CTE State Plans
Taxpayer Protection Rule
School Safety at Home
Title IX Regulations
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
CTE State Plans
On May 29, Secretary DeVos announced the approval of nine additional career and technical education (CTE) state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), which was signed into law by President Trump in 2018. Perkins V encourages states to expand opportunities for every student to access coursework that will put them on the path to success. Each state — Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming — crafted a plan to fulfill its promise of offering a robust CTE option for students, following consultation with its key constituents representing education and workforce, business and industry, and parents and community leaders.
One week earlier, the Secretary announced the first six state plan approvals, and more plans will be approved on a rolling basis.
The Department's press releases highlight several noteworthy elements from each of the approved plans.
States must periodically review and revise their plans throughout the four-year period, as necessary, to reflect changes in the state's goals and strategies.
Further details about the plans can be found on the agency's Perkins V State Plans web site.
Over the last two weeks, the White House, the Department of Education, and other federal agencies have released more guidance to support schools, educators, and families regarding COVID-19. Many of the new documents are listed below. The Department continues to update its COVID-19 information and resources web page with the most current information, and any questions for the Department may be directed to COVIDemail@example.com.
- Coronavirus.gov, CDC.gov/Coronavirus, and USA.gov/Coronavirus
- President's Guidelines for Opening Up America Again
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Coronavirus Rumor Control
- Certifications and Agreements under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act's Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
- Frequently Asked Questions on the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Requirements Applicable to CARES Act Programs
- Waiver Authority for the Period of Availability for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B Funds for Federal Fiscal Year 2018 memorandum and template
- Frequently Asked Questions for Non-CARES Act Competitive Grant Programs Administered by the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) in Response to COVID-19
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Recorded Stakeholder Call on Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education
- CDC Considerations for Overnight Camps and Youth Sports
- Department of Agriculture Ensures All Kids Can Get Free Meals This Summer as Nation Reopens
- Department of Health and Human Services Announces Enhanced Provider Portal, Relief Fund Payments for Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Providers, among others
- To help prevent prescription drug misuse: CDC's Put Your Prescription Medicines Up and Away, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Safe Opioid Disposal Toolkit, and the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Secure Your Meds
Meanwhile, Vice President Pence and Secretary DeVos led a discussion with the nation's governors on COVID-19 recovery efforts, with a focus on re-opening schools; Secretary DeVos was one of three Cabinet secretaries joining the Vice President on this week's White House briefing call for state and local officials ("Looking ahead just a few weeks to this fall...bottom line: school must be in session. It's critical to students, to families, to our economy."); First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary DeVos participated in a virtual meeting on social-emotional learning techniques and the mental health implications of COVID-19 as it relates to children and families; and Secretary DeVos and Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan hosted a web conference for stakeholders on the practical application of virtual learning with educators across the country.
Taxpayer Protection Rule
The Department recently issued a rule for public comment to help ensure that taxpayer-funded COVID-19 relief aid is distributed properly and does not flow to foreign nationals, non-citizens, and students who may be enrolled in ineligible education programs. The CARES Act establishes the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and requires at least 50% of that funding be allocated to students for emergency cash grants for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19, including course materials, technology, food, housing, health care, and child care. The interim final rule will provide certainty for institutions of higher education regarding which students are eligible to receive this funding.
By aligning student eligibility requirements for emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act with Higher Education Act (HEA) Title IV eligibility, which dictates which students can receive taxpayer-subsidized student grants or loans, foreign nationals and most other non-citizens would not be eligible, as well as those who are: (1) dual-enrolled in secondary school; (2) not meeting academic progress standards; (3) in default on a federal student loan or owe any refund relating to a federal student grant; (4) without a high school diploma, GED certification, or recognized equivalent or exception; or (5) in programs that are not Title IV-eligible.
The interim final rule will be published in the Federal Register on June 15 and remain open for comment for 30 days.
School Safety at Home
To support schools and families with protecting students in all settings and all times, including online and during "school at home," the Department-funded Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center created two new resources as part of a new publication series, TA Snapshots.
Cyber Safety Quick Links for Protecting Youth: Empowering Students to Become Responsible Digital Citizens and Engage Online Safely. This TA Snapshot provides key preparedness and response considerations during COVID-19 and gives school safety teams, families, and students practical steps and quick links to web sites offering cyber safety resources, tools, and training. Together, communities, led by school safety teams, can enhance their cyber safety knowledge and the capabilities of the whole school community.
