Sec. DeVos testifies for the first time before House Education Committee

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Sec. DeVos testifies for the first time before House Education Committee

On May 22, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce heard testimony from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, her first appearance before the committee since becoming secretary 16 months ago. The “Hearing on Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education and Subcommittee Hearing on Regulatory Reform” lasted four hours and covered a wide variety of topics under the purview of the Department of Education (ED) with members of Congress questioning the secretary on afterschool funding, funding for the Office of Civil Rights, Impact Aid, Pell grants, higher education policy, career and technical education, apprenticeships, the Perkins loan program, school safety, and other topics.

House Afterschool Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) began his questions for the Secretary by pointing out that "10.2 million children are currently in afterschool programs, but 19 million more parents would like to participate if the programs were more readily available.” He went on to state that in Pennsylvania they celebrate the successes of the SHINE afterschool program and highlighted the work of SHINE and the role of afterschool in STEAM education. He then referenced his meeting with Secretary DeVos on the subject of afterschool programs and funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Center program last month and asked how the Department and Congress can help encourage and expand these types of programs. Secretary DeVos replied that the Department can help highlight successful afterschool programs and share successful models.

In addition to the exchange on afterschool, Education Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) began the hearing by acknowledging the importance and seriousness of school safety in relation to last week’s tragic events that unfolded in Texas. Eight students and two teachers were gunned down by a student. She went on to say this hearing would be an opportunity to have a dialogue about the Department’s role and responsibilities on a variety of topics.

Chairwoman Foxx went on to say that “local control [of education] is a matter of practicality.” In terms of finding the right balance between federal, state, and local control, Chairwoman Foxx cited the Committee’s passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, and the enactment of both the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, arguing that these proposals appropriately return decision-making about education and workforce policy to state and local entities that know local needs best.

Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.) echoed the Chairwoman’s comments regarding the tragic events of last week’s school shooting and the 15 others that preceded it this academic year. He shared his disappointment that the majority has not acted on the calls for action on school safety. Scott also noted that last week marked the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case and voiced disappointment and frustration with what he considers to be the administration’s intention to “chip away” at civil rights protections. He went on to provide examples of regulations and funding that have been repealed, rescinded, delayed, or reduced, noting the overwhelming opposition to these decisions from students, teachers, and advocates.

In her prepared remarks, Secretary DeVos cited the importance of flexibility in implementing ESSA, and specifically pointed to the various eligible uses of funds available to districts under Title IV, Part A, making this program “useful” in efforts to improve school safety. She noted her chairmanship of the Federal Commission on School Safety and said they plan to identify and report on best practices by year’s end. She commended Dr. Foxx for her proposal to update the outdated Higher Education Act—the PROSPER Act (HR 4508). Secretary DeVos went on to discuss her Department’s role in monitoring implementation of ESSA and her charge to streamline “outdated, unnecessary, and useless” regulations that stifle institutions and burden agencies. Additionally, there is work underway to address sexual harassment and assault with an adjudication process that “will be fair for victims, institutions, and the accused” as the “era of rule by letter” is over. As she concluded her prepared remarks, DeVos said that “bold, fearless change” is needed to meet the needs of students and “we must question everything to rethink school.” She posed questions, such as, Why do schools close for summer? Why are they limited based on faculty and facilities available? Why are students grouped by age?

Following four hours of questions and answers on ESSA implementation, high education, afterschool, school safety, and a wide range of other issues, Ranking Member Scott summarized many of the points brought up throughout the hearing by his colleagues regarding the delay and rewrites of several department regulations in his closing remarks. He also took the time to once again explain ESSA and the purpose of subgroup accountability. He thanked Secretary DeVos for staying the entire time and for her willingness to answer questions from the entire committee. Chairwoman Foxx closed out the hearing by expressing gratitude for the secretary’s time but made clear that she needs to respond to Congressional letters and inquiries, as several members of the committee brought up the Department’s lack of response throughout her tenure.

For more on this hearing, including opening statements or an archived video, visit the House Education Committee’s website.

