Whiteboard Notes | NM Announces New Education Chief; Gov. Cuomo Introduces New For-Profit Regulation; LA Teachers Reach a Deal

Rosa DeLauro To Chair House LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee: On Thursday, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) was officially named as chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for the Education Department, as well as the Labor and Health and Human Services Departments. DeLauro, who previously served as the ranking member on the panel, said in a statement that she vowed to advance “robust public investments” in public schools, research, workforce development and other areas. She also pledged to conduct “rigorous oversight” of the Trump administration. Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) will be the ranking member on the subcommittee. [Politico Pro, Subscription Required]
 
DeVos Calls on Congress to Renew SOAR Act: On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos held a fireside chat at the Heritage Foundation as a part of National School Choice Week. Beyond calling out teachers unions as an impediment to more school choice, DeVois called on Congress to renew the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program (often referred to as the SOAR Act), which gives scholarships to low-income students in the District of Columbia to attend private schools. The law, which was created in 2004, is currently serving about 1,650 students and DeVos called on lawmakers to bring "clear and concise" stability to the program. [Education Week, subscription required]
 
Education Department’s Top Lawyer Leaving: On Tuesday, Carlos Muñiz, the general counsel at the U.S. Department of Education, was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by Governor Ron DeSantis. The departure of Muñiz, who was nominated in April 2017 and confirmed by the Senate a year later, leaves a vacancy that require presidential nomination and Senate confirmation. [NBC News]

 

New Mexico Announces New Education Chief: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has appointedKaren Trujillo as the state’s new Secretary of Education. In the role, Trujillo will lead the New Mexico Public Education Department, replacing Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski. Trujillo currently serves as Director of the Alliance for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at New Mexico State University, and started her career in education as a classroom teacher. [Albuquerque Journal]
 
Governor Cuomo Includes For-Profit College Accountability Act in Proposed State Budget: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) has announced his FY2020 executive budget, a $175 billion proposal that includes increased funding for public schools and new requirements on for-profit institutions of higher education. Referred to as the For-Profit College Accountability Act, the proposal would require that for-profit institutions 1) spend at least 50% of revenues on instruction and learning as opposed to recruiting, marketing and advertising; 2) report the salaries of the college presidents and senior leadership, as well as any salary incentives and bonuses; and 3) prohibit school leadership from serving on an accreditation board of an organization responsible for oversight of the  college.
 
West Virginia Considers Computer Science Legislation: West Virginia House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R) has introduced a bill that would require the Board of Education to adopt a policy regarding computer science instruction. The bill, HB 2415, calls for a policy detailing the appropriate level of computer science instruction that should be available to students at each programmatic level. In addition, it would require the West Virginia Department of Education to develop and offer professional development opportunities to support educators teaching computer science courses. The legislation is currently pending in the House Finance Committee.

 

LA Teachers Reach a Deal to End Strike: On Tuesday, the LA teachers and LAUSD officials finally reached an agreement, ending the six day teacher strike. Under the new settlement, the district has agreed to cap class sizes, increase teacher salaries by 6%, cut the amount of assessments by half, and hire a full-time nurse for every school and a librarian for every high school and middle school. The pro-charter school board also vowed to vote on a resolution that would ask the state to cap the number of charter schools, making LA the first of the eight major teacher strikes this year to address the topic of school choice. [The New York Times]
 
DonorsChoose.org Reveals Key Trends Amongst Teacher Needs: Today, DonorsChoose.org released a report, revealing the top trends in teacher crowdfunding. The non-profit found that teachers were increasingly interested in projects related to social-emotional learning (up 100% since 2018), as well as STEM and computer science.  The platform also saw growth among rural teachers -- a 53% increase among rural teachers requesting a project for the first time. [EdSurge]

 

Maryland Colleges Assist Furloughed Students: Several two and four-year colleges located in Maryland  have given students the opportunity to defer their spring tuition payments as a result of the government shutdown. Specifically, The College of Southern Maryland enacted a policy that allowed furloughed students and students who are dependents of furloughed workers to defer paying their spring tuition payment until later in the semester. Prince George Community College provided tuition assistance to affected students, and Anne Arundel Community College delayed its spring payment deadline. Currently more than 42,000 Maryland residents are not being paid due to the government shutdown. [NPR]
 
Massachusetts Cracks Down on the Closing of Private Colleges: Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education adopted a new plan where state officials will use federal data to examine the financial well-being of private colleges in the state. After assessing the college’s financial situation, officials will require any colleges that are viewed as ‘unstable’ to create a contingency plan and notify students. The new plan comes in response to Mount Ida College, which gave students last spring little noticed that they were closing -- providing little guidance  for how enrolled students could finish their degree and accepting deposits from incoming freshman. [The Boston Globe

 

Walmart Helps Enhance Career Pathways in Colorado: Walmart recently announced a $4 million grant to the Colorado Workforce Development Council to help create pathways to career advancement in the retail and hospitality industries. The grant is the latest investment from Walmart’s Retail Opportunity Initiative. [Chief Learning Officer]
 
Companies Are Using Technology to  Improve the Interview Process: From utilizing emerging technologies like AI or video games, to simply changing the tenor and questions asked, companies from McKinsey to Microsoft are changing the way they interview to improve the quality of hires. The companies recognize that prior processes were too long or stressful, and may have unintentionally weeded out good candidates. [WorldAtWork]

 

Vermont District Pilots Universal, Free Meals: A school district in Vermont recently adopted a universal, free meal program. Bernice Garnett, a researcher at The University of Vermont, is conducting a study of such programs at two schools and says the policy led to a "culture of equity," more locally produced food in cafeterias and an improved school climate. [WCAX] 

 

Lumina Foundation Funds Edquity - The investment arm of the Lumina Foundation has invested $500kin Edquity, a platform designed to help college students navigate financial decisions. The platform plans to use the funds to build at least three new services including emergency financial aid and cash-flow management. [PRNewswire] 
 
Varsity Tutors to Expand By Acquiring Veritas Prep - While the terms were not made public, Varsity Tutors has announced that they will expand their online learning platform by acquiring Veritas Prep, the US’s largest privately-owned test prep and admissions consulting company. [PRNewswire]
 
Coursera Enters Healthcare Education - Coursera announced that it is expanding its platform to include healthcare education, offering courses at top institutions including Columbia University, Emory University, and Johns Hopkins University. [TechCrunch]