The House Education and Workforce Committee advanced the third in a series of bills to reform the No Child Left Behind law on Wednesday. The bill (H.R. 2445) would expand states’ freedom to distribute federal education funding, allowing them to take money allocated to a specific program and redirect it to other activities indicated by federal education law. Committee Chair and bill sponsor John Kline (R-MN) said the changes would meet school officials’ pleas for the “flexibility to target federal funds according to their priorities.” Opponents of the measure are concerned that it will disadvantage low-income and minority students as funding intended for their programs is diverted elsewhere. Committee Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) cited a July 12 Congressional Research Service (CRS) memo warning that under the bill, Title 1-A funding for schools serving a high number of students from low-income households could be diverted to other schools. The legislation was approved by a party-line vote of 23-17.
On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C. ruled to strike a newly implemented Education Department regulation on online higher education programs. The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities filed a lawsuit in January on behalf of their for-profit members to challenge several of the department’s new “gainful employment” regulations. The court ruled against the rule requiring colleges to be approved by every state from which they enroll students in any online program, but upheld regulations restricting incentive pay for college recruiters based on enrollment and prohibiting misrepresentation of college programs and outcomes. In the case of the state approval rule, the court found that the Education Department failed to give sufficient notice of the inclusion of online programs in the rule and allow for comments.
From the New England Council’s Weekly Washington Report Higher Education Update, July 18, 2011. NEBHE is a member of the Council and will publish this column each week.
Founded in 1925, the New England Council is a nonpartisan alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the New England region. The Council’s mission is to identify and support federal public policies and articulate the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England. For more information, please visit www.newenglandcouncil.com.