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Federal Flash: The Education Question Betsy DeVos Can’t Answer

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April 12, 2019 03:01 pm

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During a wide-ranging hearing held by the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified on a wide range of Education Department priorities.

Federal Flash covers the controversial exchanges during the hearing, including one question that DeVos struggled to answer.

The House Education and Labor Committee hearing this week examined the policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Education. It was the first oversight hearing for Secretary DeVos to testify before the Committee since Democrats regained control of the House. While members asked questions on a variety of topics ranging from student loan debt to affirmative action to the rights of transgender students, many focused on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.

In one heated exchange, Representative Jahana Hayes from Connecticut pressed Secretary DeVos about an Education Department memo she obtained citing that the Secretary does have sufficient authority to block states from using ESSA Title IV funds to buy guns for schools. Our viewers may recall that funding for Title IV, or the Student Support and Academic Enrichment program, was hotly debated last year when Secretary DeVos said she did not have the power to block states from using Title IV funds to purchase firearms. The memo Representative Hayes presented, however, stated exactly the opposite.

While the exchange between Representative Gregorio Sablan from the Northern Mariana Islands and Secretary DeVos may not have received as much attention, Representative Sablan raised a very important issue regarding the Department’s approval of state ESSA plans that do not consider the performance of historically underserved students. In the following clip, Representative Sablan uses data from All4Ed to help make his case.

How Federal Funding Can Support Dual Enrollment

In other news, in partnership with the College in High School Alliance, All4Ed recently released a video on how federal Title I funding can be used to support dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college high schools—collectively known as “college in high schools” programs. These programs allow students to complete college-level course work during high school and are effective models to improve college access, affordability, and completion, particularly for students from low-income families and students of color. ESSA encourages and allows states and districts to use Title I funding to support college in high school programs as key strategies for preparing students for college and careers. 

Watch the Video.

This blog post represents a slightly edited transcript of the April 12 episode of Federal Flash, the Alliance for Excellent Education’s five-minute (or less!) video series on important developments in education policy in Washington, DC. The video version is embedded below. For an alert when the next episode of Federal Flash is available, email at alliance@all4ed.org.

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