Students’ math scores drop for years after using a private school voucher in country’s largest program

by Matt Barnum

08.09.18   Low-income students who use a voucher to attend private school in Indiana see their math scores drop for several years as a result, according to a new study. The findings are a blow to the argument that poor students benefit from the choice to attend a private school, a policy championed by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. "Our results do not provide robust support that the [voucher program] has been successful to date at improving student achievement for low-income students who us… Continue Reading

Democrats: Show Us the Science Behind Child Labor Rule

by Ben Penn

08.01.18   The Trump administration might be moving to let teenagers work in health-care jobs that involve "hazardous" machine-operated patient lifts, without relying on updated scientific research about the risks, dozens of House Democrats say. "We are unaware of any formal review by" the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health on this proposed rule, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and 46 other Democrats said in an Aug. 1 letter to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and Office of Management and Budg… Continue Reading

DeVos Proposes to Curtail Debt Relief for Defrauded Students

by Erica Green

07.25.18   WASHINGTON - Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed on Wednesday to curtail Obama administration loan forgiveness rules for students defrauded by for-profit colleges, requiring that student borrowers show they have fallen into hopeless financial straits or prove that their colleges knowingly deceived them. The DeVos proposal, set to go in force a year from now, would replace Obama-era policies that sought to ease access to loan forgiveness for students who were left saddled with debt after tw… Continue Reading

The Democratic Alternative

by Andrew Kreighbaum

07.25.18   Just in time for midterm election season, Democrats in the House of Representatives on Tuesday released details of a comprehensive higher education bill they say will ensure every student has the chance to get a postsecondary education without debt. The bill has no chance of passage with Republicans in control of Congress and the White House. But Democrats plan to contrast the proposals in the bill with GOP legislation to overhaul the Higher Education Act. And the bill signals where Democrats m… Continue Reading

Debt-Free College? House Democrats Introduce Higher Education Bill

by Susan Svrluga

07.24.18   House Democrats this week are expected to unveil a sweeping plan to make college more affordable by reducing debt and simplifying financial aid. The Democrats' plan would also endeavor to boost graduation rates. The proposal counters a Republican bill that aims to overhaul the law that dictates the federal government's role in higher education. The Higher Education Act, originally passed in 1965, is supposed to be renewed every five years but was last reauthorized a decade ago. The debate has b… Continue Reading

Dems, Staffers Concerned Labor Board Buyouts Could Undermine Agency

by Hassan Kanu

07.24.18   Staffers inside the federal labor board and some Democrats on Capitol Hill are concerned that President Donald Trump's appointees are working to slim down the agency to a level that would significantly hinder its ability to perform its mission. The concern isn't new. But worker advocates and National Labor Relations Board employee representatives say they suspect the labor board's top prosecutor shifted away from earlier reorganization proposals, possibly in response to a barrage of criticism f… Continue Reading

Do You Have a Social Security Card? Then Take This Executive Order Personally.

by Marilyn Zahm

07.18.18   Marilyn Zahm, an administrative law judge who hears Social Security cases in Buffalo, is the president of the Association of Administrative Law Judges, which represents the administrative law judges employed at the Social Security Administration. Do you have a Social Security card? If you do, you should be concerned about how a recent executive order signed by President Trump could affect you. On July 10, the White House released an executive order ending a merit-based system for selecting fed… Continue Reading

Rollback of Affirmative Action Guidelines Could Reshape K-12 School Districts

by Michelle Hackman

07.14.18   WASHINGTON-The Trump administration's recent decision to roll back affirmative action guidelines sent a ripple through the nation's colleges and universities, but it will also likely have a far-reaching impact on K-12 schools. Public school districts across the country have long wrestled with how to desegregate their schools in ways supported by the law, which forbids districts from using the race of individual students to determine their placement. During the Obama administration, their effor… Continue Reading

Trump Officials Slash Grants That Help Consumers Get Obamacare

by Robert Pear

07.11.18   WASHINGTON - The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it was slashing grants to nonprofit organizations that help people obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the latest step in an escalating attack on the law that threatens to destabilize its insurance markets. The cuts are the second round in two years. The government will provide $10 million this fall, down from $36 million last autumn and $63 million in late 2016 - a total reduction of more than 80 percent. Trump… Continue Reading

Democrats, Advocacy Groups Pan Order Moving Administrative Judges Out of Competitive Service

by Erich Wagner

07.11.18   This story has been updated to include comments from lawmakers. President Trump's executive order giving broader latitude to agency heads in hiring administrative law judges drew swift opposition from advocacy groups and Democrats in Congress on Wednesday. The order, signed Tuesday, pulls ALJs out of the competitive service, where candidates are vetted by the Office of Personnel Management, and moves them into the excepted service, where agency heads are able to set their own criteria for hiri… Continue Reading

