Abroad.

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Quotes to Note

"Whatever you choose to do, do not give up on your education. Higher education remains the clearest path to economic opportunity and security. Restarting or continuing your education at a high-quality, reputable institution may feel like a setback today, but odds are it will pay off in the long run. There are people and tools—like our College Scorecard—out there to help you pick a program that gives you a real shot at success."

        Secretary of Education John King (9/6/16), in a message to students on ITT's closure

"We knew that, when we stepped up oversight of ITT, this outcome was a possibility, and we have been planning for this contingency. As we said then, it wasn't a decision we took lightly. Ultimately, our responsibility is not to any individual institution—it's to protect all students and all taxpayers. I have no doubt that our decision to take action was the right one in service of these goals. But, I also recognize that today's news may cause disruption, confusion, and disappointment to many of ITT's current students. We believe that enabling students to restart or continue their education at a different school will best serve them in the long run, and we remain committed to helping students achieve their educational goals."

        Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell (9/6/16), in remarks to reporters on ITT's closure

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Upcoming Events

National Preparedness Month—observed each September—is a reminder that everyone must take action to prepare for emergencies. This year's theme is carried over from last year: "Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today." National Preparedness Month culminates on September 30 with National PrepareAthon! Day, a bi-annual opportunity to prepare for hazards with drills, exercises, and group discussions, during which individuals, families, organizations (such as schools, colleges, and universities), and communities will undertake simple actions to increase emergency preparedness. Throughout the month, the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center is hosting events, including Twitter Chats every Thursday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Join in—and use #PrepareAthonforSchools and #CampusPrepareAthon to learn from others and share your insights.

September 27-29, U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Director Andrea Falken will visit schools in eastern Pennsylvania, as part of the Department's third annual Green Strides Best Practices Tour. Federal, state, and local visitors bring attention to best practices of honored schools and districts. This year's theme is "Real World Learning," with a focus on sustainability education.

Planning is underway for the 17th annual International Education Week (November 14-18). The week, a joint initiative of the Departments of Education and State, gives schools, colleges and universities, and communities an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This year's theme is "Promoting Cultural and Global Competencies for All."

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Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe

ED Review is a product of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Communications and Outreach, State and Local Engagement—Lindsay O'Mara, Deputy Assistant Secretary

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Last Modified: 09/09/2016