Whiteboard Notes | New Federal Funding for Apprenticeships for Women; 13 Million Jobs Require Only a High School Diploma

Chief Financial Officer at ED Steps Down: On Thursday, the chief financial officer at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Douglas Webster, announced that he was leaving the agency for another position in the Trump Administration. A former director of risk management at USAID, Webster is the first Senate-confirmed nominee of the Trump Administration to leave ED. Larry Kean, leader of the Department’s Budget Office, will serve as acting CFO. [Politico Pro; Subscription Required]
 
Advocacy Organizations Sue Education Department For Information on Arming Teachers: On Wednesday, a coalition of organizations including the American Federation of Teachers, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Democracy Forward filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education for failure to release information regarding a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The FOIA request, which a government agency has a statutory obligation to comply within 20 days, sought information regarding on whether the Education Department was influenced by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups in a decision to allow federal funds to be used by school districts for arming teachers. [Huffington Post]
 
Judge Unblocks Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Rule: On Tuesday, a federal court on Tuesday cleared the way for the Obama-era “borrower defense to repayment” rules to take effect. The rules, which allow students to obtain loan forgiveness from institutions that shut down during their enrollment, were delayed by the Trump Administration last year - prompting a lawsuit from attorney generals in 18 states and Washington D.C. Last month, a federal judge for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the states. After the U.S. Department of Education was unable to provide any further justification for the delay, the judge ordered on Tuesday that the Obama-era rules be implemented immediately. [CNN]
 
Institute of Education Sciences Announces New Partnership: On Tuesday, the U.S Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) announced a partnership with the Jefferson Education Exchange (JEX) to embark on a listening tour with teachers, principals, and superintendents to ensure that educator voice is appropriately captured in education research. The listening tour includes stops in Omaha, NE and Raleigh, NC, and will culminate with a joint event in Washington D.C. on November 27 to convene leaders from more than 40 professional education associations to discuss how research can better incorporate the educator perspective to improve educational outcomes. [EdSurge]

ACT Scores Reach a 20-Year Low: According to a recently released report, the average math score on the 2018 ACT reached a 20-year low this year. While ACT notes that the content of the test has not changed, tutors around the country believe the math and science sections have become gradually more challenging. [Education Week; Subscription Required]

UNC-Chapel Hill Launches New Scholarship Fund: The University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill announced a new $20 million scholarship fund called the Blue Sky Scholars program. The fund is designed to support middle income North Carolina students who don’t qualify for other state support for higher education. In addition to financial aid, recipients will receive academic and career counseling. [The News & Observer]
 
New Award for Institutions of Higher Education Supporting Latinx Student Success: Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting Latinx student success in higher education, launched a new initiative designed to increase the number of students earning college degrees by 2030. The initiative will recognize institutions of higher education that are supporting Latinx student success through data and best practices with the Seal of Excelencia award. The award will be based on Latinx student enrollment, retention, completion, financial support, and representation in administrative, staff, and faculty positions. Excelencia in Education will announce the first cohort of winners in early 2019. [Inside Higher Ed]