On Friday morning, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved legislation to reauthorize and expand the District of Columbia voucher program, known as the D.C. Opportunity Scholarships program. The Committee approved the legislation by voice vote. After a lengthy debate over the legislation on March 8, titled the "Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act," the Committee vote was postponed to this morning, March 10th.
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This week, the U.S. Senate voted to repeal two regulatory packages finalized in the last months of the Obama Administration. On Wednesday, the Senate voted to approve H.J.Res. 58 by a vote of 59-40. The resolution repeals teacher preparation regulations finalized by the Obama Administration last year. On February 7th, the House of Representatives approved of the measure 240-181.
On Monday evening, House Republicans released the American Health Care Act to repeal and replace sections the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). The bill makes several changes to sections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including a rollback of the Medicaid expansion authorized by the ACA and a restructure of the way States will receive Medicaid funding.
The House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education convened a hearing this week to discuss the state of career and technical education (CTE) and the changes needed to strengthen CTE, from curricula and practical workplace learning opportunities for students to broader partnerships among school districts, institutions of higher education and business/industry.
This week, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) filed two bills aimed at addressing teacher shortages in rural school districts and in Indian country. The two bills, the Rural Educator Support and Training Act (REST) and the Native Educator and Support Training Act (NEST), authorize the U.S. Department of Education to administer programs that incentivize teachers to serve in rural schools or schools located in Indian country.
Last week, NSBA expressed support for the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act, introduced by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA). The bill establishes a federal structure to help schools navigate federal programs and financing options. Additionally, the bill requires the Department of Energy to initiate, develop, and finance energy efficiency, renewable energy and retrofitting projects for schools.
U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) recently introduced the Choices in Education Act of 2017 (H.R. 610), which if passed into law, would repeal the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and create a voucher program to allow federal funds to be used for public and private schools or homeschooling. Additional provisions in H.R. 610 are as follows:
Limits the authority of the Department of Education to only award block grants to qualified states.
On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing on Providing Vulnerable Youth the Hope of a Brighter Future Through Juvenile Justice Reform. The Committee discussed various ways to reform the juvenile justice system to provide aid to at-risk students and promote safe communities and schools.
The following individuals served as witnesses:
On Thursday, Republican leaders on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce submitted a letter to head of the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Betsy DeVos, reiterating the intent of the Committee to hold the Administration accountable to the American people.
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal Accountability and State Plan regulations finalized by the U.S. Department of Education last November to implement provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The measure, H.J. Res. 57, was approved by the House Committee on Rules Tuesday evening around 5:30 p.m. The Committee's vote was divided along party lines, with eight Republicans voting for the repeal and three Democrats voting against. The House approved the measure 234-190.