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tv   House Education Subcommittee Hearing on Disaster Response Part 1  CSPAN  June 7, 2019 9:46pm-12:12am EDT

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to display my hands and nothing in them and i stood up and i approached him, i said hi mr. kelly, and gerald davis come on in. >> sunday night at eight eastern on q&a on c-span. >> to a hearing on how schools can prepare for natural disasters and how to help school systems affected by them, the house education and labor subcommittee focuses on island territory like the mariana islands, the u.s. virgin islands and puerto rico. >> good morning. if this will come to order. come everyone i know that the form is present in the committee is meeting today on a legislative hearing to hear testimony, educated related response and recovery in the
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wake of natural disasters, and the sea opening statement are limited to the chair and the ringing member and to hear more from her witnesses and provide all members with adequate time to ask questions in a small note, this hearing was scheduled before we knew that this was going to be a short week we will be they will be called again and members will go to roll in mr. allen's has agreed to come back and continue the hearing so we can have every witness testified. so i now recognize myself for making an opening statement today were here to examine the response to the impact of natural disasters in the diverse challenges our schools face on the road to recovery. we need to know what has gone right, what has gone wrong and
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what needs to improve for the sake of her children and their schools. because we do know it's a question of when not if the next storm will hit. our distinguished witnesses will share the harrowing experience of communities in the wake of some of our countries, most devastating and recent disasters. we also have an opportunity to hear directly from the education department, secretary he is here about the role in the opening recover. just last october, the youth who devastated my own district in northern and despite the most powerful storm in the world you tuesday coverage images the prince shouldn't to defeat of the stars. however, mr. secretary i do appreciate the phone call with
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your support from around the schools, teachers and students. secretary follow through on her releasing 1.1 billion projects with the mariana republics will system. students who need much more federal support to restore proper school facilities for the over 900 middleor school studens whose campus was totally destroyed and still learning in real test. despite many families being displaced and even boosting their homes inspired by the strength of her students. the perseverance is reflected and denied by high school seniors will receive their diplomas next week with many planning to attend college to serve the country in the military. the perseverance has shown grrough them into when the right
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to represent in the congressional challenge for the second year in a row. this year's congressional t competition winner, ms. julia had hard work. it shows the strength of the people. the u.s. virgin islands was also devastated by hurricane irma and maria in 2017. in the u.s. virgin islands it took five weeks for public schools to finally reopen. over a year later the principles continue to travel with damage, physical and technological infrastructure. xtile this community extended an invitation for frank to puerto rico to testify we were disappointed they cannot join us today. thank you. in response to this congress tries to improve funding to provide the virgin islands. yet very legal of the most helpful education has really
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funding has been extended and fema has not been rebooting schools. elsewhere in the country, california is also devastated by natural disasters. over the last few years california has been ravaged by the states wildfires in history killing over 100 people and destroying nearly 20000 homes cutting off schooling for thousands for weeks. they were destroyed and 14 schools were damaged. beyond the damage their quality was impacted. a teacher-student in oakland described as a mass on teachers and district officials did not close the schools. school communities in the mariana support the u.s. virgin islands in northern california based a big challenge from natural disasters. yet a common is the federal government that refuses to put people before politics and
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acknowledge that. worst were still onto this with public and lawmakers repeatedly funding for these communities. the $19 billion disaster relief release 165 million recovery related educational needs. they also demanded audits on investigations that would further assist the communitieses work to oversee and include the federal government disaster response. we may disagree in our assessments of federal responses to natural disasters, the undermining crisis we see is undeniable. climate change by human activities has worsened my natural disasters and make schools more difficult. climate change continues by the
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federal government responsibility to provide schooe communities with the resources to recover from natural read disasters. is more important now than ever the base hearing is a critical hearing as suited to families and they rely on federal government to help them not only recover from natural disasters but actually emerge stronger, i want to think the witnesses for joining us today and i yield to my friend mr. allen for his opening statement. >> thinking mr. chair. for yielding. we sometimes forget when disaster strikes in an area it does not discriminate what it esstroys in its path. schools of central gathering places when they are just as vulnerable as homes, businesses and churches when a natural disaster hits or communities. hurricanes and fryers like the ones that have devastated the u.s. in h recent years, demolisd
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school buildings and displaced thousands of students forcing communities to scramble to rebuild congress provides disaster aid making sure this cnding is used well is critical to the success and efficient in alerica's destroyed schools. the department must also assure it will support lik regulatory flexible being other measures that allow state and local leaders the resources next nursery to rebuild after natural disaster and serve students in their communities there's no better witnesses to ask about the struggles of rebuilding schools after natural disasters the local and state education leaders. their best suited to bring congress on the challenges that come with reconstruction and the success and areas for improvement in the department of education support of disaster relief efforts. i look forward to this hearing and working with my colleagues to ensure the schools are not
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forgotten in the aftermath of natural disasters. we can always fully prepared for destructive storm or fire but we should be doing all we can to make america's children as seamless as possible. thank you and i yield back. >> thank you very much. without objection all other members who wish to read their statement for the record, they can submit them to the committee clerk electronically in microsoft word format by 5:00 p.m. on wednesday june 19. i now would like to introduce the witness for the first panel. frank rogan serves as defense secretary for elementary and secondary education of the united states department of education. secretary brogan who most recently served as pennsylvania's public and diversities i could help noticing you and doctor schlabach giving your other. he began his career for fifth
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grade teacher in march in florida and later served as a student and assistant principal and superintendent before being elected portis commissioner of education in 1984. mr. rogan continued for the public education when he was selected to serve as governor afford in 1988 in 2002. after five years in that role he was named president of florida atlantic university a position he held until 2009 when he was selected to serve as florida's public universities. we appreciate all the witnesses for being here today and look forward to your testimony. let me remind the witnesses that we have read your written statement and they will appear in full in the hearingne record, and the committee rules have a committee practice in each of you is asked to limit rural presentation for summary every recent stop in.
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let me remind the witnesses the federal 18 of the u.s. court section 1001 it is illegal knowingly and willfully the falsifying statement representation with writing, document or material sent to congress or other to cover up material facts. before you begin your testimony tiease remember to push the button on the microphone in front of you it will turn on and the members can hear you. they have to push the button to turn on the site. as you begin to speak if you will turn green after four minutes the light will turn yellow and you will signal your one minute remaining, when the light turned red your five minutes has expired and we ask you please report. when entering a question, please remember to once again turn your microphone on. i will welcome and recognize assistant secretary for his oral statement. inca.
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>> has that quick. >> the lights were easier. i want to thank you all very much, and making members and members forgive me the opportunity to be with you and the committee members today and thinking for the opportunity to share how the department of education does work hard to help students, their families and communities and states and territories recover from natural disasters. in 2017, hurricanes in florida, texas, georgia, puerto rico and the united states virgin islands and wildfires in california disrupted are too many learning environments for students and teachers. those of us at the department of education where move to minimize impacts on students of all ages, their teachers and their schools, we continue to support the communities as they work to reopen schools and restore learning environments. secretary devos has mentioned
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another senior department officials travel to each of the rcrricane impacted areas in the fall of 2017 to see firsthand the damage to affected schools, more than a dozen department staff participated in the outreach efforts informed initial cost estimates, developed a legislative options, prepared an official, helped to prepare a white house to congress to assistance and technical assistance to congress to help develop the decision. secretary devos immediately made available initial assistance through the department project serve program which helped restore learning environments that affected areas. she provided grants of $2 million each to the united states virgin islands, puerto rico, texas and california. the goal of jumpstarting high-purity relief efforts to supplement the forthcoming congressional action on comprehensive disaster legislation. in early 2018 congress provided
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2.7 ilhan dollars to fund a comprehensive set of education related disaster recovery programs. the department quickly moved to implement this upper t creation. to date we have awarded nearly $1.4 billion under five programs. designed in the separate to make certain that people have the available funds to do the jobs that they must do in the world of recovery. i also personally visited puerto rico in the summer of 2018 following my confirmation as assistant secretary, by the time students were back in school, that did not mean everything was back to normal. many of the windows were still boarded-up, many of the buildings were the air-conditioning and many of the students were still must as well as tough numbers. yet i refused to forget the smiling faces of the children. despite thehe challenges they ae still children, always hopeful when it comes to their futures.