Midterm election 2018: First look at what the results mean for afterschool

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BY: Erik Peterson      11/07/18

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BY: Jillian Luchner      10/09/18

Thank you, friends of afterschool!

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Final education spending bill increases afterschool funding

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/14/18

The countdown to the end of the fiscal year is on

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/12/18

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On Thursday, August 23, the full Senate passed a combined spending bill package, including the FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) spending bill and the FY2019 Defense spending bill. The LHHS bill was very similar to the one passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/24/18

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While August is usually a slow month in the nation’s capital and Congress is usually in recess, this year there has been a great deal of activity during the doldrums of summer. In late July Congress passed and the president signed into law a reauthorization of the Perkins Career and Technical...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/16/18

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BY: Jillian Luchner      08/02/18

House appropriators maintain federal afterschool funding levels

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/13/18

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BY: Erik Peterson      10/30/18

Afterschool goes to college

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BY: Jillian Luchner      10/09/18

Thank you, friends of afterschool!

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House appropriators maintain federal afterschool funding levels

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/12/18

Federal afterschool funding update, August 24

On Thursday, August 23, the full Senate passed a combined spending bill package, including the FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) spending bill and the FY2019 Defense spending bill. The LHHS bill was very similar to the one passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/24/18

House appropriators maintain federal afterschool funding levels

The House Appropriations Committee marked up the FY2019 education and health funding bill on Wednesday, July 11, after a 13-hour session. The FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Act sets funding levels for all federal education, human services, and health and...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/13/18

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BY: Erik Peterson      06/04/18

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When times feel uncertain, and our work seems never-ending, positive moments are all the more important. This can be especially true in advocacy, when a victory can be undone in a matter of minutes, and steps forward are often followed by leaps backwards. Endurance, hope, and determination...

BY: Jodi Grant      03/23/18

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With the dust still settling from the 2018 midterm elections, and several House and Senate races remain too close to call, there are a few conclusions to be made amidst the remaining uncertainty. At the beginning of Tuesday, all 435 House seats were up for grabs along with 35 of the 100 Senate...

BY: Erik Peterson      11/07/18

Thank you, friends of afterschool!

In February of this year, parents, students, educators, and afterschool providers were faced with the prospect of the complete elimination of federal support for local afterschool and summer learning programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative—the second such...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/02/18

Final education spending bill increases afterschool funding

UPDATE: Sept. 28: Today the president signed the FY2019 Defense-LHHS-CR spending bill into law. See our statement here for more information. UPDATE: Sept. 19: Yesterday by a vote of 93-7 the Senate approved the conference report for HR 6157, the FY 19 minibus carrying the Defense and...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/14/18

The countdown to the end of the fiscal year is on

The current federal fiscal year (FY2018) ends on September 30, leaving just more than two weeks for Congress to pass spending bills for FY2019. In advance of that deadline, friends of afterschool programs have already sent or made more than 35,400 emails and calls to Congress making the case for...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/12/18

Federal afterschool funding update, August 24

On Thursday, August 23, the full Senate passed a combined spending bill package, including the FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) spending bill and the FY2019 Defense spending bill. The LHHS bill was very similar to the one passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/24/18

House appropriators maintain federal afterschool funding levels

The House Appropriations Committee marked up the FY2019 education and health funding bill on Wednesday, July 11, after a 13-hour session. The FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Act sets funding levels for all federal education, human services, and health and...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/13/18

Federal afterschool funding update, June 27

June 29, 2018: Yesterday the full Senate Appropriations Committee passed their FY2019 education spending bill, sending it on to the Senate floor with full funding for 21st CCLC afterschool programs. See Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant’s statement here:...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/27/18

Federal afterschool funding protected in FY2019 House education spending bill

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee met to mark up the FY2019 education-funding bill on the morning of June 15. The FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Act sets funding levels for all federal...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/18/18

Sec. DeVos testifies in front of Senate Appropriations Subcommittee

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BY: Erik Peterson      06/07/18

June appropriations update: Current outlook for federal afterschool funding

 As we enter June, House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees and full Committees are in the midst of an aggressive FY 2019 schedule with the goal of passing all 12 spending bills by September 30, 2018, the end of the current federal fiscal year. The Labor, Health and Human Services,...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/04/18

Thank you, friends of afterschool!

