U.S. Ed Dept to Address Lost Instruction Time … as Maine’s Congressional Delegation Slams Thumbs-Down on GEAR UP

By The New England Council

DC Shuttle …

Ed Dept Launches Two Communities of Practice To Help Students Impacted by the Pandemic. The U.S. Department of Education announced it would launch two communities of practice, using American Rescue Plan funding, to address the lost instructional time due to the pandemic. By implementing these communities of practice, the Education Department hopes to support students’ social, emotional and mental health and academic wellbeing. The department is launching the Evidence-Based Interventions: Using American Rescue Plan Resources to Accelerate Learning Community of Practice with the National Comprehensive Center. This community of practice will equip educators, school staff, partners and other leaders to help students recover from the time lost in school, focusing on the students who were most affected. The other community of practice will be the Toward an Equitable Education and Recovery: Transforming Kindergarten Community of Practice in partnership with the Campaign for Grade Level Reading and the Department’s T4PA Center and others. This approach uses a series of virtual gatherings on topics that will give district teams access to information on how to best support students as they transition back to in-person learning. Read more in the Department of Education’s press release.

Maine’s Congressional Delegation Writes Ed Dept After Grant Rejection. The Maine delegation to the U.S. Congress wrote a letter to the Department of Education challenging the department’s decision to reject the University of Maine Farmington’s application to renew its Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant. The GEAR UP Maine program has helped students since 1999 and, according to a news release  from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, has transformed thousands of students lives through college-preparation programs. UMaine Farmington President Edward Serna said of the Maine delegation’s letter, “On behalf of the 6,500 students GEAR UP planned to serve over the next seven years in some of the state’s most economically disadvantaged districts, we thank Senators Collins and King and Representatives Pingree and Golden for their leadership in inquiring about the apparent inconsistencies in the U.S. Department of Education’s process and ensuring we have a fair shot at helping more of Maine’s young people reach their full potential through this proven program.” Read the letter here.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week Congress is in session 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 Dec. 6, 2021. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.




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