Foxx Begins a Free-Swinging Debate on Student Loans

by Emily Wilkins

01.26.18   Think of a hammock. A luxurious hammock. A luxurious, $1.4 trillion dollar student debt hammock. Rep. Virginia Foxx, (R-N.C.) chairwoman of the House's education committee, compared the current higher education law to a "luxurious hammock in which students can repose, accessing subsidized student loans with few if any credit checks or examination of their ability to repay." The statement was immediately criticized after it appeared in an op-ed this week in the Washington Times that was co-auth… Continue Reading

Congress Plans to Bolster Technical Training. But First: Safeguards

by Michelle Hackman

01.26.18   A bipartisan push to bolster short-term training and certificate programs has prompted a debate in Congress over how to ensure it doesn't spawn a proliferation of shoddy programs or steer minorities into lower-paying fields. A Republican rewrite of the Higher Education Act, passed by a House committee last month, would provide more loans and grants for students entering these programs. The training costs less than traditional degrees and equips students with technical skills that translate dire… Continue Reading

Democrats Call For Tougher Labor Standards in NAFTA Renegotiation

by Ian Kullgren

01.24.18   House Democrats today asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to negotiate tougher labor standards for Mexico in NAFTA. "Mexico's policy of suppressed low wages, combined with increased protection investment, became a magnet for its industrial growth," Democrats wrote in a letter. "A key factor has been the maintenance of very low labor costs, ingrained in a structure that eliminates any voices for workers in the workplace. The current objectives in the NAFTA renegotiation, and recent… Continue Reading

House Democrats Want Investigation Into Fake Public Comments on Rules

by Andrew Hanna

01.24.18   Four ranking House Democrats urged the DOJ and FBI to investigate fake public comments on proposed federal regulations, including DOL's fiduciary rule. In a letter sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray, House Democrats warned "at least five agencies have been the target of falsely generated rulemaking comments," with DOL the latest to be affected. The signatories - Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Bobby Scott (D-… Continue Reading

House Dems Ask DOJ, FBI to Include All Agencies in Fake Comments Investigation

by Lydia Wheeler

01.24.18   House Democrats are calling on the Justice Department to expand any planned investigation into the hundreds of fake comments that appeared on the FCC's net neutrality rule to rulemakings from all agencies. In a letter Wednesday, Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray to expand the previous request it received to investigate the potentially illegal submission o… Continue Reading

When Dreamers and Black Colleges Meet, American Success Stories Are Made

by Harry L. Williams

01.22.18   There are a number of complexities surrounding our national conversation on immigration, and one of the most visible examples involves the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Approximately 800,000 undocumented individuals are participants in this initiative, with an estimated 160,000 believed to be presently enrolled in colleges and universities across the country. These students are representative of one of the strongest threads in the fabric of America's story of greatness;… Continue Reading

Democrats Ask Trump to Invest in Fixing Crumbling School Infrastructure

by Joy Resmovits

01.17.18   Many of the nation's schools are crumbling, according to 150 Democratic members of Congress. They want President Trump to help change that. On Wednesday, the lawmakers, including Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, sent a letter to Trump, asking him to support legislation Scott wrote last year to invest $100 billion in school upgrades. "In addition to upgrading our bridges and roads, we must also invest in the critical infrastructure that affects every city and town in the nation - our public school… Continue Reading

Ranking House Education Democrat Meets For The First Time With DeVos

by Caitlin Emma

01.11.18   The ranking Democrat on the House education committee says he met with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos today to discuss education issues and feels "reaffirmed ... that we share a common goal." "Secretary DeVos and I will not always agree on the best ways to achieve that goal," Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia said in a statement. "But I am confident there are areas, like expanding access to quality career and technical education including apprenticeships, where we can work together." Scott's offic… Continue Reading

Rep. Scott Urges DeVos to Keep Obama-Era School Discipline Guidance

by Evie Blad

01.11.18   Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat and ranking member of the House education committee, urged U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Thursay not to scrap a directive issued by the Obama administration with the aim of driving down disproportionately high discipline rates for students of color. That 2014 civil rights guidance, which has been criticized as too heavy-handed by some conservative organizations, is key to "dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline," Scott said in a statement after… Continue Reading

Jeff Bezos Deemed Richest Man in World While Amazon Warehouse Workers Suffer Grueling Conditions

by Nicole Karlis

01.09.18   Amazon's soaring stock this year has granted Jeff Bezos a title of a lifetime: the richest man in the world. Some claim that he's the richest man in history. While that's debatable, Bezos is a very wealthy man and is likely to only going to get wealthier. According to Bloomberg's billionaire tracker, Bezos' total net worth is $105 billion. This week alone, CNN reports he's added $1.4 billion to his fortune; Amazon stock increased 1.4 percent on Monday and Bezos reportedly own 78.9 mill… Continue Reading