In February of this year, parents, students, educators, and afterschool providers were faced with the prospect of the complete elimination of federal support for local afterschool and summer learning programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative—the second such...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/02/18

Final education spending bill increases afterschool funding

UPDATE: Sept. 28: Today the president signed the FY2019 Defense-LHHS-CR spending bill into law. See our statement here for more information. UPDATE: Sept. 19: Yesterday by a vote of 93-7 the Senate approved the conference report for HR 6157, the FY 19 minibus carrying the Defense and...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/14/18

The countdown to the end of the fiscal year is on

The current federal fiscal year (FY2018) ends on September 30, leaving just more than two weeks for Congress to pass spending bills for FY2019. In advance of that deadline, friends of afterschool programs have already sent or made more than 35,400 emails and calls to Congress making the case for...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/12/18

House appropriators maintain federal afterschool funding levels

The House Appropriations Committee marked up the FY2019 education and health funding bill on Wednesday, July 11, after a 13-hour session. The FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Act sets funding levels for all federal education, human services, and health and...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/13/18

Federal afterschool funding update, June 27

June 29, 2018: Yesterday the full Senate Appropriations Committee passed their FY2019 education spending bill, sending it on to the Senate floor with full funding for 21st CCLC afterschool programs. See Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant’s statement here:...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/27/18

June appropriations update: Current outlook for federal afterschool funding

 As we enter June, House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees and full Committees are in the midst of an aggressive FY 2019 schedule with the goal of passing all 12 spending bills by September 30, 2018, the end of the current federal fiscal year. The Labor, Health and Human Services,...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/04/18

Afterschool awesomeness prevails

When times feel uncertain, and our work seems never-ending, positive moments are all the more important. This can be especially true in advocacy, when a victory can be undone in a matter of minutes, and steps forward are often followed by leaps backwards. Endurance, hope, and determination...

BY: Jodi Grant      03/23/18

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/22/18

100+ members of Congress call for increase in afterschool funding

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/20/18

Administration slashes federal afterschool funding

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/12/18

Federal afterschool funding update, August 24

On Thursday, August 23, the full Senate passed a combined spending bill package, including the FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) spending bill and the FY2019 Defense spending bill. The LHHS bill was very similar to the one passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/24/18

Career and Technical Education (CTE) bill passes into law with new opportunities for out-of-school time

On July 31, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act” passed into law, reauthorizing the major federal legislation, colloquially known as “Perkins CTE,” which supports students’ educational pathways toward high-skill, high-wage, and...

BY: Jillian Luchner      08/02/18

June appropriations update: Current outlook for federal afterschool funding

 As we enter June, House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees and full Committees are in the midst of an aggressive FY 2019 schedule with the goal of passing all 12 spending bills by September 30, 2018, the end of the current federal fiscal year. The Labor, Health and Human Services,...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/04/18

Newly passed legislation will help afterschool programs ensure program safety

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/07/18

Federal funding battle triggers government shutdown

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New career education bill includes opportunities for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      05/12/17

Legislation proposed to fight chronic absenteeism

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BY: Jillian Luchner      05/05/17

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BY: Jillian Luchner      04/28/17

Sec. DeVos testifies in front of Senate Appropriations Subcommittee

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BY: Erik Peterson      06/07/18

Sec. DeVos testifies for the first time before House Education Committee

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/24/18

Secretary of Education DeVos fumbles when asked about afterschool funding

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BY: Jodi Grant      03/21/18

Afterschool shines in ESSA implementation hearing

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/21/17

Secretary DeVos testifies on administration’s education budget

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/25/17

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BY: Jillian Luchner      04/03/17

What will House resolutions of disapproval mean for ESSA implementation?

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BY: Jillian Luchner      02/16/17

Senate confirms Trump nominee Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education

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BY: Jillian Luchner      02/08/17

Panel: When rethinking school governance, afterschool is a piece of the local puzzle

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BY: Jillian Luchner      01/26/17

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BY: Erik Peterson      01/20/17