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our team remains in regular contact with students and education leaders in affected areas created theh hurricane health webpage to make available key resources including information on the many flex abilities and using federal taxpayer funds on various waivers and available. we provided funds to states like florida, $2 million to states like california for the 2018 wildfires. we are working to improve our abilities for timely resources, high-quality support and appropriate oversight of federal taxpayer funds, the creation in the department of education avenue disaster recovery unit, this five person team will be devoted all time to managing current and future disaster response efforts including the development of in-house expertise, leverage department resources and partner effectively with other federal
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agencies. our goal remains to support students, their families, teachers and communities affected by natural disasters. we thank you once again for providing an opportunity to discuss this very important and indeed timely issue for mr. chairman and ranking member i look forward to answering any questions that you all might have this money. >> think very much under committee rule eight a we will not question witnesses under the five-minute role and i've decided to go to the end so i will yield to the next senior member and the majority side will be followed by the ranking member, we will then alternate between parties. >> first doctor, you know each other,. >> thank you, mr. chairman, welcome assistant secretary, we
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have been longtime friends and work together in florida over the years. secretary is lucky to have you. i'm concerned about the delays and restarts to puerto rico and the u.s. virgin islands, puerto rican educators continued to report that they have not received the funds, can you give us a sense of why they been delayed and what you're able to do to make sure that they get those funds quick. >> thank you congresswoman and indeed, good to see you as well. and by the way, the lucky to have you two. it is a pleasure to be with you and all of the members the process of moving the dollars available to congress to those who have been affected by natural disasters is very important, it's also very
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important to expedite effort. the reality in 2017 when we received the appropriation was performing for another the last was receivedes in february and ultimately in the month of march, april may significant amount of money immediately went out the door in terms of available dollars, those dollars were determined based on need at the time but also based on the program and the activities to which they would be directed, agile no better than most as far back as 2017 and even before that, certain categories of funding have been utilized in disaster recovery allocations. entering after the total. that includes immediate aid to restart school operations, that is restart obviously, temporary emergency impacted for displaced
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students, assistance for homeless children and youth is another, project school emergency response to violence, those are the grants that i mentioned a moment ago, and the world of higher education the cost of the really displaced students, program as well as emergency assistance to institutions of higher education, we rapidly tried to take the total amount of money and then begin the issue of dividing not based on applications that we received which is another part of this process from the distribution program that i mentioned here, i hope that helps a little bit. >> do you know how much puerto rico and the virgin islands have drawn out of the restart from date. >> i can tell you a little bit more about drawdown. you mentioned puerto rico, vi,
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yes. for all of these other mentioned the total impact invited by congress was $2.7 billion as it relates to the drawdown puerto rico out of that received restart 589 million, $170,000 along with other categories of funding including 70 or a million dollars, $277,000 and enter projects served $2 million, out of that, the drawdown schedule we will absolutely get you that by the way the drawdowns are posted on the fema website because we work with groups like fema to keep a running tab are not only the total allocations but how much each has been drawn down during
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that time. and we will get that to you but expeditious is the word that we try to look to when it comes to getting the dollars to the places that they need to go. >> so you don't know exactly how much they've drawn down, puerto rico for example of the 589 million. >> i do know this, i don't have a dollar figure but it's about 5% att' this point. >> that's been drawn down quick. >> again, that is a snapshot in time even as we say here, the drawdown process which is tied to an actual expenditure is changing even while were sitting here today. >> i know you well enough to know if you are in charge of education and puerto rico you'd be pretty upset if you'd only drawn down 5% of the money. is there anything you can do to expedite for puerto rico, this is a year end half, two years
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after the events. >> thank you congresswoman, yes, we work very hard with puerto rico from technical assistance and support with the idea of being that the more that they know, the better the opportunity they will have two more rapidly drawdown funds, work through the process and all of the things that can sometimes slow down the actual drawdown schedule of those funds. so even almost going on two years out the procurement process that they work with is very complicated, very cumbersome and indeed as part of the contribution to the process of turning available funds to the drawdown funds which means they are not only procured what they need but they spent the money on. >> members, not on.
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>> for purpose of questioning the witnesses. >> thankof you. again, mrs. victor thank you for being with us. your testimony you mentioned the creation of the disaster recoveryer unit and a few questions about that, your written statement said the unit will have five full-time staff, what will the responsibilities be. >> yes, sir, many federal agencies already have in place full-time dedicated staff on the issue of disaster and does after recoveries. ultimately we believe that based on the number of natural disasters been identified in the amount of available dollars flowing to them through congress that it was time that the department of education also install a full-time dedicated unit to be the nucleus of activities on these issues.
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there will be five people once we are fully staffed, a person to direct and for others. they will help to better coordinate with all of the federal agencies and help us review the policy, process and procedures relative to how we handle natural disasters and there will be an ongoing conflict with education of people in ther field based on both preparation as well as recovery efforts through technical assistance and support. we are very excited about this. >> how will this unit interact with recovery support functions leadership group that you've also discussed in your opening statement. >> that is the work that we do with fema, we already have regular ongoing meetings with fema and other agencies that fema works with in terms of disaster preparedness and also disaster recovery, their regular
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monthly meetings, quarterly meetings are leadership, we will continuend this but by having ts particular unit it will give us an even better data date conduit with not just fema for all the agencies in that case that work on disaster issues. in your statement also, you indicated that the department had learned lessons over the last couple of years and takinge steps to improve. >> i know in georgia we recently had hurricane michael and of course this is the usda, but the system that was used was not particularly user-friendly. very complex, a lot of complaints and obviously we want to make sure that every dollar is spent where it's supposed to be spent.
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and presumably one of the steps in the creation of the recovery unit that we just discussed, what could you provide as far as more details of how the department is otherwise improving the protocols to assist effective state and communities before and after the natural disasters quick. >> ranking member allen and members, that question is a very important one as it relates to the group of individuals that i'm speaking about in terms of the disaster recovery unit, the idea that everything we have done is based on historic track record of events in response and yet we are not satisfied everyone of those cases we are as a department where we want to be to assure rapid response droplet appropriation of funds made available by congress in ultimately the monitoring review of how those funds are spent. it goes back to congresswoman question and they will be in every day on the ground unit
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that will help support the effort of expediting in the future, even better the work that we do, one quick shout out to congress, the fact the congress essentially is using in the recent appropriations i rattled off the list of programs before, that they may consistent and including the most recent round of funding that you approve the other day is enormously helpful so we don't have to go back and wheels along the way in that regard. by working with congress and other agencies, we are totally committed to continuing to review her process to ensure we can only expedite but also as you mentioned ranking member be true to the fact that we are spending other people's money in that regard. >> take you so much and i yell back.
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>> thank you for much mr. allen, i now recognize as morelle from new york. >> thank you mr. j and the effects of natural disasters under communities in schools, thank you mr. secretary for joining us today. the united states must do everything in its power for expendable threat climate change including mitigating natural disasters under communities. with undeniable disability that is deteriorating each year we see spikes and weather pattern and rising sea levels and increasing severe natural disasters the displaced families, properties in life. we aresy experiencing streaks of tornadoes ripped into the midwest and wildfires in california and catastrophic hurricanes in the southeast and in the caribbean dangerously threatening more than 20 states.
