January 10, 2020
Congress Preparing for Busy Work Period
On Monday, Congress returned to Washington for the first full week of the second session of the 116thCongress. The Senate and House education committees did not hold any hearings this week, but we expect the House committee to turn attention to policy discussions about homeless youth, apprenticeship initiatives, and other issues during the remainder of January. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee has not yet announced plans for the first part of the session. The fiscal year 2021 education appropriations process will also be underway soon.
OCR and OSERs Host Seclusion and Restraint Webinar for School Districts
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) hosted a webinar, “Students with Disabilities and the Use of Restraint and Seclusion in K-12 Public Schools,” as technical assistance to support children with disabilities and those within school systems serving students. The webinar is a component of an initiative announced by Secretary DeVos in January 2019 to explore the possible inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in schools.
U.S. Department of Education Invites Public Comment on State Assessment Grants
The U.S. Department of Education invited public comment on proposed priorities for the Competitive Grants for State Assessments (CGSA) program. The department said the proposed priorities are designed to encourage state education agencies to consider new approaches to the State assessment systems. The priorities build on the flexibility in ESEA Sec. 1204, which establishes the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA). The priorities would allow states to use CGSA funds to “improve alignment with and support related work through the IADA.” Public comments are due by February 7, 2020, and interested district leaders can access further information about the priorities here.
U.S. Department of Education Announces Preschool Development Grant State Winners
The Department of Education awarded planning grants to six states and territories (Wisconsin, Wyoming, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico) and renewal grants to 20 states (California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington) through the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five program. The Department of Education also noted that the additional $25 million appropriated for the program in FY20 will allow for three more states to receive funding once funds are made available to the Department.