Congress on Budgets, Title IX on Sexual Assaults, SCOTUS on Race Preferences

DC Shuttle …

House and Senate committees hold hearings on Ed Budget. The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on the FY 2015 budget request for the Department of Education. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified. Education Week reported that lawmakers raised concerns with the admiration’s waivers from the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education also held a hearing on the  budget request for agencies under its jurisdiction, including the Education Department. Duncan testified and faced more questions on NCLB waivers, race to the top grants, and preschool, reported Education Week.

Department of Education releases list of universities under investigation for handling of sexual assault. The U.S. Department of Education published a full list of the colleges and universities it is investigating for how they handle sexual harassment and assault complaints, Inside Higher Ed reported. The institutions are under review for possible violations of the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX over their handling of sexual-violence complaints. The list continues the Obama administration’s efforts to focus on sex assault in response to questions raised in recent years about how prominent colleges have handled rape allegations and related issues, the Washington Post reports.

Student-aid group releases revised ethics documents. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators released updated versions of its Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct.

U.S. Supreme Court upholds bans on racial preferences in college admissions. The Supreme Court handed down a ruling which determines that states may ban racial preference in college admissions. The ruling also suggested that the court would rule similarly on future challenges. Bans on considering race in admissions have been adopted by voters in Arizona, California, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Washington. The court overturned a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which had struck down Michigan’s voter-approved law. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Stephen G. Breyer joined the court’s majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. The opinion said that the ban did not discriminate against the state’s minority residents, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

Reach Higher Campaign. First Lady Michelle Obama introduced the Reach Higher Campaign, intended to support President Obama’s goal for the U.S. to have the world’s highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. President Obama has called the effort the North Star goal. Michelle Obama has been supporting education beyond a high school diploma, including professional training programs, community college, or four-year college or university and is now publicly naming the initiative.

White House nominates former OMB employee to Ed post. The White House announced that Robert Gordon will be nominated to serve as the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education. Gordon is a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, From 2009 to 2013, he worked at the Office of Management and Budget, where he contributed to the development of the education portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Gordon also worked at the Center for American Progress, at the New York City Department of Education, on Capitol Hill, and was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of May 5, 2014.

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:


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