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the devastation that follows the natural disasters these communities struggling to rebuild to the daily lives, often in ever recovering. i want to talk a moment about rochester. the devastated effects of floodwaters. in 2017 the district was hit hard by record flooding that eroded family homes, crippled lakeside businesses, disrupted educational institutions. many community members are still struggling to recover the impacn of climate change don't wait around prospering in fact just as weak lake ontario where district had water levels had a new record high. yet again the district is faced with reality of rising flood model.levels. they recognize the negative effects of natural disasters onh education system schooled closures, despise communities, destroyed infrastructure and traumatized children and the stability of the school provides for students is offended by
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natural disasters to have substantial negative affects the impact the road to recovery and contractions of life. in the funds of lack of coordination. plaintiff or the future in improving our ability and adapt to weather-related events is a requirement the requires us to fce the fact that climate change is real despite what people. >> people cannot argue and listen. but it's folly to ignore the fact that this is happening and everything in her power to curb global warming and protect the planet. i am particularly interested in prevented majors that we can take to ready ourselves for the inevitable natural disasters which natural disasters of tomorrow, but tomorrow i mean not necessarily figurative pity. i'm curious whether the department actually talks to the national weather service associated agencies around
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modeling that they may be doing and what the thoughts are to school communities pretty do that, do you know if the department does not. >> esther, the department does participate in all of the committee work that is done by fema with all the different agencies and those kind of issues as you probably imagine are discussed with great frequency. [crowd boos] i'm happy to hear that. is the department engaged in data-gathering relative to tracking property damage and whether the increased levels around the country, do you work with them at a local district or state on the england and the natural disasters. we are tracking data relative to issues like that through the states themselves in part responsible for trackingsp the
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data for the every student who 60s there. for example chronic absentee et cetera are things that are currently tracking. >> things contribute to to natural disasters, to the categories that quick. >> some of that we are, we hope that by seated up this full-time operation we could do a better job in the future is beginning to take looks and warmer information. >> that would be great into the degree that you can share with us so we can know the data would be great. i'm also interested in my prior life in the state legislator in one. as chair of the entrance committee, we look at ways to mitigate and resiliency prior to the impact of natural disasters, strengthening schools physically, emergency evacuation, can you describe in the remaining 20 seconds i have, give me an overview of what you're doing relative to communicating with states and districts about mediation efforts. >> esther. >> we do a tremendous amount of work to the various education
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association, the meetings that they have to the state as well as local level of preparation for as most people who dealt with emergency situations realize a great deal as determined in the preparation process as to how you're able to recover following the actual event. we worked very hard on his issues. >> think mr. secular. the government spent at this time and like to recognize the ranking member of the fork committee, the gentle lady from north carolina thank you, mr. chairman and think you secretary for being here. it is been years since the first words were made to areas impacted with hurricane and wildfires in 2017. on a series of quick questions about these thoughts. yeah data on how these funds are being spent. >> thank you for being here and think of the question. to all of the members, the
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answer to that is generally yes, people are not required to put in a plan per se but everyone he receives his dollars was put in a budget which is in some ways skeletal structure of a plan and those budgets are what we used to track expenditures and for what categories et cetera. e> thank you. our states able to draw downtime to allocate schools the effectively and efficiently and if not are there particular roadblocks that are preventing funds from being used effectively. >> ranking member, as you might imagine, i'm sure you do in the direct aftermath of these events, sometimes it is rather chaotic and therefore takes a little bit of time for people to settle back in and be able to take a serious step away look at exactly what their needs are and how that can be done. that is part some of suggestions
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of the delay in getting people their money. in order to flood the application that they must, they have to be able to take a look at what they're doing and turn the needs into an application that we then used to build them, their original allocation for what we receive from congress in overtime refined that with them for additional drawdown. >> i gather from what you're saying, although i missed your opening statement, the department is setting up full-time people are going to work with this year-round. could you tell us what technical assistance or other support is the department providing to hard-hit areas to help them with procurement and contracting. i think you alluded to that earlier. >> ranking member, in some cases because the procurement is typically handled at the local level appropriately, procurement is a mention can be one of those
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delay points in the process based on how complicated some procurement processes are, that does not make the process back, his heirs and they must work to that in order to do it. what we can do is continue to provide technical assistance and we will not only continue that, will expand that with the new team to try to make it clear when in were necessary as to how the procurement process at a local level needs that we have to be compliant come together more expeditiously to be able to move that into dollars available. >> thank you again. the department in disaster relief has been fairly limited. both in terms of the responsibility your agencies have taken on in the number and type of relief efforts the department has been directly involved and it seems to be changing from your comments.ep as you ramp up the department disaster response effort how are you structuring those efforts to allow you to respond its wildly
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different kinds of disasters suchof as hurricane, typhoon, wildfires, all sometimes happening at the same time. >> ricci member, i have here a list that i have for reference, it contains all of the locations that were affected in 2017 when the bba was originally created, the bipartisan act, the 2018 in the 2019, there are dozens of locations identified in congressional legislation from the time until now. so to your point, we have to be proactive and not wait to play catch-up, one of the reasons we established the deer you is to make sure we are trying to keep pace full-time with the growing number of recognized natural disasters in dealing the
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appropriations that we received nsfrom congress. >> thank you very much for mr. chairman i want to know, these are natural disasters, they are not things that we human beings can control although i recognize there are things we should do her best to be able to respond to. but also it's my understanding fema and all of the federal agencies are here simply to lend support to the local people. they're the ones on the ground, your end, year out and i think it's very important that we not hold unrealistic expectations to the department of education and other federal departments for the responsibilities that are on the ground every day. thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> i would like to recognize mse minutes. >> think humans are chairman and secretary, it's nice to have you here a proceeding. >> i know that you and mention they were only able to draw done about 5% of those funds, talking about puerto rico if believe. and you been this way for wedo and i'm wondering do you see the steam taking a look at this in the process on several cases. what do you think you're going to find that really could be done quite differently quic? >> you know little bit about these issues as well. i would answer that question this way. i think we will find things over time in the department that we can and should do differently
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and at the risk of sounding like i'm throwing it all back to the people of the state and local level, i am not. we have to continue to work with people who have a huge amount of responsibly and also have to meet a huge number of obligations at the state and local level as well. it is trying to bring those two things together to create a more seamless system of s communication, expectation, obligation so there are not, t when it comes to procurement as many hurdles for people to cross as we might face today, i think all of us, and i herald the people at the state local level that are working toward that and hopefully we will get better at it in the future. >> another part of it, time to tiild out resilience, into the system so that people don't have to think about. [laughter] >> i remember after katrina we talked about the worst time to
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exchange business cards in the middle of a disaster. you have to build that in and you have to know what one's counterpart is at different levels and in that regard as well, you talked about the five person team, but how about the government approach as well. how many different agencies beyond being on paper, i really engaged in problem solving in this area aggressively before disaster struck. in responding to my colleagues, i agree, obviously the federal government cannot possibly be doing the job at the state and local government but they should be aware of best practices where in fact there has been a seamless adjustment in dmmunities that have been devastated by these disasters. >> you could not have said it
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better. i just had a conversation with folks the other day and they were expressing appreciation rate we just did a presentation for not just fema but the group that fema brings together on a regular basis in terms of some of the things that we in education have to deal with on her side of the issues and they found it to be extraordinarily helpful, we need to keep doing more of that as we continue to communicate with the people ino the field so we can find voids or find redundancy to also create inefficiency at the same time, a lot t of it as corny ast might sound falls under the continued and even better communication by everyone as wed move forward, i go back long enough along with congresswoman to remember andrew in south florida when i lived there and i have to tell you, we are already back, way back to some ofal thoe natural disasters and others in
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terms of lessons learned, we should not be repeating the stakes of the past. >> oful course, and i appreciate that. one of the real issues of course is where young people even preschool age and earlier can be housed during the horrible crisis that the living through and am wondering about the role of the'm federal government when it comes to finding the facilities and resources in neighboring communities in it somein cases far away from becae they are not urban and were people might go. what is the role in that regard? >> you mentioned earlier, technically speaking every federal agency has the potential to be involved in a disaster program under preparation and disaster recovery, as you might imagine as well been in d.c.,
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some of the agencies are more front and center on the issue assed on what they do. when we meet with fema for example, were sitting around the table withre hhs, we're meeting with d.o.j., we're meeting with federal agencies like hud have a clear indistinct role but technically speaking, the federal government is an open book when it comes to the bpotential of support . . . . testing requirements, we actually moved from a 180 day seven our schedule to give me a number of minutes. 72000 minutes. that gave school districts the
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capability. when this happened in texas, people able to ship their schedule and schooldays in their rice extension school year. either federal laws, whether testing requirements that cost scheduling issues that are getting in your way? >> i tell you this, we have taken the every student succeed act going through that to make certain drives as well as can be expected with what kinds of flexible these are included in the act that can be utilized, not just in general the process but as well in post natural disaster situation. the timing of testing is a good example for that. it's possible to move the time test scheduled if that helps the situation to delay it further,
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to be able to get people settled for one small example. there are other possibilities flexibility. we are learning a great deal from states like yours. in terms of what additional flexibility's still comply with the law but nevertheless, my give people other opportunities that they currently don't have for the future. if any of those requiree legislative authorities, we would quickly tune to you and ask for help and support. >> wrecking i heard is we have the flexibly need and if we think we need more, we welcome back next. >> we have all the flexibility, whether it's enough, we will determine that over time with the help and assistance especially the people out there in the field. they are the ones we listen to as far as the impact in terms of making any possible changes we fight necessary.
