Whiteboard Notes | Gainful Employment Repeal; New Report on State Financial Aid Redesign; New Jersey Requires Daily Recess

Proposed Bill Would Measure How Tech Affects Children: Congress is considering a bill that would fund $95 million over five years for National Institute of Health research on the effects of technology and media on children’s development, according to Education Week. The proposal has gained bipartisan support, although similar bills failed to gain Congressional approval in 2007 and 2005. If passed, the bill will fund the study of the wide-ranging effects of technological inputs including social media, applications, television, motion pictures, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality. [Education Week, Subscription Required]
 
Federal grants to help schools affected by natural disasters: The U.S. Department of Educationannounced this week that it has allocated $174 million in federal grant aid to assist Texas schools educating students who were displaced by Hurricane Harvey. These funds will come out of a $359.8 million federal grant program being used to assist 21 states and territories with the costs of educating students displaced by last year’s devastating storms--though the storm-ravaged territory of Puerto Rico has not yet been offered a share in this allocation. [Houston Chronicle, Subscription Required]
 
Education Department’s ‘Gainful Employment’ Repeal Price Tag: The Trump Administration’s proposal to repeal Obama-era financial aid regulations could cost up to $5.3 billion over the next decade, according to a U.S. Department of Education analysis.  Roll Call reported the proposal would rescind a 2014 rule requiring colleges and universities to ensure that graduates maintain a low debt-to-income ratio in order to maintain federal aid eligibility for their students. The proposal is open for public comment for 30-days before the Department will finalize the regulation. [Roll Call]

 

Idaho Board of Ed Approves Use of Student Surveys to Measure School Quality: Yesterday, Idaho’s State Board of Education approved the continued use and expansion of student surveys as part of the state’s accountability system according to Idaho Ed News. During the 2017-2018 school year, student surveys were piloted in grades 3-8, and with the board’s approval they will now be used across elementary, junior, and senior high schools as a school quality indicator for the 2018-2019 school year. [Idaho Ed News]
 
New Jersey Requires Daily Recess for K-5 Students: On Friday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) signed into law a measure that requires schools to provide at least twenty minutes of recess every day to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The bill has come before the state legislature several times over the past decade. The first iteration was introduced during the 2008-2009 legislative session. In 2015, it passed in both the House and the Senate, but was pocket vetoed by Governor Chris Christie (R).

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Providence Public Schools to Improve ELL Programming: The Providence Public Schools pledged to improve and expand services for English language learners under the terms of a newly signed settlement with the Department of Justice. The district has allocated $1.1 billion of its budget toward English language programming and personnel for the coming school year. Providence has agreed to identify and place all English learners in programs suitable to their needs, to communicate effectively with parents, to provide services to students with disabilities, and to hire certified teachers. [The Providence Journal]
 
Washington Introduces an Updated Disciplinary Policy: School districts in Washington State willimplement new disciplinary policies over the course of the next two school years in an effort to limit the amount of expulsions and suspensions. Under the new model, schools are encouraged to use best practice disciplinary procedures and to increase communication and engagement among parents, families, and communities. Washington joins states including, California, New York, Minnesota, Texas, and Illinois in prohibiting out of school suspensions among younger students. [Yakima Herald]

 

Washington STEM Majors Increased Over the Last 10 Years: Washington’s Education Research and Data Center new data show the increase of students majoring in STEM disciplines since the end of the recession. In 2016-17, when the latest data was available, students majoring in computer science have more than tripled, chemical engineering has increased by 77%, electrical engineering increased by 101%, and mechanical engineering increased by 132% since 2007-08. Meanwhile over the past ten years history majors in Washington have decreased by 41%. The STEM ratio of men to women majoring in STEM is 60:40, which has not changed over the last 10 years. [The Seattle Times]