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tv   Education Secretary Betsy De Vos Testifies Before House Education and Labor...  CSPAN  April 12, 2019 3:21pm-8:02pm EDT

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who hasn't spoken, tom mill no, sir key, one of our freshman members from new jersey. ted lieu was acknowledged. sheila jackson lee from texas. and hank johnson from georgia. very distinguished member of congress. all of the members are going for the bus now, but we left, again, saying what we always say. our diversity is our strength. our unity is our power. >> you can watch this entire news conference with democratic house members and all of our programs at our website, next, education secretary, betsy devos, was on capitol hill this week, testifying about u.s. education policy. she took questions about the president's budget, charter schools and her freedom scholarships initiative. the house, education and labor committee is chaired by congressman bobby scott of virginia.
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>> we will come to order. [ banging gavel ] the meeting on education and labor will come to order. i want to note that a quorum is
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present. the committee is meeting today to examine the policies and priorities of the united states department of education. pursuant to rule 7c, opening statements are limited to the chairman and ranking member, this allows to hear from our witness sooner and provides all members with adequate time to ask questions. i now recognize myself for the purpose of making an opening statement. madam secretary, i want to begin by expressing the committee's appreciation for your time today. the house rules require that each member is allotted full five minutes for questioning, and we're grateful that you've allocated sufficient time to uphold that precedent. the department of education bears the tremendous responsibility of implementing and enforcing federal laws covering roughly 13,000 school districts and more than 50 million public school students. all of these students deserve an equitable, high-quality public education. that's their right and responsibility of the department of education, as well as congress, in partnering with
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states and localities to make it a reality. unfortunately, under the president's fiscal 2020 budget, it would be nearly impossible to meet that challenge at a time when access to education with access to opportunity, the president's budget proposes 12.5% cut in the department of education. these cuts have spread across vital programs that serve communities across the country. budget, for example, weakens title 1a, support for schools in low-income areas. it eliminates funding for after school programs, and seeks a 40% cut in adult education. the president's proposed cuts to higher education funding are particularly deep. despite the rising cost of college and increasing burden of student debt, the budget seeks to slash over $200 billion over ten years from student loan assistance. these cuts will deny countless students the personal growth and economic mobility that comes with a college degree. the budget is more than numbers
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on a spreadsheet. this is the same message the department has been sending students, parents and educators over the past two years. today's hearing is an opportunity to discuss the department's actions and the justification for those actions under the present leadership. this hearing is especially important, given the department's lack of transparency, the committee's ability to fulfill its oversight function, relies on a healthy working relationship with the department. when we ask reasonable questions, we expect responsive and timely answers. but on multiple occasions across several issues, the department has refused to answer reasonable questions about its work and failed to provide adequate fact-based justifications for its actions. for example, starting in september 2017, we repeatedly raised questions about the department's failure to demonstrate effective oversight regarding the implementation of the every student succeeds act. specifically the department has approved state education plans
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that violate the laws requirements for schools to measure and address achievement gaps using subgroup performance. we have not yet received a substantive response to address these concerns. in november 2017, we repeatedly asked the department to answer questions about its refusal to faithfully implement the borrow's defense rule, which has left more than 100,000 defrauded students waiting to restart their lives. we have not received substantive responses to those questions. march 2018 we asked the department to justify its decision to rescind the obama era guidance addressing racial disparities in school discipline. research has consistently shown that black students, boys, and students with disabilities face hardship discipline for similar offenses as their white peers. instead of working with schools to correct these disparities, the department you'd the tragic school shooting in parkland, florida, as a basis to undermine
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students' civil rights protections. by linking disparities and school discipline with school shootings, the department has sent a terrible message that schools are safer when they discriminate against students of color. the department has failed to adequately justify its recision of this guidance. in july 2018, we asked the department to produce evidence supporting its effort to delay the equity and the i.d.e.a. rule. this rule helps students address racial disparities in special education. we have not received a substantive response. in fact, that lack of evidence recently led a u.s. district court to rule that the delay was arbitrary and capricious and therefore unlawful. in august 2018, we asked the department to clarify its position on the use of taxpayer funds to arm teachers, which has left a dangerous opening for school districts to use federal education funding to put firearms in classrooms. we have not received a substantive explanation of that position. in november 2018, we have been
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asking the department to justify its reinstatement of the accrediting council for independent colleges and schools, a troubled accreditor for for-profit colleges with a history of propping up low-quality schools. the department reinstated acics, despite its own analysis that the creditor had not met two of the required conditions for reinstatement. two weeks later, another school accredited by acics abruptly closed, stranding nearly 20,000 students. we have not received an adequate response to those questions. and in february 2019, we sent multiple inquiries to the department about the apparently inappropriate effort by the deputy secretary to halt or influence an office of inspector general's investigation into the reinstatement of acics. this apparent intervention undermines inspector general's critical role as an independent watchdog. we have not received a substantive response to that inquiry.