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>> i heard you say tornado comes, not in school for a month, they need to push their test back, the biggest schedule as if written as if nothing happens. >> the way the testing is approached, each one individual as far as waivers are concerned and what is looked at is the time of year of the event as it relates to the testing and other factors that determine what possibilities there might be to work around the natural disaster to do what still has to be done according to the act. greater flexibility in that regard never a destination point because we are always looking for different ways to achieve that. >> , to be sure, as far as you can so, you have the flexibly
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you need? >> for now. >> i think -- anything else you want to add? >> no. >> thank you. >> i like to recognize the chairman of for junior. >> thank you for being with us today. i want to follow through on the question just asked, a lot of the discussions on the budget and allocation of money, the effect on the students, if they were out ofer school for some time, the back in school? what is the school experience like for them? >> thank you. good to see you. generally speaking, students are back in school from previous disasters but as you know, there
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are disasters unfolding as we are seated here today by virtual of the fact that the disasters are playing out, there currently no doubt students were not in school. yet you of preparation for these ovens and recovery for these events always keeps in mind the importance of reopening schools that they have been closed. but also keeping open if it is possible. to make certain people have a place to go every day. absentees in general can be a problem, just students missing school. anything we can do to bring down the time that students miss school as it relates to the affects of natural disasters critical to us. >> can you say a word about the effect of the disasters in school achievement for the students? >> yes. i will answer you this way. one of the things we look at in the every student succeeds act
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is how people are faring in general based on the tempos that lie within the act. we look at not only general testing and results of against state standards but we also look at some of the subgroups laid out in to see how individuals are faring at the same time. look at those with each state as a partner to determine how students are looking generally. over time, but we would like to do is also be able to begin to look at how students might be through appropriate research effort, not just anecdotal to see if natural disasters are having sizable impact on student achievement as demonstrated through what made responsible of them through that act. >> when you looked, what did you see? >> we are looking that way just yet. i think as we get better
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developed with how we respond to these things and as we look toward the research community to assist us, among other things, those are some of the things we want to begin to look at, not just the recovery effort itself but also the recovery and impact it has on teaching and learning. >> need to get that information as soon as possible. some of these students have regressed and are not one at the rate they should be. we need additional resources to correct that. we won't know until we get the data. before coming to the education d department, states particularly formal to man-made climate change, what did florida do to prepare for anticipated changes due to climate change like
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increased risks of hurricane and flooding as it relates to school operations? >> thank you. i say that florida is considered to be one of the leaders in the country in terms of preparation and recovery efforts when it comes to natural disasters. by virtue of that fact, i was proud to work with men and women in florida in terms of both effort. we better prepare as a state for those that are occurring and have occurred and how we deal with those that do occur. during my 35 years inha the stae of florida, florida essentially probably answered the same way i do about that the permit of education, you're constantly looking for ways, no matter how good we think we are to be even better going forward in the
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future and with the number, as i mentioned earlier of events and the number of its territories impacted, our obligation is increasing along with other federal agencies in that regard. >> have time for you to answer this with the time i have left but the crime assessment, the trump administration climate change increasing impact on horses to infrastructure on property. also advise substantial and sustained global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could help reverse that. if you could provide for the record what the department is doing to deal with the effects of reducing the effects of climate change, i would appreciate that. but my time is expired. i'd like that for the record. >> thank you. i'd like to recognize you for five minutes.
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>> you deal with things like hurricanes with the recent disaster the, to that gets involved in construction and that sort of thing? >> good to see her. to answer your question, when it comes to actual construction, we may be involved in small rapid turnaround for some recovery efforts but largely those would be determined, with available funds you provide to us for things like remodeling a quick turnaround basis, major construction nature reconstruction after it is left to fema. >> okay so are you involved in putting children in different places, that sort of thing so they don't with class?
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>> we would be involved in things like replacement of textbooks. that is very typical, replacement of technology that is lost as a result of natural disasters. >> primarily natural disasters, hurricanes. >> those are the big ones. not alone but those are the big ones. >> could you describe the difference between federal government involved in a hurricane, state in the decade or 1960s or when we had big hurricanes? >> the difference between now and then? >> department of education 70s - >> i tell you anecdotally that after 35 years and four in a variety of different public service capacities, we are getting better and better as a nation and helping deal with the preparation for and aftermath of natural disasters, what they are. hurricanes, wild fires,
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tornadoes, volcanoes and not only in part because we have to but also because people are communicating better and i think this is another good example. your responses to these things have changed very much over a long period of years for the better as well. >> always going to give more money i guess, i've noticed that. >> thank you. >> could you describe ways we are doing things differently today, how we handle things in the 90s or 80s. give me examples of how things have changed. >> thank you.ed i think we are doing a better job collectively of preparation. in the early days perhaps, whatever that means, we spent most of our time and energy on recovery. that is still necessary. i think we as a nation are doing much more on a much better job
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of dealing with how we deal with wtural disaster when one befalls us as opposed to how we will recover once we have to deal with one. i think that is a major difference. >> give me an example. >> i go back to the group that fema has, we talk at the federal level, all the agencies regular basis. part of those conversations is dedicated to preparation, training of people at the local level, providing on-site review of schools for example that can identify ways the individual school can better prepare itself in the event of a natural disaster. those things are not only discuss regularly but technical assistance support hope websites are set up to the agencies to be able to make available to people
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specific recommendations as to how to better prepare for the future. >> local school districts and for attending a seminar or something, we have a hurricane issue, we will do that? >> yes, sir. >> i'll yield the remainder of my time. >> thank you. >> i would like to recognize you of connecticut for five minutes. >> thank you. i also want to talk about what happened after the recovery efforts, then having a personal expense dealing with students after a disaster in my first year of teaching, right after katrina. we welcomed students from louisiana into our school system, not knowing where they were on the spectrum how long they would be there. other families dealing with trauma. hemore recently, after hurricane maria, myy state cost 2000
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students, the district nine -- we welcomed more students than any other community. this increased our population. how do we hire new teachers to accommodate these acts all of these things were questions went had to ask. i guess whatod i'm thinking abot is, i saw the phenomenon that was after hurricane katrina and that was charter schools where regulations were loosened and in an effort to reopen all these schools, charters were run by dozens of different independent operators. i recently ran into apparent who literally, as an education part and she talked about how before katrina, her kids went to the same school. after, she had to accommodate special needs in a year later it
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closed, there were serious problems. i'm concerned that the pattern we saw katrina will not be thduplicated and my concern pary is from the statement you made that, and i quote, the state of puerto rico would be a beacon of school of choice. they will work side-by-side with them to achieve that it's not a "light. i saw teachers struggle to get recertified, their proper credentials once the community was affected by disaster. all kinds of things and i sit here think i spent most of my time on the ground. i've been on the receiving end of this. my question is, what has been there of the department has the department in any way promulgated school twice further and poor reader puerto rico post
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maria? >> the technical assistance and support we provide on the issue of school choice is ongoing regardless. it was there before the storms and continues, separating the issue of recovery from the issue of school twice. there have been no attempts to ramp up the efforts author the efforts as a tool to deal with the recovery efforts. if that answers your question. >> there's no attempt to promote it further in puerto rico replace the public system with carter specific system? >> no more or less than before the natural disaster. the infrastructure in puerto rico before the storms was facing great difficulty. that includes loss of students before this dooms, facilities, classrooms, school buildings
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that needed refurbishment or replacement for the storms. they exacerbated the problems that puerto rico was already facing. >> to leave you with something, as you continue to talk about how you prepare for storms, one of the main challenges was that i saw, access to student records. access to, even when teachers want to get certified in another state, they could not access any of the academic data so therefore, they could use their certification in another state. inside of what we see on the ground, part of the gap in transitioning students was not having access to the information we needed to properly place th them, they even though they were attending schools or on-site,
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they were not receiving the academic education they needed because we weren't sure what to do with them. they were just being held sometimes for several weeks while we were trying to close the gap in that like. you can't really prepare for that. as you are thinking through next steps, it's something we need to have a more proactive plan to address. >> thank you. >> i think we have time for mr. thompson of pennsylvania. five minutes. >> thank you. chancellor, great to see you. congrats on your continued service to our kids. everything you haveyo done in pennsylvania and florida and now nationwide. you're really appreciate it. my first question has to do wi
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with, i appreciate you being here today. the elementary and secondary education act broadly requires funds to be awarded entities with the environment, it's been disrupted. could you explain in more detail, the criteria that the department uses for funds awarded and how much entity receives? >> yes, sir. this can be very bureaucratic so i will try to go up there. how try hard to answer your questions. project serve comes from the congress. it was made available some years ago for what is considered to be availability of flex ability and rapid response. in the aftermath of acts of, violence or a part of this natural disaster. it requires an application from
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the people at the local level and then based on the application, there are three ways to receive money. one is that you can apply for a grant for six months could be to $50000. one is for a longer, larger grant of up to 18 months for immediate need based on restoration to appropriate learning environment. up to $250,000 for that 18 month. as the natural disasters have continued to grow and some are aware of this, larger rewards are being made by secretary in this case, for 2017, some for 18, immediate response as high as one to $2 million. based on the available products or funds we have.
