Whiteboard Notes | Governors Push for Investments in Early Childhood Education; School-Family Partnerships Boost SEL

House Democrats to Reintroduce Rebuild America’s School Act:  On Tuesday, the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee held their first session of the 116th Congress. A key piece of legislation they intend to introduce this session is the Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2019. The bill would put $70 billion in grants and $30 billion in bonds toward improving schools, with a priority given to the schools in worst condition and those serving high numbers of low-income students. Funds can also be used for technology upgrades related to broadband connectivity. [The 74]
 
New House Subcommittee Created On Civil Rights and Human Services: The U.S. House Education and Labor Committee unanimously elected Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) to serve as Chair of the newly-created Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee (CRHS). As Chair, Bonamici will lead the subcommittee in advancing policies on civil rights, equal employment opportunities, human service programs, nutrition programs, the Older Americans Act. In a statement, the Congresswoman stated, “The Trump administration has been undermining rather than protecting, the civil rights of students and workers. I take seriously the obligation of Congress to ensure equity, hold institutions accountable, and provide meaningful oversight of the Education Department, the Department of Labor, and the Trump administration.” [Office of Congresswoman Bonamici]

ED Issues Proposed Supplement Not Supplant Guidance: Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released proposed non-regulatory guidance to the Every Student Succeeds Act about the requirement known as "supplement, not supplant." The requirement was meant to ensure that poorer students get their fair share of state and local education funding by requiring that the federal education funds enhance, but not replace, state and local funds. The Department said in a press release that the requirement "had become restrictive and burdensome." Secretary DeVos said the guidance makes clear to districts that they have "significant flexibility" when it comes to spending, but that the proposed guidance does not change the legal obligations that school districts have to make appropriate investments in education. [U.S. Department of Education]

California Proposes New Entity for Higher Education Planning and Coordination: California lawmakers are considering a bill that would create a new entity to coordinate postsecondary education in the state. According to the legislation, AB 130, the Office of Higher Education Performance and Accountability would advise the Governor, the Legislature, and other appropriate governmental officials and institutions of postsecondary education on state goals and priorities for higher education. It would also act as a clearinghouse for postsecondary education information, and would review and make recommendations regarding cross-segmental and interagency initiatives and programs. The bill was referred to the Assembly Higher Education Committee on January 24 and is currently pending further action.
 
New Mexico Legislators Consider CTE Pilot: Legislation that would create a seven-year pilot project for career and technical education is moving through the New Mexico legislature. According to the bill,HB 91, the pilot would allow the New Mexico Public Education Department to award grants to fund high-quality career technical education (CTE) programs and monitor their effect on student outcomes like remediation and graduation rates. The legislation requires that the NMPED consult with higher ed and workforce agencies in the state at is develops its criteria for high-quality CTE programs. The legislation was reported favorably from the House Education Committee on January 23.
ELL Students Learn English Faster After Repeating Third Grade: English-language learners who were held back in the third grade became proficient in English in half the time it took their peers who advanced to the fourth grade, according to research released by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Researchers studied 40,000 students in several Florida school districts and found that retained students were less likely to take remedial English courses later and more likely to take advanced math or science courses in middle school. [Hechinger Report]
 
Governors Push for Investments in Early Childhood Education: Many newly elected and incumbent governors around the country are pushing for new investments in early childhood education. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has proposed spending $1.8 billion on a variety of programs, including the expansion of full-day kindergarten, free preschool for children from low-income families, and increased subsidies for child care. Gov. Mike Dewine (R – Ohio) created a state office for children’s initiatives shortly after being sworn in earlier this month. The momentum, being seen in both red and blue states, suggests that advances in early childhood education will be largely driven by states, as the federal government has pulled back on the issue in recent years. [Education Week; Subscription Required] 
Smaller Colleges Sharing Online Courses: As part of an effort to increase enrollment and flexibility for students, small colleges like Eureka College are working together to share online courses. Course sharing makes it possible for students to access classes they need to progress in their degree, while helping colleges retain revenue by filling unfilled seats. This past fall, the Council of Independent Colleges and College Consortium launched a course sharing initiative to enable students at member colleges to access courses across the Council. [EdSurge, Chronicle of Higher Education]
 
Report Shows Increase in Closures of College Foreign-Language Programs: The Modern Language Association recently published a report which found that over 650 college-level foreign language programs have been closed in the past three years. According to the report, there has been a 9.2 percent drop in enrollments for foreign-language courses between 2013 to 2016. The decline has been attributed to the decrease in the volume of students enrolling in foreign-language courses, economic constraints, colleges’ recent focus on STEM-based programs, and possible long-term effects of getting rid of language requirements. More research is required to understand additional causes and solutions to combat program closures, but concerns for the future of foreign language programs in higher-education persist. [Chronicle of Higher Education; Subscription Required]
Shortage of Talent Cited as the Top Emerging Risk: Research from Gartner shows that a shortage of talent is now the top risk anticipated by global senior executives, overtaking cloud computing and privacy regulations to reach the top spot. Talent was not among the top five risks at the beginning of 2018, according to the quarterly survey, but topped the list by the end of the year. [Gartner]
 
Connecting Talent Management to Business Performance: The connection between talent and business value is becoming stronger, according to the 2019 Talent Trends report from Randstad Sourceright. In 2016, 57% of HR leaders said they aimed to improve business performance through their talent strategy; today, 83% of these leaders say the same. [BenefitsPro]
School-Family Partnerships Boost Social-Emotional Learning: Students' social and emotional skills are affected by the quality of the partnerships between schools and families, according to a meta-analysis published in the journal Review of Educational Research. Researchers reviewed 117 studies and found that some of the most effective parent-school programs include those with home-based components to help parents model positive social and behavioral skills. [Education Week; Subscription Required]
 
Research Examines Downside of P.E. Class: A Texas program requiring daily physical education for middle-school students had a negative effect on student behavior and led to more absenteeism and disciplinary issues, according to a working paper. Co-author Analisa Packham, an economics professor at Miami University in Ohio, said that bullying might be responsible for the trend. [The Atlantic]
P21 Joins Battelle for Kids: Battelle for Kids (BFK) and Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) haveannounced that the two organizations will unite to advance both organizations’ missions to support students as they prepare for careers of the future. BFK works with schools and administrators to incorporate an evolving idea of career readiness and P21 has united a coalition of organizations who advocate for education that matches local and global economic needs. [Battelle for Kids]
 
Amazon to Fund Computer Science in NYC Schools: Amazon announced that it will fund courses, powered by the company’s Amazon Future Engineer career program, for 140 New York City high schools. The initiative seeks to teach students to code by providing digital curriculum, live support, and professional development to teachers. [Amazon Day One Blog]
 
$100 Million to Train African Students: Andela, a company that trains African students to become software developers, closed a $100 million Series D funding round led by Generation Investment Management. The company plans to use its new funding to double in size over the coming twelve months and hire an additional 1000 developers. [ElearningInside]