Title IX Listening Sessions
Supporting Individuals with Disabilities
High School Issue Briefs
Odds and Ends
Quotes to Note
Secretary DeVos kicked off the Department's summer reading program at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C, this week. This program is designed to help students continue learning and stay actively engaged in their education while on summer break. Students in attendance had the opportunity to read with the Secretary, explore the Kennedy Center, and enjoy a private concert by high school students in the Kennedy Center's Summer Music Institute. (Note: The Secretary will host additional educational activities throughout the summer.)
Title IX Listening Sessions
Also this week, the Secretary convened a diverse group of stakeholders at the Department to discuss the impact of the agency's Title IX sexual assault guidance on students, families, and institutions. The Secretary met with stakeholdersincluding survivors of sexual violence, students who have been falsely accused and disciplined under Title IX, and representatives of educational institutions and subject matter expertsin three, 90-minute roundtable discussions. Then, following the conclusion of the third panel, she provided a readout of the day at a media availability.
"No student should be the victim of sexual assault," the Secretary asserted. "No student should feel unsafe. No student should feel that there isn't a way to seek justice, and no student should feel that the scales of justice are tipped against him or her."
"Today's summit made it clear to me that there's work to be done," she continued. "This issue is hurting too many students, so we'll get to work to figure out the best way to solve this problem, to stop and reduce sexual harassment and assault while respecting due process and the rule of law."
The Secretary announced late last month that the Department will allow additional time for institutions of higher education to comply with the Gainful Employment regulations. "Since their creation under the previous Administration, Gainful Employment regulations have been repeatedly challenged by educational institutions and overturned by the courts, underscoring the need for a regulatory reset," the Secretary explained. "We need to get this right for our students, and we need to get this right for our institutions of higher education. Once fully implemented, the current rules would unfairly and arbitrarily limit students' ability to pursue certain types of higher education and career training programs. We need to expand, not limit, paths to higher education for students, while also continuing to hold accountable those institutions that do not serve students well."
The Department is giving institutions until July 1, 2018, to comply with disclosure requirements regarding distribution of gainful employment data to students and in promotional materials (Federal Register notice). It is also extending the deadline for programs to file alternate earnings appeals in light of the court order in American Association of Cosmetology Schools v. DeVos. A separate Federal Register notice will be issued to specifically implement the court order and will include information on establishing a new deadline for earnings appeals.
The agency previously announced it would engage in negotiated rulemaking on both Borrower Defense to Repayment and Gainful Employment to develop fair, effective, and improved regulations to protect individual borrowers from fraud, ensure accountability across institutions of higher education, and protect taxpayers (Federal Register notice). Public hearings were held this week in Washington, D.C., and Dallas. Additional information about the effort is posted here.
Supporting Individuals with Disabilities
As required by law, the Department has issued annual determinations regarding states' implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (fact sheet). Each state was evaluated on key indicators under Part B (ages 3 through 21) and Part C (infants through age 2) and placed into one of four categories: meets requirements, needs assistance, needs intervention, and needs substantial intervention. Most fell into the top two groups. A total of 22 states, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republics of the Marshall Islands and Palau met requirements for Part B, while 28 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico met requirements for Part C. No state needs substantial intervention. The IDEA identifies technical assistance or enforcement actions that the agency must undertake for states that do not meet requirements.
Determination letters have been sent to the states, and they will be added online in the near future.
The agency made determinations using both compliance and results data, giving each equal weight. The Department's accountability framework, known as Results-Driven Accountability, brings into focus educational results and functional outcomes for children with disabilities while balancing those results with IDEA's compliance requirements. Protecting the rights of children with disabilities and their families is a critical responsibility of states, school districts, and providers. However, that is not sufficient if children are not attaining the knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish IDEA's ideals: equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.
High School Issue Briefs
The Department released new issue briefs on strategies that high schools use to help at-risk students stay in school and graduate. Based on data from a national survey of high school principals, these briefs provide descriptive information on the prevalence and characteristics of key dropout prevention strategies for students who may need supplemental support in school. The briefs cover: (1) case management to students through a social worker or school professional who advises students and connects them to services that may address their academic and non-academic needs and (2) social services that can address an immediate student need outside of the classroom, such as health care, mental health care, and assistance with shelter, clothing, or transportation. (Note: Previously released high school issue briefs are available here.)
Odds and Ends
Secretary DeVos was interviewed for a "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly" segment on Boys Latin of Philadelphia Charter School.
A new Homeroom blog post recaps U.S. Presidential Scholars' National Recognition Program from the unique point of view of the program's student Executive Advisors.
Another Homeroom blog post details how marriage impacts student loans.
Imagine Andrews Public Charter School, located on Andrews Air Force base in Maryland, was among three school sites Department staff visited one recent morning. Led by the principal, staff participated in classroom observations of kindergarten-through-eighth-grade students, a roundtable discussion with parents, and a dialogue with administrators.
Eight teams of student chefs from around the country recently converged on the Department's headquarters to be judged on their menus for school lunches as part of the Healthy Schools Campaign Cooking Up Change competition. Top honors went to the team from Orange County, California, which wowed the judges with chicken kashmir, peino curry, and tropical kheer.
Be sure to visit the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Partnership Spotlight, which showcases and celebrates best practices of the agency's financial aid partners. Currently, the site features AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute, Inc., in Phoenix; the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in Washington, D.C.; and Milwaukee Public Schools.
The Department's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded more than 100 grants for research that will increase the evidence base across a wide array of topics in education. These grants, representing an investment of over $187 million, are around five general goals: exploration (identify malleable factors associated with student outcomes); development and innovation (develop and test new interventions); efficacy and replication (evaluate impacts of fully developed interventions on student outcomes); effectiveness (evaluate impacts of fully developed interventions with prior evidence of efficacy in routine conditions); and measurement (develop and validate assessments of students and teachers).
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has launched CampusDrugPrevention.gov, a new web site focused on preventing and addressing drug use among college students. It is one of a suite of DEA-sponsored sites, including JustThinkTwice.gov for teenagers and GetSmartAboutDrugs.gov for parents and caregivers.
Quote to Note
"The human soul yearns for discovery. By unlocking the mysteries of the universe, we unlock truths within ourselves.... Our journey into space will not only make us stronger and more prosperous but will unite us behind grand ambitions and bring us all closer together.... Every launch into the skies is another step forward toward a future where our differences seem small against the vast expanse of our common humanity. Sometimes you have to view things from a distance in order to see the real truth. It is America's destiny to be at the forefront of humanity's eternal quest for knowledge and to be the leader amongst nations on our adventure into the great unknown."
|||President Donald Trump (6/30/17), in remarks at the signing of an Executive Order reviving the National Space Council|
Starting next week, the Department will host an art exhibit of some 90 works by kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade students from 28 schools across Fairfax County, Virginia, Public Schools, titled "The World Through My Eyes." The opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony is July 18, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
The program will feature the Chamber Orchestra from Spring Hill Elementary School, a full orchestra from Lake Braddock Secondary School, a film created by students from Rachel Carson Middle School, a vocal performance of "Defying Gravity" from Wicked by a Westbriar Elementary School student, and a performance of "Holding Out for a Hero" from Footloose by students from six high schools. Remarks by senior agency staff and Fairfax County students, teachers, and administrators will address the place of the arts in an excellent education.
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