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>> thank you. we seen such catastrophic disasters, hurricanes, flooding, fires in the western part of the state, the question i have is on a smaller scale, a lot of the country is getting drier, we continue to get wetter. where we are not really having flooding as much, the groundwater is so full. we've had some schools closed because of i mold. it's not the fault of the school districts, it's just the commendation of all of that water soaking into the water table and we had schools closed from time to time, mostly short-term, i think, is that the kind of thing that perhaps school district -- and therefore, kids are being relocated, perhaps went longer than other times, is that the kind of thing that would be
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maybe under consideration for assistance for temporary relocation for education purposes? >> it could be. we know when it comes to some of our more remote locations, territories, people have used some of those project serve hours to least alternative space when their entire facility was rendered useless as a resultre f a typhoon, for example. that project had that flex ability attached to it. it was subject to the available some of money we have for projects or sometimes as we have done recently, we can cap the awards for everybody just to make sure that if we get deeper into the fiscal year end something happens, we have available once. it's a very flexible pot of money that congress fight. >> i recognize the catastrophic issues we've had, our schools being lost and the impact.
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thank you for the clarification. >> thank you. we have been called and agreed to come back for the second panel. i recognize myself for five minutes. you agree with the findings of the administrations assessment that man-made climate change is costing great damage to our country? >> as you might expect, i and others regularly questions about climate change, especially doing the jobs we do. my answer, believe me, it is not to be, is honest. i think like most recognize the changes taking place in climate but i admit, i've been in education for 40 years but i am not a scientist and the direct
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result of all of that, i couldn't tell you about that. we rely on a lot of other people in that regard. i do know this, we, each of us have to be responsible steward of our little slice of the planet in which we live. >> we only have one, we all have to share. in your position, the department of education is could you bidding to efforts on climate change -- >> i do might imagine, we work on the education front, largely the vast majority of work we do, with schools, teachers and children. i then, on the side tell you that all of the country, educational communities continues to talk aboutut clima, being good stewards as it
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relates to our students in the world environment and making sure they each, all 50 million of them are responsible stewards in their own way. in that effort, i think it's safe to say it goes on every day in american schools, public and private. >> i had other questions but mr. secretary, two days ago on monday, 165 million took over your department of education. along with the secretary to do so, what i want to know is how does the department accept funding in the next 90 days before the new school year starts, could you tell us how the department will provide timely and effective assistance to all? >> we will continue to respond tore immediate needs as we haven
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the past. you mentioned product surf before, whenever and wherever necessary and possible. even beyond that, the legislation that passed also includes responsibility that we develop within the department, in the next 30 days following lae signing of that legislation, spending plan for the dollars that have been provided by congress and congress will have availability of that spending plan after that 30 day period of time. then as always, we are responsible for providing reports on a regular basis as to how dollars are flowing and being drawn down. >> thank you. you also stated that the department created disaster recovery unit. or you man by a support staff. devoted to full time, managing the department, response efforts to help the permit, effectively with congress. what i would like to know is
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prior to the creation, how many full-time employees were dedicated to assisting schools and partnering with congress, what have they done to assist schools in california, puerto rico and virgin islands? >> thank let me part this out by way of response, in the department, no one has been devoted as far, the present to the issue of natural disasters. we have many people who have fulfilled that role in part across only the opposite elementary but across the department. this will be our first time effort into organizing a group of people who will have that responsibility 2/47.
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in that regard, we recently did a check to see how many people hours have been invested recently in the natural disaster work based on all people involved through technical assistance and support and etc. i think we stopped counting at 20000 people hours. anybody in our department has potential to be involved in this process and with the development of a full-time unit, they can help us better coordinate even those activities. >> my time is up. thank you very much. thank you for joining us today. >> my pleasure to see you.. >> a recess now so members can run. i think there are for faults. oh, one. we'll have time for the second. be patient.
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... want to remind my colleagues and to address the subject matter of the hearing and the witness the documents
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are limited longer than 50 pages will be incorporated into the record through an internet link you must provide that within the timeframe. the ranking member thank you for joining us now i will introduce the second panel. . >> back.
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>> with numerous agencies in the community with the elementary education from the university of the virgin islands and with the school psychology from the university of connecticut. as an educator of 45 years began his career as an
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elementary middle school teacher in 1970 he joined in 1984. to serve in several positions but the commission of education and to reach the all time high and in 2007 and then to join the national map and there he directed the national education improvement programs and dramatically expanded with the mathematics and science courses especially and then with that northern marianas as well.
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and then with over 40 years of service and then as a history teacher and in this position to have experience of urban and suburban in settings educational services and i will give the abbreviated of instruction to the witnesses you're asked to give your oral presentation of a five-minute summary and willingly falsified any statement of material fact before you begin your testimony please press the button of the microphone so that it will turn on and the members can hear you right in front of you the light will
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turn green and it will signal you have one more minute and we ask that you please wrap up and then the entire panel will make their question when answering remember to turn your microphone on. i will first recognize the commissioner. thank you. . >> to members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to share their experiences on the commonwealth of the northern marianas. as we work to recover after the hurricane seven months ago. and then with 200 miles per hour and over the last three years to be hit by a typhoon.
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and that we act immediately the federal government should act with those impacts on our environment and if we don't we risk losing beautiful islands like ours and how we build our homes and airports and seaports and then to continue with any disaster that occurs. and then over half with five schools that require those repairs rewiring and reroofing and air-conditioner repairs replacement textbooks chairs and tables the largest because it is completely destroyed.
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those that are a temporary solution but we need a reinforced concrete school in excess the estimated cost to build is roughly $40 million. another square one --dash with the reconstruction revocation of those students seven months after the storm we stop high schools operating in double session they attend a school for the first half of the day and the other set attend the same building for the second half of the day. this is especially different for working families who need to figure out who will watch their children and also means drivers that he means more downtime for schoolbus repairs
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before they have to the kids have to return to their homes the public school system spent one.$8 million from schools and head start centers and for families using schools as shelters we estimate $24 million to be received our broken classroom buildings to restore to the previous condition so let's remember we lost multiple school buildings and that they are not sustainable and super typhoon conditions we seek reimbursement from fema of just over $750,000 we have estimated about 50 million of repairs to be made in her school still waiting final approval from fema. we have our estimates these repairs cannot be made until fema approves the budget
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worksheets. the commonwealth main industry with the visitors each year the airports are close to commercial traffic and by 40 percent since the beginning of this calendar. the very honest visitors authority which tracks arrivals each month and occupancy and room rate and with those currently available in this fiscal year and next fiscal year we are now taking 15 percent budget cut this year and next fiscal year this on top of the fact do not have the federal funds to make that infrastructure we need disaster relief funds from fema and community development block grant disaster relief fund to make school repairs when school is out of session june through august with the reopening on september 3rd.
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we need a faster response from fema we can secure the grant of one.$1,000,000.1 month after the storm the us department of education there were grief counselors for students and teachers that suffered losses as result of the typhoon and our best drivers working double shifts and substitute teachers to replace those who left after the devastation a big and timely help seven months have come and gone but we are still waiting for the fema cost estimates for school repairs. . >> commissioner thank you your testimony will be entered into the record. >> thank you very much. >> i now recognize miss thomas for five minutes.
