With help from Nicole Gaudiano
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— Happy Super Tuesday. Only five Democratic presidential candidates remain: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. We summarize where the candidates stand on free college, charter schools, teacher pay and more.
— A House Appropriations panel will look at reducing child poverty today. The hearing will focus on a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine offering proposals to cut the child poverty rate by as much as 50 percent over the next decade.
— The leaders of the country’s two largest teachers unions today are meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott, and Reps. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) and Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) to discuss school infrastructure.
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AND THEN THERE WERE FIVE… HERE’S WHERE THE 2020 DEMOCRATS STAND ON EDUCATION ISSUES: Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the 2020 race before Super Tuesday, taking their moderate education policy proposals with them. There’s now a stark divide on policies like free college between Biden and Sanders, the two frontrunners so far.
The polls are open today in California, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Utah, Maine and Vermont. Here’s a bare-bones rundown on where the remaining candidates stand:
— Sanders, Warren and Gabbard all have said tuition for public colleges and universities should be free.
— Biden, Bloomberg and Gabbard have called for either expanding or fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
— Sanders has called for the elimination of all $1.6 trillion in existing student loan debt.
— Warren’s loan-forgiveness plan calls for eliminating up to $50,000 of student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $100,000 — with proportionally less debt relief for those earning up to $250,000.
— Biden and Warren would both dramatically boost Title I funding.
— Sanders wants to work with states to set a minimum starting salary for teachers of $60,000.
— Bloomberg and Gabbard have not taken a stance on teacher pay.
— Warren would eliminate the Federal Charter Schools Program and end federal funding for their expansion, while Sanders wants a moratorium on federal funding for new charter schools. Both have called for a ban on for-profit charter schools.
— Biden has said he’s opposed to for-profit charter schools, saying “it siphons off money for our public schools, which are already in enough trouble.”
— Bloomberg has long been a charter school advocate, but he opposes for-profit charter schools.
Want to know where the candidates stand on issues beyond education? Check out POLITICO’s issues tracker.
LOOKING AT HOW TO CUT THE CHILD POVERTY RATE IN HALF: Several academics and a California State Assemblywoman will testify today before the House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee on the results of the study, “A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty,” released last year. The panel helped fund the report in 2015.
— The hearing coincides with recent federal data showing a record number of homeless students. Along with cutting the child poverty rate, the Academies’ report identifies ways to increase employment and earnings among low-income families. The report found two policy packages that could meet the goal of a 50 percent reduction in poverty.
— One package combines expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the child dependent care tax credit with expansions of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and housing voucher programs. That program is estimated to cost $90.7 billion per year and estimated to add about 400,000 workers and generate $2.2 billion in annual earnings.
— The second package includes a child allowance, a new child support assurance program, an expansion of the EITC and CDCTC, a minimum wage increase and elimination of the immigrant eligibility restrictions imposed by 1996 welfare reform. The package is estimated to cost $108.8 billion per year while increasing employment by more than 600,000 jobs and earnings by $13.4 billion.
TEACHERS UNIONS, PELOSI AND SCOTT TAKE ON SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García and Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan will join Pelosi and Scott for a press conference on the Rebuild America’s School Act, H.R. 865 (116), at 2:30 p.m. today in Rayburn Room, H-207.
SENATE DEMOCRATS WANT DETAILS ON DEVOS’ CORONAVIRUS PLAN: A group of Democrats on Monday pushed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to provide more information on the Education Department’s preparedness should a coronavirus outbreak affect higher education and K-12 operations.
— In particular, the Democrats wanted to know what role the department’s task force is playing, who the members are, how the department is communicating with schools about the virus and how the department will address the impact on students, teachers and staff. DeVos announced the task force last week.
— The letter comes as federal public health officials are urging schools to brace for more cases of the virus. The CDC has recommended that schools across the country develop contingency plans for school dismissals and closures, as well as the continuation of classes online.
CHANGES TO RURAL AND LOW-INCOME SCHOOL PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY COULD LEAVE SCHOOLS WITHOUT SUFFICIENT FUNDS: Last month, Sen. Susan Collins sent a letter to the Education Department, urging DeVos to rescind eligibility changes to the Rural Education Achievement Program, which provides grants for technology, mental health counselors and physical education teachers in small and rural schools. Her letter focused on Maine, but the New York Times reports the change could affect more than 800 schools across the country.
— States used to be allowed to measure how many students live in poverty by the percentage of students who qualified for free lunch. Under the change, it will have to rely on U.S. Census data.
— “The change, quietly announced in letters to state education leaders, comes after the Education Department said a review of the program revealed that districts had ‘erroneously’ received funding because they had not met eligibility requirements outlined in the federal education law since 2002,” the Times reported.
TRUMP TOUTS EDUCATION BLOCK GRANT PROPOSAL IN READ ACROSS AMERICA MESSAGE: President Donald Trump, in his message to celebrate Read Across America Day on Monday, pushed his administration’s contentious proposal that would turn 29 federal elementary and secondary programs into a single, $19.4 billion block grant.
— “This critical funding will allow states and school districts to focus on the needs of their students, including literacy and language arts, and will make a difference in the lives of students in communities across our Nation, empowering them with the tools and knowledge to fuel successful careers and fulfilling lives,” Trump said. Read his full remarks.
— The George W. Bush Institute’s Education Reform Initiative released new resources based on a three-year research collaboration with four school districts. The Effective Implementation, Principal Talent Management frameworks, Principal Recruitment and Selection and Principal Learning and Supervision aim to help districts, and the organizations who work with them, better attract, support, and retain highly effective principals.
— Prep for prep and the fault lines in New York’s schools: The New Yorker
— 30 years after Americans with Disability Act, college students with disabilities say law is not enough: NBC News
— A growing list of US colleges are canceling or rerouting study abroad programs because of the coronavirus: CNN
— Some states make it harder for college students to vote: The Associated Press
— Supreme Court will hear major challenge to Obamacare: POLITICO
- ‘No one to help me’: Special education families struggle with coronavirus school closures – USA TODAY
- Jefferson City Board of Education hold first virtual meeting – Jefferson City News Tribune
- Smethport Area School District introduces education plan, notes firm end of year date – Bradford Era
- Navigating Education at Home – Spectrum News
- Special education inconsistent in California school districts during closures – EdSource
- EDUCATION FOR WHAT? | The Crusader Newspaper Group – The Chicago Cusader
- Hernando schools await governor’s decision on technical education building – Tampa Bay Times
- Police plan education, measured enforcement of statewide stay-at-home order – Press Herald
- Secretary DeVos Announces New Federal Deadline Flexibility for Career and Technical Education Leaders, Allowing Them to Focus on Serving Students During the COVID-19 Outbreak – U.S. Department of Education