Federal Flash: Secretary DeVos is Proposing Changes to the Civil Rights Data Collection


The Department of Education proposes changes
to the Civil Rights Data Collection, the House education committee passes legislation on
school shootings, and tensions rise in the Senate over higher education. [Music] Hi, I’m Lindsay Dworkin and I’m joined
by Anne Hyslop. Let’s begin with the Civil Rights Data Collection. Anne? Let’s say that you’d like to know if students
of color in your school district are more likely than White students to be taught by
teachers in their first or second year in the classroom. You can find that information because it’s
collected by the U.S. Department of Education through a mandatory survey issued every two
years called the Civil Rights Data Collection or CRDC. But if Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos
has her way, we’d no longer know the answer to this, and other questions, about disparities
in educational opportunities because the Department is planning to eliminate them from the CRDC. On the chopping block are questions related
to: teacher experience, including the distribution of teachers in the first or second year of
teaching; school finance issues, such as how much is spent on teacher salaries; and early
childhood education, such as a disaggregated count of preschool enrollment. What’s being added? Several questions related to sexual assault,
bullying on the basis of religion, and participation in advanced coursework by students with disabilities. These changes have only been proposed; they
are not final yet. You can review the Department’s proposal
by visiting the web pages below and submit your comments by November 18. On top of these proposed changes, the Department
has also issued final policy guidance on several issues over the past few weeks, including
state and local report cards, the use of special education funding to support dual enrollment,
and school safety. Speaking of school safety, the House education
committee passed the School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act on a party-line vote
to establish a definition of “school shooting” in federal law and collect data on school
shootings. In passing the bill, Committee Chairman Bobby
Scott said QUOTE: This is a small, but important step towards ensuring that classrooms are
safe places where parents can have peace of mind and children are free to learn. His counterpart, the committee’s lead Republican
Virginia Foxx, had a different perspective, saying QUOTE: “this bill and the unnecessary
reporting requirements included in it are not about school safety, but instead about
gun politics. Additional information on the legislation
is available at the link below. There’s also been movement on Capitol Hill
to rewrite the Higher Education Act, the federal law governing higher education, but it could
amount to little more than running in place. The House of Representatives passed legislation
to continue funding for two-years for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other
Minority Serving institutions and universities that expired on September 30th. But when democrats in the Senate tried to
pass the legislation, it was blocked by Senate education committee chairman Lamar Alexander. Instead, Chairman Alexander said he wants
a long-term solution and introduced legislation that would provide permanent funding for Historically
Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions and universities—alongside
several other bipartisan proposals Senators had been pushing as part of a comprehensive
HEA reauthorization, such as simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid,
also known as the FAFSA. So far, Senator Alexander’s proposal and
strategy have been criticized by civil rights organizations, labor unions and others while
receiving support from for-profit colleges. Some groups support pieces of Alexander’s
proposal but would prefer a more comprehensive approach. Bipartisan negotiations on a comprehensive
reauthorization of HEA have been taking place for months, but Chairman Alexander’s narrower
legislation does not address key priorities for Senate Democrats, including student loan
debt, accountability, and campus safety. For now, the HEA reauthorization process will
continue, with the next significant action expected sometime after Congress returns from
its two-week recess in the House, which has yet to release a comprehensive HEA proposal
this session. In the meantime, the links below provide additional
information on Chairman Alexander’s legislation and the response from Patty Murray, the Senate
education committee’s leading democrat. That’s all for today. For an email alert when the next Federal Flash
is available, email us at [email protected] Thanks for watching.

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