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>> thank you. good morning to the members of the subcommittee i am the president of the st. croix federation of teachers. i represent teachers and professionals and support staff serving 10000 students 2000 schools and eight elementary schools. september 192,017 hurricane maria ravage the island of st. croix causing significant damage to infrastructure. many citizens lost or suffered damage to their homes and other personal property the virgin island public school system sustained tremendous damages and is still in a state of disrepair. the high school was entirely condemned by fema k through
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eight school is scheduled to be rebuilt and the elementary school has gotten some modular structures for some classrooms but then on the football field which has negatively impacted the school's recreation and modular facilities were recently constructed at the junior high school and unfortunately they abruptly closed and april 2019 and is now how housed within the site consequently two schools are now occupying this complete
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modular site. the school is obviously overcrowded and has to scale back programs due to lack of sufficient classroom space. the western wing of the elementary school was totally destroyed and has since been condemned to. modular structures have been directed to replace the demolished classrooms. the condemned structure of the westernmost wing remains untouched surrounded by a chain-link fences. recently a wall at the elementary school that housed third and second grade classrooms collapsed which caused students to be reassigned nothing has been repaired and now there are no plans to do so. both i live high schools think roy central high school in the educational complex are in
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desperate need of repair. the two schools are currently preparing for accreditation visit from the commission on higher education. if permanent repairs are not executed there only two high schools on the island of st. croix will lose accreditation. the air-conditioning units in our technical education center has been down for quite some time the building weeks and has mold. we are concerned students and school employees as they continue to get sick we are essentially at a standstilll regarding any pending permanent repairs by fema with the damage assessment from the schools and activity centers that have been executed by many government officials and agencies with no concrete plan
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that has been employee to permanently fix the hurricane ravage schools and facilities. more than 20 months after the hurricane many educators continue to suffer respiratoryry ailments related to mold and poor air quality and additionally no drinking water in any public schools and the public water system doesn't have water daily today students continue to have medical symptoms including ptsd this was discovered during a recent visit from volunteers who came to the virgin islands to do vision screenings and hearing screenings many classrooms do not have desks or chairs for children are teachers or storage closets.
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at this phase the department of education is not release the summer maintenance plan to shore up the schools the question that we need answered where is fema with a permanent repair plan aware is the department of education on oversight. no definitive plans to complete permanent plans have been unveiled to the community. >> thank you. your testimony will be submitted for the record. i now recognize our witness for five minutes. >> thank you chairman and ranking member and members of the committee for the invitation to share with you the approach to disaster relief i focus our remarks primarily on the time when i was commissioner 2004 through 2007 to experience more
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hurricanes in 2004 with hurricane charley and francis and ivan thaty devastated the state of florida and with that level of devastations effect on schools we have 13 school districts losing more than ten days of school and a number of them were up to three or four weeks of school. the hurricanes crisscrossed florida so three weeks after charlie we were hit with another hurricane then another and another within 48 days. florida has an emergency management system that wins simulations of disasters and as well as recovery efforts the department of educationor is a partner e in that effort. we believe we open schools
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quickly is critical not only for the impact it has on student learning but just as important is the impact on children safet safety. more injuries and deaths occur after a hurricane than during a hurricane because it's critical to get students back in school so they are not playing among debris and dangerous situations. also our relief efforts in my opinion and in many states with the opening of schools must have leadership of the state governor only the governor has the authority and the ability to mobilize the national guard and a lot of other partners we rely on such as fema and agriculture and military as well as local and
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state private sector as well as thousands of volunteers who come to help schools and to reopen so quick and comprehensive school disaster requires not a set of activities that our linear but rather for reopening schools at the same level what we learned the school personnel could not utilize the day after the hurricane struck you have shock and assessing damages as well as taking care of school w personnel we learned
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it's important to have a single point of contact with the department of education to each school district that facilitates communication and keeps the messages very clear so we can act on them expeditiously school districts at that time are not used to getting help from outside. so with nontraditional areas such as the national guard or private industry coming in to support what we were doing so we brought partners to school district planning meetings to explain how they could in fact, with the recovery efforts and we also learned
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that virtually everyone was willing to help on behalf of the governor i gave a listav of my written testimony but i will highlight a couple florida is a growth state and we use relocatable classrooms to accommodate so when hurricane charley and the other three hit we needed to mobilize those classrooms we contacted the five major manufacturers and they said they were on backorder from florida. we called the superintendent's association and requested they edredirect some of those relocatable classrooms to the affected areas and they happily complieded with that request thank you.
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>> there are a number of issues that needed with regulations to the governor's authority with his emergency management situation and i will be happy to answer further questions. >> thank you for your testimony and i now recognize doctor harrington for five minutes. >> the elected county superintendent it is an honor to share lessons learned of what devastated my community r 2017 and is to help the leaders for similar disasters not just the recent can't fire as well as ventura county i command you to convene this hearing so those response agencies can be better prepared for when the next
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disaster strikes my office was privileged to serve those districts to provide care and education to more than 71000 students some are small and rural while others are large and urban wine country is associated with high wealth within 25 percent of students are so she'll economically disadvantaged in october 2017 we experience the tabs fire at the time the most destructive and catastrophic wildfire de in california history and my 46 years as an educator 36 as a superintendent i responded to numerous floods and earthquakes but i haven't seen a natural disaster take such a toll as didr the tabs fire is swept from the dry hills into santa rosa overnight leaving a six lane freeway forcing the closure and evacuation of two regional hospitals to destroy schoolro sites in the homes of
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nearly 1500 students and 250 school employees of sonoma county. wildfires that resulted in $8 billion of property damage and more than 40 deaths since then similar wildfires have been in communities causing more devastation than ours and today i would like to chain want to share a few lessons we have learned and now i believe the federal government can help schools reopen and the committee has a full copy of my report i will highlight a few items schools are essential to restore normalcy because of the catastrophic size there were issues to deal with such as the ensuring of the safety to deal with toxic ash and waste debris with a task force to help them address unanswered questions
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and guidance is to be provided from the epa how toxic ash should be dealt with in the situation. school facilities. when schools are destroyed to find alternate location to hold classes have been challenge especially when 90 percent of the community is destroyed such as paradise california the federal government to provide portable classrooms from the department of defense or fema is greatly resolved that they could be open sooner creating normalcy. grants are valued and appreciated however to utilize the funds there needs to be greater flexibility disasters like ours with the consequences and then it may take longer than the current time constraint.
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preparation of the likelihood report commissioned by california predicted the trends that lead to climate change continue and that would increase by 77 percent by the end of the century with the hazard mitigation grant that they are omitted from county and city plans we recently learned schools could be eligible for additional innding in the event of a disaster so to affect trauma and community events they are dealing with a large number of traumatized staff with surveys of school showing this is a serious impact with testing waivers are not granted to our schools we applied for testing waivers to the federal government and did not receive any waivers for testing such
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as the tabs fire for this year and we had coast on accountabilityty report cards on the state of california. >> so then me will yield and we are followed by the ranking member so for it is time for questioning i'm sorry we cannot show the slideshow we will show that with my questions. you have five minutes.
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>> thank you mister chairman it is enlightening so what is the direct impact and with the end of your testimony some of the things you have seen and sometimes we think of the big picture things understandably more important than anything to talk about those impacts it is very important so i am curious and this may be for doctor harrington but and then to change the approach with a sense ofl preparedness and not likely in the moment to be thinking about that.
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>> applying for the preparation grant and the department needs to make a proactive approach in the cities and counties applied for it to bring the school system into the planning. and as it deals with the impact of students but the tabs fire which occurred this year i don't know if you have the chance to see the aerial view and all that smoke landed in sonoma county. we are 250 miles away. but that residual impact was there.
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and what came in october so if you want to see trauma reenacted so then children started to panic once again. planning for these types of things we are doing long-term psychological training for teachers on how to deal with trauma in the classroom. . . . . the issue for hurricanes and other disasters. how to improve school buildings, victim saver proactively to recently and less property damage. for what it mean for your school
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district, and i'm here to happy to hear any interest, or existing schoolal infrastructur" anticipation? >> california has a string you ever after? we are very prepared for earthquakes and deal with them all the time. from my perspective, it is for preparation of the facility, in california at the gets is needed. i think they seem to have more relief for federal government because of the well standing for that. >> in terms of creating greater resiliency and a proactive way. >> one of the things i mention mentioned, taking a look at our
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island, we know we are prone to more typhoons, we need to pardon our roots, get enough concrete, make it really sustainable with stand stronger winds. ansome of them were within, thoe were all of the ones with damage. >> potentially to be able to deal with some of those issues prior additional episodes would be welcome on your part. >> also thinking of fema requirements, beyond the tarps and plywood, that is considered temporary repair. that can limit the amount,
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chances of applying for litigation. maybe a little more flexible in that. >> thank you. i yield back my time. >> ranking member for five minutes. >> thank you. commissioner, in particular hurricane in florida. you mention in your testimony, 2004, hear more about these to get the subcommittee a better understanding of the magnitude and challenge him state and local officials face. tell us what the extent of the damage the schools result from those hurricanes in more detail and also, what to give credit to
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the state of florida for your excellent response. future disasters are dealt with appropriateness. if you could go into more detail on that, that would be helpful. >> thank you for the question. the devastation in florida was incredible. in $48 billion worth of damage in the state of florida. of basically 48 days. so as you can imagine, particularly we had when hurricane charley hit, in charlotte county, on the western
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side of florida below tampa, went across the state, virtually upgraded all of the mobile home parks in its path. charlotte county lost the use of its 16 schools. we worked with a variety of partners and the school district to establish double sessions for the remaining eight schools, had to work on double sessions, starting earlier in the morning and second session in the afternoon. one of the things we realized there, the school bus routes would not limit to just the main roads. their top priority is getting traffic moving on the main roads. you have people living in rural areas and everywhere else.
