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Argument Set For March 28, 2017 in Transgender Bathroom Case

Oral argument in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., No. 16-273,  will occur on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 10:00 AM in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court will hear from counsel on two issues:  (1) If [the doctrine of Auer deference] is retained, should deference extend to an unpublished agency [U.S. Department of Education] letter … Continue Reading

Borrower Defense to Repayment Regulations Now Publicly Available

Though the controversial borrower defense to repayment proposed regulations will not be officially published until Thursday, June 16, 2016, a copy (530 pages) has been placed on public display at the Office of the Federal Register.  Earlier today the U.S. Department of Education issued a press release announcing the regulations. Voluminous comments can be expected from the … Continue Reading

House Implementation Hearing on Every Student Succeeds Act

Earlier today the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held its first hearing (“Next Steps for K-12 Education:  Implementing the Promise to Restore State and Local Control”) on the recently-enacted Every Student Succeeds Act.  The Act reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. It was my privilege … Continue Reading

Scope of Office for Civil Rights Enforcement Authority Questioned

“Behind the Scenes:  A Closer Look at OCR’s Enforcement Authority” questions the legal authority of the Office for Civil Rights to demand certain remedies as a condition for resolving Title IX sexual assault complaints against colleges and universities.  This short article discusses the enforement authority found in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, … Continue Reading

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Dear Colleague Letter: Notice and Comment Rulemaking Required

A little over a month ago the U. S. Department of Education released a draft FERPA Dear Colleague Letter (guidance) seeking public comments (due October 2, 2015) on its preliminary legal view that there are very limited circumstances whereby a university may share student medical records with its own legal counsel. Under the Department’s proposed … Continue Reading

HELP Committee Hearing on Ensuring College Affordability

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will focus upon ensuring college affordability at its hearing set for Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 10:00 AM in Room 430 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The hearing is one of several on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.   Witnesses include Dr. Judith Scott-Clayton, Assistant … Continue Reading

Federal Government’s Use of Regulatory Guidance Under Investigation

Earlier this month Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Chairman James Lankford (R-OK) of the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management announced their intent to investigate whether federal agencies are “skirting notice and comment laws” in their issuance of guidance documents.  Guidance documents … Continue Reading

House Subcommittee Hearing on College Access for Low-Income and First-Generation Students

The Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training of the House Ed & Workforce Committee will receive testimony on college access and completion at its hearing now set for Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 10:00 AM in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  The focus will be upon programs designed to assist low-income … Continue Reading

House Subcommittee Hearing on Native American Schools

In its continuing focus on elementary and secondary education, the House Ed and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education will hold a hearing on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 10:00 AM on the quality of education provided to Native American students at Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools.  The BIE provides–directly … Continue Reading

Feedback on Senate HELP Committee’s Three White Papers to Aid HEA Reauthorization

Today, the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions released three staff white papers seeking feedback from stakeholders and the public as a part of the Higher Education Act Reauthorization process.  The papers are titled Higher Education Accreditation (17 pages), Risk-Sharing/Skin-In-The-Game (9 pages), and Federal Postsecondary Data Transparency and Consumer Information (12 pages).  Each … Continue Reading

Title IX Letter from Two Commissioners, U.S. Civil Rights Commission

In a very poignant letter (9 pages) to the Chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations’ Committees and Subcommittees, Commissioners Gail Heriot and Peter Kirsanow of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights raise fundamental legal questions about actions of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education.   In a similar … Continue Reading

Ed and Workforce Committee Sets Higher Education Hearing

The House Education and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training has scheduled a hearing on “Strengthening America’s Higher Education System” for Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 10:00 AM in 2175 Rayburn House Office Building. Headlining the witness list is the Honorable Mitch Daniels, Jr. President of Purdue University.  Other witnesses include Dr. … Continue Reading

House Committee Approves H.R. 5, Student Success Act

Earlier today (February 11), the Committee on Education and the Workforce approved by a vote of 21-16 the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), a bill reauthorizing parts of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).  Familiar themes throughout the committee substitute are parental choice, the return of authority over school performance systems to … Continue Reading

Senate HELP Committee Off to Quick Start

Tomorrow (January 27, 2015), the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (“HELP”) Committee will hold its second hearing of the month on No Child Left Behind (NCLB)—this time the focus is teachers and school leaders.  The hearing begins at 10:00 AM in the Hart Senate Office Building, Room 216.   Witnesses include Dr. Dan Goldhaber, Director … Continue Reading

Omnibus Agreement to Fund Federal Government Through September 30, 2015

House and Senate negotiators reached agreement to fund federal departments and agencies for the balance of FY2015 (through September 30, 2015) yesterday.  Floor votes are expected within the next two-to-three days.  Titled the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015” (see Rules Committee Print 113-59 for text), the omnibus bill–for the most part–level funds the … Continue Reading

New CA State Law Limits Use of Student Education Data

Last week California enacted a new student privacy law–the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SB-1177)—limiting “operators” (defined term) of Internet Web sites, online services, online applications or mobile applications from using student information to create profiles about elementary or secondary school students, from selling student information, or from disclosing covered information.  This appears to … Continue Reading

House Education Committee To Mark-up Higher Education Bills

On Thursday, July 10, 2014, at 10:00 AM in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the House Education and Workforce Committee will take-up three bills that amend the Higher Education Act (HEA).  The first, H.R. 3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act, would allow schools as a part of a demonstration program, … Continue Reading

Detailed FY2015 Budget Table for Higher Education and Pre-K through 12 Funding

To follow-up on my budget post of yesterday (March 10, 2014), the small-print Department of Education-prepared table for the FY2015 budget can be a helpful resource for quickly tracking down proposed Pell Grant funding (discretionary and mandatory), Direct Loans, Federal Work-Study, public charter school grants, and even Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grants which interestingly, would … Continue Reading

Charter School Guidance on Weighted Lotteries Announced

On January 29, 2014 the Department of Education released updated charter school guidance to allow the use of weighted admission lotteries (see pp. 17-22).  Under weighted lotteries, charter schools that receive federal program funds may give more weight to educationally disadvantaged students, where more students apply to attend a charter than seats available.   In response to … Continue Reading

FY2014 Education Funding Agreed-to by Congress

Last week the House and Senate agreed upon funding levels for all federal departments and agencies, passing H.R. 3547, the $1.1 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014.  The legislation funds the government through September 30, 2014.  As of January 20, the bill awaits signature by the President. On the education front (starting at page 384 of … Continue Reading

Local Discipline on Front Burner of U.S. Department of Education

A few days ago the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released a lengthy Dear Colleague Letter (23 pages), Appendix of Recommendations for School Districts, Administrators, Teachers, and Staff (8 pages), Guiding Principles:  A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline (27 pages), and Appendix 2:  Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations for … Continue Reading

Senate Bill Presents New Option for Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions, Programs, and Individual Courses

Last week (January 9, 2014), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act, S. 1904, which would allow states to develop their own systems of accreditation of colleges and universities, programs, and individual higher education courses.  Lee’s press release states the legislation would not replace the current accreditation system, but simply … Continue Reading