Dear School Safety Partner: Cybersecurity and Cyber Safety. In this TA Snapshot, the center describes cybersecurity for schools and steps educators can take, with the collaboration of parents, to protect student privacy while safely increasing the use of digital learning and video-sharing platforms in response to COVID-19. School safety teams can learn about addressing the threats facing school and district networks and systems, as well as center resources for addressing cyber threats in the school at home setting.
Title IX Regulations
In a special May 29 message, Secretary DeVos provided an update on the Department's efforts to combat sexual misconduct in schools. "As many of you will remember, in September 2017, I publicly pledged to tackle head-on the scourge of sexual misconduct in our nation's schools and strengthen Title IX protections for all students. [O]ur team delivered on that promise," the Secretary emphasizes. "We published a new Title IX rule that protects all students, restores due process to campus proceedings, and ensures that all students are free to pursue an education free from sex discrimination."
The message shares a number of statements by educators, professors, legal scholars, and editorial boards "from all over the country and from differing backgrounds" that have come out in "strong support of our work on this important issue."
"We remain steadfast in our commitment and efforts to ensure Title IX's promise of equal access to education for all," she concludes. "The finalization of this rule marks the beginning of a new chapter in that effort, one strengthened by clear and fully enforceable obligations for schools to follow. We can and must continue to fight sexual misconduct in our nation's schools, and this rule makes certain that fight continues."
Odds and Ends
- The President (remarks) and Secretary (tweet) observed the resumption of human spaceflight from U.S. soil with the SpaceX launch.
- The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program surveyed its 2019 honorees about their distance learning strategies and produced an infographic summarizing the feedback.
- The Department's Office of Educational Technology (OET) revised its Federal Funding for Technology web page to include references to the CARES Act and other funding opportunities.
- June 2, 2020, marked the 100th anniversary of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. The Department's Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) paid tribute to this occasion by releasing a video showcasing how the VR program changed the lives of students and adults with disabilities. Additional resources can be found on the VR 100th anniversary web site.
- Also, RSA is seeking qualified peer reviewers with VR expertise in working with individuals who are blind, quality program management, and cultural competency for upcoming grant competitions. Reviewers must be able to participate in review panels and provide written analysis and scoring of applications. To be considered, send a resume (maximum five pages) to RSAPeerReview@ed.gov.
- A new National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Data Point examines formal school policies that outline law enforcement officers' roles and responsibilities and considers whether these policies align with those activities that officers participate in while at school.
- NCES' "Projections of Education Statistics to 2028" provides national data on enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures at the elementary and secondary education level and enrollment and degrees at the postsecondary level for the past 15 years and projections to year 2028.
- On June 4, the President announced his intent to appoint two additional individuals as members of the Commission on Presidential Scholars.
Quote to Note
"Like many of you, the events of the past week have deeply and profoundly disturbed me. So much of what we have seen fails to live up to what we should expect of each other and what is appropriate and acceptable in the greatest country on earth. I join with all Americans whose hearts ache for the family of George Floyd. Their loss and their pain is immeasurable — as are the wounds it stirs anew. Racism and bigotry have no place in our nation or our world, and racial injustices must come to an end. As a nation, we can and must do better, especially for our children. We must model the behaviors we want them to emulate as we teach them to love and respect one another…. As a nation, we need to pause and hear — loudly and clearly — the voices of those who have peacefully protested. They call us all to remember what is right and just. They call us to do better by one another. Likewise, we must reject those who have sought to hijack this noble cause and instead instigate violence and destruction. They do a disservice to all, but most of all to those who are rightly crying out for justice…. Our strength has always been derived from combining what makes each of us unique to form something greater. E pluribus unum."
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (6/5/20), in a message to Department staff in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd
The Department's science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) briefing series will resume June 23, 2-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The next session will cover STEM and distance education. What are some of the best practices discerned since schools closed? What does the future look like for online STEM education? Anyone may watch live or the archived session. (Note: For previous briefings, visit the agency's STEM landing page.)
The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Research Network, supported by IES, is accepting applications for its first Training Institute, to be held virtually August 17-21. This intensive training will build the capacity of researchers to plan and conduct high-quality impact studies of CTE programs, practices, and policies. Participants will learn from experienced researchers and experts in research methodology.
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