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over the past three months, we have asked the department about its abandoned attempt to replace the acting inspector general in the department with the department's own acting general counsel, a nearly unprecedented attempt to put a senior department official in a position to police decisions he is personally involved in making. once again, we haven't received a response to that question. it's only the partial list of actions that your department has failed to justify and questions that you have refused to answer. behind each of these unjustified actions and unanswered questions, there are students, parents, educators and taxpayers across the country who are waiting for answers and only can speculate as to the reason behind the actions. they deserve to know why the department is not acting in the best interests -- faithfully executing the law or taking seriously the federal government's responsibility to ensure that all americans have access to quality education from child care to early learning to
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college and career. so madam secretary, i look forward to the opportunity to discuss the important issues under your department, which is so vital to our nation's future. and i now yield to the ranking member for the purpose of an opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for yielding, and thank you, madam secretary, for being here. today's hearing will provide members of the committee with a chance to hear about the department's priorities and what department leadership is doing to provide greater opportunities to students at every level of education. committee republicans are deeply committed to ensuring that all programs under the department's jurisdiction are implemented effectively and help grantees and stakeholders provide students a high-quality, effective education. this has been an ongoing effort that i know secretary devos is an equal partner in. during the obama administration, the department handed down a slew of regulations in federal
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red tape that hampered programs. since assuming office in 2017, secretary devos has worked to reduce the regulatory burden on state and local leaders and has also worked to help provide flexibility where she can to help connect students with in-demand jobs. everyone hiere knows we have a national skills gap problem. currently there are more than 7 million open jobs across the country, and the number of job vacancies keeps growing. these jobs are going unfilled, because not enough workers have the necessary skills to fill them. there's a pervasive stigma around skills-based education, and my colleague should know it's long been a priority of mine to end this misconception. a baccalaureate degree is not the only way to a good-paying job. there are a multitude of pathways to life-long success, and we need to make skills-based education a viable and valuable
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path for people again. so i'm eager to hear about the department's ongoing implementation of the strengthening career and technical education for the 21st century act. this committee's bipartisan legislation to reform career and technical education, which the president signed into law last july. the law will empower state and local leaders to engage with employers and connect more americans with on the job learning opportunities, like apprenticeships. i'm also interested to hear about the department's continued efforts to expand school choice for students, families and teachers. every student is different and families should be empowered to choose the learning environment that best suits their child's strengths. committee republicans will always believe that a one-size-fits-all approach does more harm than good, and that's true, most of all, education. students deserve an education that challenges them to reach higher and inspires them to be
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lifelong learners. students deserve choices, and they have the best chance at lifelong success. if they have access to expanded opportunities at every level of education. congressional oversight of the executive branch is an important power of congress. it's both necessary and appropriate to ensure that laws are properly implemented and taxpayer dollars are responsibly spent. opportunities within
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reach for students across the country. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, i will introduce our witness, betsy devos, serving as the u.s. secretary of education. confirming by the u.s. senate of 2017, involved in education policy for nearly three decades and an advocate for children and a voice for parents. for 15 years, she served for school mentor and the grand rapids school system.