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we've got the school districts bus routes and since our national guard was mobilized, they have construction team called the red horse construction who cleared the roads so that school buses, when the schools were ready to open, the school buses could get there. we also worked with, we had a and a half-million people in florida, family in florida without electricity. i was 16 million people at the time. mine and half-million people evacuated sometime during that summer. basically half of florida was affected. we had every school district in florida lost at least one day due to hurricane or anticipation
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for hurricanes. preparation at that time, unfortunately was nowhere near what it is today. for example, in hurricane charley, was supposed to hit all the predictions, hit. it took a sharp turn and hit charlotte county instead. so charlotte county was not really prepared. it's very helpful to have the, people are really focused on whether it will their school district. ford has very hard school districts. only 67 in the state. the devastation, every hurricane had a different problem area. hurricane charley was wind damage hurricane frances flooded. not only flooding at the time because of the rain but flooding
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because it swelled in rivers. i could remember walking through four or five, 6 inches of water in elementary schools and middle schools. >> i'm just about time. how did you coordinate all of these partnerships? somebody had to be directing the efforts of the national guards. >> the governor signed me to courtney. for purposes of opening schools. we established a contract for each school district and went and i personally went to school districts to lead superintendents on their needs. all these partnerships don't happen by accident. somebody has to invite or request. we have a lot of private companies providing books to students while out of school. he had companies donating
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backpacks, school supplies, doctors first students but he does as well when they went back to school. >> i'm out of time. thank you. i yield back. >> thomas, your testimony was cut off because it was going over five minutes. is there something you are not able to say? >> one of the major issues we are facing in the virgin islands -- >> can you turn on, thank you. >> one of the major issues we continue to deal with in the virgin islands is the fema mon money, the release of funds. has been happening since the storm and members and citizens,
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members, teachers, professionals and support staff, very concerned because we are approaching summer. have about two weeks left of school. there's no plans in place for the future of our filters. a lot of them continue to get sick. we continue to want answers. we were communication that flows smoothly. the department does not have a plan, they do not have a clear plan in place. is going to take place over the summer, as all of this talk about temporary versus permanent? i'm not certain where we are with that it's very confusing
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because many people continue to conduct assessment of our schools and we are not seeing results at the level we need. >> how is that affecting the students ability to learn? >> it's affecting it because a lot of them are out sick with respiratory system problems like asthma. they are out sick on a regular basis. right now, about two months ago, there were major problems with the water situation, what pressure on the island. that caused schools to be canceled. regularly. they reported the governor got the system working but there is still a lot of rough in the water through the pipes. >> how is all of this affecting test scores? >> i would assume it is affecting scores because following the storms, we were on split sessions. only received four hours of
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instruction. neatly following the storm. they lost a lot of instructional time. definitely i would think it would have a great impact on scores and performance. >> is or any effort to use the summer to catch up? >> i know there's some planned but i don't know the extent of it. how many students will be accommodated. a great number, i'm not certain about that at this time. >> i think it was your testimony that suggested posttraumatic stress -- >> correct. >> kind of educational strategy will be used to address this? >> well, i know that the union is trying to get some assistance in terms of the posttraumatic stress disorder because started to experience a lot of wind and
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rain so we saw, now we are in the hurricane season that started june 1. years and exciting's emerging again. hoping the department of education in the virgin islands is also looking at that. you shoot's collaboration. i'm open -- i hope they collaborate with the union more. we have a relationship with the department of the union so we reach out to them in that regard also talk to the commission of education to ensure that these programs become available for the students of the burden islands to address posttraumatic stress desert. >> before i get to the students, they have to get to the teachers. is there assistance to inform teachers how to deal with students who have experienced trauma? >> i believe there are programs in place, school psychologist
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when i worked there, teachers see students exhibiting certain behaviors, they have referrals put in place so students can be referred to respective agencies or what have you. to say that there's a major contract of psychologists or counselors or what have you, i haven't heard of that happening. >> we are working with teachers, they will be empowered to deal with students who have been subject to trauma. >> i want to add that teachers have access to counseling, the insurance that the employer provides, gives them the latitude. there are a number of them that they can have if they choose to. >> i make a quick point?
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there is ways of teaching students weapon exposed to trauma and i think we need to make sure that is available, that strategy. that teachers could use to be available. >> the chairman's point is very well loaded. i would like to recognize, i guess you went back. [laughter] >> five minutes. >> thank you. i want to build on scott's, in terms of thinking about school districts that suspend education because of a disaster, what are you seeing how are you thinking about helping students in this three weeks, two months of school, are you extending the school days, the school here? you doing after school programs? how do you think about making up the time lost as a result of a
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disaster? >> i'm sorry, i was asking for florida. statewide question. district by district, how do you think about that? >> that was a huge issue. statutes in florida require that students receive 180 days of instruction during the school year. school calendars are already set. >> specifically the number of hours a day. >> 180 days -- >> not ours? >> five hours. >> there was already legislation that allowed up to three days for disasters, that is clearly not enough. as a part of my authorization, i, the governor, i was able to negotiate with school districts, how they would use either extra
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hours during the day or some of the school here, or schools would normally be closed, they would be open. also to negotiate a larger amount, short, time. for example, many school districts, instead of only getting three days, may have gotten six days. >> interesting to know, 13 districts, that had ten or more days where schools were closed, those students in the state assessment are out gaining in terms of reading and math, outgained the state average. each and every one of them. i attribute that to the tremendous work of the school personnel, teachers who realized there were behind the eight ball
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with instructional time. i think they double the efforts to improve instruction. i think students were happy to be back in school. a sense of normalcy. air-conditioning if for nothing else. all of our reports were that the students were doing well and of course, we had counseling services for students who have issues of loss at home, needed some counseling to help them. >> is really inspiring and it sounds like you've done a longitudinal study to see the losses of time. if you could share that report with us now speak for chairman scott, i think he's interested in think that while based on his
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previous questioning. it's interesting to us. it's not just going back to school, they are extending the day or putting more instruction time into the day so you go from five and half hours of instruction to six or six and a half, is accurate? >> yes, each school district had their own plan on how to extend, meet that requirement. so we negotiated, depending on their own calendars, how many breaks they had in those things. we negotiated, our goal is to have has many days, instructional hours as possible with all the students but to also be realistic in resetting those. as you know, schedules, once they are set would be very controversial with parents and goes on with school breaks in that thing. each school district had its own
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tailored plan to help students in school for the full years. >> thank you. is a very important test money. >> thank you. i'd like to recognize ms. schreier. five minutes. >> thank you. i get all the witnesses, i have questions specifically for you, you're from california, you've gone a ton of wealth first. i'm from washington and we're experiencing some of the same things, not to the same to be but we're outta point were wrote ships, fires happen. i live in the western northwest part of the state. you'd think we would be inflated
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from fire but that has changed as of april, we now have high risk areas even in western washington. fires ever here. absolutely predictable and we have forced management, we're looking at a box over there. firefighters think they may not be able to go to the next california fire because they will be busy in our home state. my son spent the first couple of weeks in the last couple of years having to be the gym with hundreds of other kids because they couldn't go outside. i wanted to ask you, as we get further into this scenario, you would recommend for us because we may have fires into september and october. how we can help our students. >> crystal, i have relied on washington for air quality index. of the few states that has air quality next four schools.
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we have the smoke coming to our state. we had to use that as a guideline. i think every school district in california has guidelines, these two set air quality index for fire. you know what's safe for children. whatever rate you said, i will take this, it's not going to be the right rate for some parents. i advise parents who have children with asthma, you are a parent, take control, decide what is safe for your child. whatever you set, will not be satisfactory. i've been there. also tell you that we're are going through, in california, we've extended our fire season. we have gone through training or evacuation, which every household has ready to go. we learned that from florida.