We Can Draw School Zones To Make Classrooms Less Segregated. This Is How Well Your District Does.

by Alvin Chang

01.08.18   Think about your elementary school. If you attended an American public school, chances are you went to that school because your family lived in that school's attendance zone. You probably didn't think twice about it. We tend to assume these are neutrally drawn, immutable borders. But if you take a step back and look at the demographics of who lives in each attendance zone, you're faced with maps like this: Once you look at the school attendance zones this way, it becomes clearer why these lin… Continue Reading

The Trump Administration’s Hidden Attacks on the Affordable Care Act

by Larry Levitt

01.05.18   Most observers of health policy news would be excused for being more than a bit confused about the current state of the Affordable Care Act. The Republican effort to repeal and replace the ACA last year stalled, suggesting that the law was here to stay. Then, seemingly out of the blue, the ACA's individual mandate penalty was repealed as part of the tax bill, prompting President Trump to declare that "we have essentially repealed Obamacare, and we'll come up with something that will be much bet… Continue Reading

Concerns Mount Over K-12 Education Plans

by Lauren Camera

01.03.18   As states cement education plans for their schools under the federal K-12 law, the Department of Education is working furiously to assess them amid mounting concerns about states' commitment to following the law, their proposals to ensure historically disadvantaged students have access to quality education, and the department's capacity - and in some cases, lack of desire - to police it all. The Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, gives states new flexibility to create accountability syste… Continue Reading

Fitch Ratings: Tax Bill Could Squeeze School Districts, Colleges and Universities

by Caitlin Emma

12.20.17   The GOP tax overhaul will squeeze school districts and pressure colleges and universities, Fitch Ratings said in a statement released today. The credit reporting agency said the cap on state and local tax deductions will hit residents in high-taxed states harder, and as a result, they "may have less tolerance for higher state and local taxes in the future." "Less revenue-raising flexibility could limit growth in state and local spending and have negative implications for entities that rely on … Continue Reading

College That Charges No Tuition Loses Out In Tax Bill

by Michael Stratford

12.19.17   A provision meant to protect a Christian college in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's home state was scratched Tuesday when Republicans made last-minute tweaks to their tax bill after a procedural glitch. The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday evening on a revised bill that removes a provision that had excluded Berea College in Berea, Ky. from a new 1.4 percent tax on private university endowments. Berea does not charge tuition and enrolls low-income students. The endowment tax, under t… Continue Reading

The GOP Tax Bill Guts Obamacare and Will Leave More People Uninsured

by Alex Lubben

12.19.17   The House of Representatives passed the Republican tax plan Tuesday, a $1.5 trillion package of permanent tax cuts for corporations and temporary ones for some individuals. The Senate is expected to follow suit this afternoon, and send the bill to President Trump's desk. But aside from lowering corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, and the rate on America's wealthiest individuals to 37 percent from 39.6 percent, the bill is a sweeping re-write of the Obama-era health law Obamacare, … Continue Reading

DeVos Delays Rule on Racial Disparities in Special Education

by Erica Green

12.15.17   The Department of Education is proposing to delay for two years an Obama-era rule that requires states to aggressively address racial biases that may be channeling disproportionate numbers of minority children into special education. The department is soliciting public comment on its plan to postpone enforcement of the so-called "significant disproportionality rule," due to take effect July 1, 2018. The rule, which was issued in the last weeks of the Obama administration, required states to lo… Continue Reading

Death in the Trench

by Jim Morris

12.14.17   In the front yard of a ranch-style house at 2812 Toluca Avenue stands an evergreen tree perhaps four feet high. It marks, by chance, the approximate location of Jim Spencer's death. Few have reason to know this. One who does is Spencer's wife, Cheryl, who has parked her Dodge Durango across the street on a late summer morning but does not get out. She was here on the afternoon of March 21, 2016, when the house was under construction. Her husband, a plumber, had been on his knees, la… Continue Reading

Under Trump, Union Election Rules Could Be Tilted In Employers’ Favor

by Dave Jamieson

12.12.17   Three years ago, federal officials overhauled the way union elections proceed in the workplace, streamlining the process to give employers less time to pressure workers not to join. The reform was long sought by labor groups who hoped the changes could make it a little easier to unionize. But now, President Donald Trump has reshaped the National Labor Relations Board, the agency that oversees union elections. With a new conservative majority, the board is considering scrapping the worker-fr… Continue Reading

House GOP Higher Ed Bill Moves Ahead, Despite Cries To Slow Down

by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel

12.12.17   House Republicans are pressing ahead with a sweeping overhaul of the federal law that governs almost every aspect of higher education, without hearings and despite mounting pressure to provide more time for analysis and input. On Tuesday, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce considered amendments to the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform Act, introduced by Chairman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.). The process known… Continue Reading

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