How Do Hungry Kids Get Food After School's Out? Summer Program Fills Gap in Richmond

by Justin Mattingly

07.10.18   Shortly after noon on Tuesday, the utility room of the Bellmeade Community Center in Richmond's South Side turned into a de facto lunch room. Four rows of folding tables filled the middle of the space, with dozens of elementary school-age children lining their sides. Just like during the school year, the children laughed and played with one another. They also got lunch - a sandwich with fruits and vegetables, and milk to wash it down - for no charge. The community center borders Oak Grove-Bell… Continue Reading

Child Immigrants in Federal Custody Are Entitled to Education. Here's How It Works.

by Mark Keierleber

07.06.18   In a letter to Trump Administration officials, Democrats on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce are demanding answers about the education services provided to unaccompanied minors housed in shelters. That includes about 2,000 migrant children who were separated from their parents at the border and remain in federal custody. In the Thursday letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other cabinet secretaries, the lawmakers note a federal court settlement requires the governmen… Continue Reading

Trump Didn't Gut Affirmative Action, But Its Future Is Far From Secure

by The Editorial Board

07.04.18   The Trump administration's decision to withdraw an Obama-era "guidance document" encouraging colleges to take race into account in their decisions about admissions is disappointing though not surprising. This is an administration that lacks a commitment to meaningful racial diversity in education or to the kind of affirmative action policies that encourage it. Fortunately, Tuesday's actions by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions don't alter the law. The Supreme Court decisions the Obama administration rel… Continue Reading

'Fundamental Shift' Needed To Protect Miners From Deadly Black Lung

by Howard Berkes

06.28.18   New and tougher rules designed to protect coal miners from the coal and silica dust that causes the fatal disease black lung may not be enough to stem an "epidemic" of the worst stages of the disease or the highest rates of disease in central Appalachia in 25 years. That's the conclusion of a review of the federal government's latest efforts to keep coal miners from being exposed to excessive and toxic amounts of the dust they create as they cut into coal seams. The review, released Thursday f… Continue Reading

Thinking About an Association Health Plan? Read the Fine Print

by Michelle Andrews

06.26.18   If you own a restaurant, plumbing company or other small business, you may be intrigued by the expected expansion of association health plans under a new rule that got a stamp of approval from the Trump administration last week. Will they meet your needs? Save you money? Those are important questions for small businesses and self-employed people who struggle to buy affordable insurance for themselves and their workers. Federal officials said the new rule would help level the playing field for… Continue Reading

First-Generation College Students More Engaged Than Their Peers

by Ashley Smith

06.26.18   Popular perceptions of first-generation college students as being unsure about college and academically unprepared to succeed may not be true. New research from Campus Labs, a higher education data collection and software company, examined the noncognitive skills of first-generation students and compared them to their multigenerational peers, finding that first-generation students are more engaged and committed to their education. "Based on the literature, one would have negative assumptions a… Continue Reading

White House Wants to Merge Education, Labor Departments: 'When Everybody is in Charge, Nobody is in Charge'

by Erin Dooley

06.21.18   In a move that hearkens back to 1995, the Trump White House Thursday proposedmerging the federal Departments of Education and Labor. "They're doing the same thing," Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said of the two existing departments at a Cabinet meeting Thursday afternoon. "Trying to get people ready for the workforce, sometimes it's education, sometimes it's vocational training - but all doing the same thing, so why not put them in the same place?" "When everybody is i… Continue Reading

ACA Lawsuit Could Jeopardize 52 Million Americans' Access to Health Care

by Carolyn Y. Johnson

06.08.18   An obscure district court lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act became a potent threat to one of the law's most popular provisions late Thursday, when the Justice Department filed a brief arguing that as of Jan. 1, 2019, the protections for people with preexisting conditions should be invalidated. The Justice Department argued the judge should strike down the section of the law that protects people buying insurance from being charged higher premiums because of their health history. The news ral… Continue Reading

Dems Blast DOJ for 'Stunning Attack on the Rule of Law' in ObamaCare Case

by Peter Sullivan

06.08.18   Top Democrats on the House's health-care committees denounced the Trump administration on Friday for a "stunning attack on the rule of law" after the Justice Department declined to defend ObamaCare in court on Thursday. "The Justice Department's refusal to defend the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) in federal court is a stunning attack on the rule of law, the stability of our health care system, and Americans' access to affordable health care," said Reps. Bobby Scott (Va.), Frank Pallone Jr. (N… Continue Reading

CNN Obtains Report Showing Fund for Coal Miners with Black Lung is in Trouble

by Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield

06.04.18   A US government fund that helps coal miners sickened with black lung disease is beset by billions of dollars in debt, according to a government watchdog report obtained by CNN. Now, some congressional leaders worry the miners could lose their benefits. More than 14,000 miners depend on the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund to pay their medical bills and help with other expenses when they're too sick to work. The report from the US Government Accountability Office finds that by 2050, the tru… Continue Reading

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