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we picked up on other states, what they've done. we've never had a prior season as horrific as this past one. you need to know about evacuation patterns. if you want to move a community, i had to house 20000 residents. that was the call i got at 1:00 a.m. open schools, because we need to put shelters in place. how do you get them to? the routes are all jammed because everyone is evacuating. 1 foot fall field a minute. through your community. because of the winds. use your school buses. we learned that school buses are a resource to our transportation system. in the fire, the buses melted on the road. the tires were melting because the fire was so hot. you had to get the children off the bus and into private cars to get them out. you need to have an evacuation pattern for schools.
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it came to our benefit this year when we had floods. we got hit with fires, now we have a flood. when the river flooded, we knew how to evacuate in the middle of the day, he had indication system with california highway patrol. having your resources connected is important. having a fire, schools in your command center for emergency services is essential and we are advising our local schools if you're in a real jurisdiction, you should be part of the city's command center. it's not an afterthought. your schools create normalcy as we talked about.
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need to open schools as soon as possible because it gives children a sense of security. those are some of the key things, have an evacuation plan, air-quality plan, reopen the schools that has air. is a big thing, it's a residential fire. i hope that gives you some credits. >> that is really helpful. thank you. >> thank you. i will claim my five minutes for questioning. you mentioned your testimony about mental health of students and school staff, following up, there's no question that students are affected for their ability to learn. when i want to know is how your schools approach addressing this need on the source of funding. how would you assert the federal
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government's response regarding mental health at your school? one minute. >> we are using project surf funds as much as possible. we reapplied for extension. basically, have 4000 students impacted by trauma. still recorded, we're still on our records. 400 teachers were school employees still impacted from the fires. >> it's just a private professional -- >> cooperation from new york life insurance, we created a trauma support system. an outreach grant. we've gotten private funding, public funding to extend those behavioral health counselors. >> thank you. same question how is your school addressing the need? how would you assess the federal government's response in
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addressing mental health after schools? >> i mentioned earlier, the health insurance offered to the members of the aft, it comes with sessions. if teachers view the need to attend sessions, they can. it comes at no cost. i do see a need in terms of our students to build resiliency. we and hurricane season right now. a lot of our homes -- >> private providers -- >> we do have private providers for the teachers. and paraprofessionals. i'm not certain the mental health services in the community are being offered to the children of the virgin islands. the hospital isn't fixed yet. there are many challenges we are dealing with right now.
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they are still in the modular hospitals. there challenges that i would assume the health commissione commissioner -- >> thank you. working with our veterans, i know we have hardly any professionals in the private sector. how are your schools, how are they addressing the source of funding? how do you assess the federal government response addressing mental health? >> within a month after our typhoon, i mentioned we were able to secure funding through this program. we were able to higher mental health counselors who have been helping all. those counselors are working with our school counselors to provide them with training and support so they can reach more
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students and staff. those two are not enough. >> that's why they're also working with other counselors, school counselors. can you tell the committee more about the fema and in permit students are learning in. how does this affect student grades, and their aspects of the school curriculum has to be changed as a result, in my going to attend graduation -- where are they? >> as the witnesses mentioned, opening the schools determines how fast we are able to get a sense of normalcy to our students and faculty.
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we took into consideration when we were court meeting with fema. at times when we started to work on trying to identify location for the middle school, we were looking at project surf commercial things. that was not available at that time we were trying to build our schools. what we did was we coordinated with fema, looked at different contractors were able to provide what we needed. that's why we went with the other model. attendance, we did see a decrease. students coming to school, only because we also have to relocate central park down to the seller part. >> i would say that in one of your concerns about building resilience, some of our committee members introduce a
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bill to provide $100 billion for exactly that purpose, we are hoping we could get onto the floor and pass on this. thank you. i mind my colleagues that materials for submission for the hearing record must be submitted within 14 days. preferably microsoft word format. they must address the subject matter of the hearing. document limited to 50 pages each. document longer will be incorporated into the record via ultimately that you must
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provide. it may no longer work. want to thank the witnesses for their participation today. what we heard is very findable. members of the committee may have additional questions for you. we have witnesses to respond to the questions in writing. the hearing record will be open for 14 days to receive those responses. the committee practice and witnesses, witness questions for the hearing record must be submitted within seven days. questions must address the subject matter of the hand. i now recognize my friend for his closing. >> thank you. i want to thank the witnesses for being here today and taking the time to share with us some of these events that have taken
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place, these disasters in your communities. want to think secretary robin for being here earlier. we learned that local and state leadership is important to disaster preparation. the department of education is working to expand his supporting state and local preparation and recovery efforts. i look forward to welcoming you into the department and the constituents to make sure they have the flexibility under federal law, under our jurisdiction, they need to expedite cover efforts as much as possible. mr. chairman, thank you for holding this hearing. i yield back. >> thank you. i want to thank all witnesses for your willingness to share
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this. i do think secretary robin for also being here. you're helping students recover from natural catastrophe. the base hearing in federal government response to schools devastated by recent natural disasters. campfires and bourbon caliphate. the challenges today of restoring classroom, weeks or months after natural disasters. the entire schools to care quality, already under supported school communities have disproportionately suffered the devastation of natural crisis. discussions today revealed that while this community have demonstrated resilience on strength and recovery, they have
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this largely with certain federal support. and ministration continues to deny climate change, ignored research ruling that climate change is making natural disasters more destructive. repeatedly assessed a bill dedicated to funds necessary to having recovery. the last one just last monday. as it continues to worsen, congress and this committee must commit to investing in public school resources for coastal communities, natural disasters and pulling victims in it.
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only when we felt this promise can we ensure this promise, families and school systems only get back on their feet stand stronger and ever. thank you again to our witness witnesses, thank you to the members for the involved, there will be more further business. the committee is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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>> democratic presidential candidates senator cory booker will be interviewed saturday on the applicable already podcast in iowa city, iowa. watch live coverage 8:45 p.m. eastern on c-span, online at or listen live with the frequencies radio. this weekend, booktv will have live coverage of the 35th and are pursuing in chicago, largest literary showcase in the midwest. starting saturday 11:00 a.m. eastern. the drink journalist rachel, reform advocate andy, university of chicago history professor, kathleen. historian annalisa. sunday, live coverage continues 11:00 a.m. eastern with national editor, josh.
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education activist, bill. journalist butler. university of chicago professor, watch our weekend coverage of the 35th annual breast from chicago. starting saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. eastern on booktv on c-span2. sunday on american history tv on c-span three, we continue our coverage of the 75th anniversary of d-day. 1:00 p.m. eastern, listen to best american presidents who traveled to normandy beaches to honor the fallen. starting with jamie carter 1978. followed by ronald reagan in 1984. bill clinton 1994 george w. bush in 2004. barack obama in 2014. at 4:00 p.m. eastern on real america, the 1944 film, d day to germany,. >> we thought we could use it as a ploy. we found this shown here, it was
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badly destroyed by the germans themselves. they destroyed the docs, which we thought we could use. it took them two months before we could bring the ship in. >> 6:30 p.m. on or history, world war ii veteran john describes how his company was diverted to omaha beach. the constant artillery fire and the cries of the wounded. >> most of it was medics but a few of it was normal. the cries of the wounded and dying were sort of haunting but they are drawn out by the rifle machine gunfire coming in from our right. >> 8:00 p.m., president trump and first lady joined president emmanuel for the d-day 75th anniversary ceremony at normandy america cemetery. what sunday starting 1:00 p.m. eastern american history tv on
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c-span three. >> sunday night on "afterwards", in his latest book, conservative and ability, the prize-winning columnist, george offers his thoughts on american conservatism. he's interviewed by national review, senior editor, jonah goldberg. >> i believe our country is superior. two. in the sense that is made by a philosophy that is right and suitable for all people of all times, everyone ought to inspect it. i don't want you explained it, it, to make it available to people. to help them when we can and we have a lot of experience with civil society of democratic society.
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so i'm mild nationalist. >> watch "afterwards" sunday 9:00 p.m. eastern on booktv on c-span2. >> a senate foreign relations committee hearing on human rights in china 30 years since the student led protest in beijing. his protest ended with a massacre by the chinese army. a former student who wasan aty e protest and human rights advocates testified at the hearing. >> our committee welcome to order. this morning, we are going to on the 30th anniversary, the day after the 30th anniversary of the massacre, all those brave citizens who believed in a freer future for their country, please join me in a brief moment of silence for them, including those who lost their lives.


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