Fwd: Whiteboard Notes | ACE Names Next President; Senators Propose New DREAM Act; NH Governor Signs Full-Day Kindergarten Bill

Congress & Administration
Senators Propose New DREAM Act: Today, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Dream Act of 2017, a new version of the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act that has been continuously introduced in Congress since 2001. The new bill was designed to provide more permanent protections for people currently covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Like previous versions, the bill would provide a path to citizenship for eligible persons through serving in the military or going to college for at least two years, but it would also expand citizenship opportunities to immigrants through employment or “hardship” exceptions for full-time caregivers of minor children. The bill would additionally give states new authority to offer in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. President Trump announced that he will oppose the new bill, and he has until September 5 to either rescind DACA or face a court challenge from 10 states.

House Panel Approves Legislation to Expand GI Bill Benefits: The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously approved legislation to expand the educational benefits offered to veterans and their families under the GI Bill. The legislation would eliminate, for new enlistees, a 15-year time limit that veterans have to use the benefits. Lawmakers also approved an amendment to fully restore the educational benefits of student veterans who were affected by the closures of Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has said the House will pass the legislation before leaving for the August recess.

House Committee Rejects Pell Grant Increase, Other Funding Amendments: The House Appropriations Committee voted down an amendment to the FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill that would have increased the size of Pell Grants available to students. This would be the first time in six years that Pell Grants have not increased in value and comes on top of a proposed move to take an additional $3.3 billion from the program’s surplus to fund other initiatives. The committee also voted down proposed amendments that would have increased funding to some of the worst hit programs in the proposed spending bill, including for Title II teacher-assistance and training programs, which currently bear the brunt of the $2.4 billion in cuts facing the Department of Education. Other amendments that fund programs from arts education to early childhood care, and an effort to have TRIO grant programs re-evaluated with more relaxed requirements, were similarly either rejected or deferred, despite bipartisan support. 

States, Districts, & Colleges
Mitchell to lead American Council on Education: Ted Mitchell,  US. Under Secretary of Education during the Obama administration and former president of Occidental College, will be the next president of the American Council on Education (ACE). Mitchell is replacing Molly Broad, who plans to retire in October after leading the organization for nine years. ACE represents nearly 1,800 college and university presidents. In an interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education, Mitchell said his top priority will be countering the "narrative that college doesn’t matter anymore for individuals and society." Mitchell will assume his new role on September 1.

Idaho Task Force Calls for Increased State Aid for Workforce Development: Idaho’s Workforce Development Task Force, commissioned in January 2017 by Governor Butch Otter (R), has released a report with recommendations for alleviating the state’s skilled worker shortage. The report notes that Idaho is on track to face almost 50,000 unfilled jobs by 2024, and outlines short- and long-term actions around 9 recommendations for supporting workforce development. Recommendations include expanding the role of the Workforce Development Council, increasing the funding and scope of the state’s popular Workforce Training Centers, providing more state funding for high school career and technical programs, and creating a state-funded scholarship program to help workers afford technical skills education. The task force also calls for greater collaboration between state agencies like the state Board of Education and Departments of Labor and Commerce, as well as partnerships between state agencies, industry groups, and secondary education providers.
Illinois Governor, Legislature Disagree On Education Spending: After overcoming a two-year state budget impasse earlier this month, the Illinois legislature has turned its attention to education funding. Governor Rauner (R) has called for the legislature’s leadership to send him an education funding formula bill that passed the House and Senate in May and indicated this week that he plans to veto the legislation. The bill includes $215 million for Chicago Public Schools pension assistance, which Governor Rauner has suggested should be directed to rural and suburban classrooms throughout the state instead. If the Governor vetoes the bill, lawmakers could still overturn his action with enough votes from both sides of the aisle.
New Hampshire Governor Signs Full-Day Kindergarten Bill: Governor Chris Sununu (R) of New Hampshire signed legislation last week providing state funding for full-day kindergarten programs. The law, which will provide an additional $1,100 per student per year, combines with previous legislation to cover about 80% of the cost for full-day programs. The initiative, which will go into effect in 2019, fulfills a campaign promise by Sununu, but some critics oppose its dependence on lottery revenues and argue that it doesn’t go far enough to make full-day kindergarten available across the state.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Proposes School Funding and Teacher Pay Reform: Last week, in advance of the start of the legislature’s special session this Tuesday, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) unveiled a $700 million education funding proposal. The proposed plan would reallocate funding to provide bonuses to long-term and retired teachers, boost the Teacher Retirement System, and support rural and fast-growing schools and districts. In the short term, funding would come from deferring dollars away from managed care organizations, and, in the long term, would be allocated from the Texas lottery. Governor Greg Abbott (R), who recently announced a 20-item agenda for the legislature’s special session, has expressed support for Patrick’s efforts.