We have an ED Sec'y, CSW17 Resolutions, and a call for info

February 14, 2017
DeVos in at ED
After a long and arduous confirmation process the Department of Education finally has a Secretary! In her opening speech to the ED staff, Secretary DeVos stressed conciliation and a desire to work together on behalf of all children. 

More pertinent to Catholics in education, the Department of Justice quietly backed down in court from supporting the redefinition of the word "sex" and we are waiting to see action on ED's Dear Colleague on the same topic.

As important hiring announcements come out of ED, CE News will keep you apprised.
Catholic Schools Week Resolutions
During National Catholic Schools Week, Senators and Congressmen, led by Sens. Donnelly, Rubio, and Toomey as well as Reps. Lipinski and Smith, showed their support of our schools.

The bipartisan resolution in the House - H. Res. 57 - had 37 cosponsors, and Rep. Lipinski spoke eloquently about it on the House floor.

In the Senate, the resolution was agreed to by unanimous consent - meaning the entire Senate celebrated Catholic schools along with all of you! Please take a moment to read the text of S. Res. 47.

And be sure to thank your Representative or Senator if they helped to pass these resolutions (co-sponsors can be found on the pages linked above).
Feedback Needed on Background Checks
Back in 2014, Congress passed a reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant program. To implement the changes in that law, the Obama Administration wrote regulations that took some liberties in interpretation, and the USCCB pushed back in our comments. Though the Obama Administration corrected their largest error, a smaller one remains. 

It relates to the more rigorous background checks put into the law in 2014. Instead of requiring only recipients of federal aid to comply, the current rules make ALL childcare provider meet the federal requirement. This makes it harder for centers already operating on razor-thin margins to afford hiring staff and keeping their doors open.

We have heard from some states where this is particularly onerous - and we want to make sure we hear from all who may be having an issue. So please send me an email or give me a call (202-541-3148) if this is an issue in your state.

Congress and DeVos Weigh In on ESSA
You may have seen the House votes on rescinding regulations the Obama Administration wrote to implement parts of ESSA. These two regulations, on accountability provisions and teacher preparation, had little direct impact on our programs. However, any repeal of the accountability rule does create some confusion over deadlines for state plans - confusion the new Secretary sought to quell with a letter this week. 

To be clear, the powerful guidance on equitable services is still in effect and you can use it in your consultations over 2017-18 services (which should be happening now!).

What's important for the Catholic education community? Stay engaged with your SEA and ensure you are consulted with regarding the state plan.

Reading List
As always, please share with me your ideas, suggestions, and experiences by emailing gdolan@usccb.org

Best,
Greg


USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education  | 202-541-3148  | gdolan@usccb.org | http://tinyurl.com/CatholicEdPolicy


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