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she served as chair and enterprise and investment management firm. in addition to our education, she has served with numerous national and local charitable organizations including the kennedy center for the performing arts. and kendall college and arts of design. she's a graduate off erin college. she and her husband has four children and seven grandchildren. i am pleased to recognize our colleagues from michigan mr. wahlberg who was a close friend of the secretary who is asked to say a few words. >> i thank the chairman for that. thank you for holding this hearing inviting the secretary to be with us. we made opening statements of education and our perception of it and secretary, your predecessor we certainly from this side of the isle ask tough
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questions of the secretary and so that's expected. i appreciate the opportunity to welcome you here as a fellow michiganer but also having had long time experience with you and your family, your commitment education to have the privilege of serving on educational task force that you led and to see that words were not just words but were backed up significantly with actions relative to quality education across the board. whether it is public or private, any approach education that allows parents the choice to pro provide the best education for their kids, you are involved with and promoted. as secretary, you have the opportunity to lead in the department but also to give additional advice, ideas, some will be taken by the
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administration and others won't. always effort to move forward. that be sacrifice with the standard quo. education is not a status quo. i thank you for your leadership there and your example. i had the opportunity to meet students that you impacted, students from all strata. students going on into engineering. students going on into healthcare. students going onto high strata and low economic strata, all receiving an educational opportunity that was unique and built the opportunity for them to expand, success in their life. i want my colleagues to understand from a personal positive where you come from and what you are looking for and that you will work with us towards non-spanish quota education to meet the needs for the future. thank you for being with us and thank you for the opportunity. >> thank you. >> madame secretary, i will
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remind you of your written statement has been distributed and it will appear in full in the record. you're asked to limit your own presentation to about five minutes with your written statement. you testify here before so you know how the system works. after your testimony, we'll have questions from members so i recognize the secretary of education miss devos. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chairman scott and ranking members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on this administration education priorities which are also reflected in the president's fiscal year of 2020 budget. i thought it would be useful to began by recalling congress' commitment when it created the u.s. department education of 40 years ago. congress vowed, not increase the authority of federal government over education or diminish the responsibility for education
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which is reserved to the state. and i will add communities and parents. over the past 40 years, federal taxpayers spending on education has increased about 180% amounting to over $1.2 trillion cumulatively. we are 24th in reading and 40th in math when compares to the rest of the world. doing the same thing and more of it won't bring any results. a great education should not be determined where you live or by who you know. it should not be determined by family income and education should not be an old school one size fits all approach. that's why i propose something different. because we recognize each is a unique individual and each
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should be trusted as such. our bold proposal will offer dollar for dollar federal income tax credits to 501 c 3, nonprofit organizations that provides scholarships for students. these students, family and teachers and schools and states all can choose to participate in the program or they can choose not to participate. it is a choice. since the proposal relies on voluntary contributions to nonprofit organizations, it won't take a single dollar from local public schools or schoolteachers or public school students. something else. education freedom valor ship. in fact, some states may choose to design scholarships for public school options such as apprenticeship or transportation to a different school.
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states have the opportunity to be imaginative and serve of the unique need of our students. $100 billion for buildings verses 5 billion for students. this urges body to invest in students. that includes multiple pathway to higher education to successful careers. it is born from a recognition of reality. the vast majority of students today do not pursue a four-year college degree. there are millions of opportunities for careers that don't require university degrees. we must urgely rethink our approach to higher education. today federal student aids hold $1.5 trillion in outstanding loan. a number that continues to grow.
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more in credit card debt and auto debt. 43% of those student loans are in default or delinquent or am amortized and taxpayers are on the hook for it all. we are putting the power of information in studentiation iss information in studenttudents' . they need programs and institutions in order to make better and responsible decisions. we are excited to expand the college score card and the mobile app to help do just that. we propose -- this is one way the federal government can be a responsible lender. policy should not entice students into greater death nor should they put taxpayers at greater risk och. teachers need greater freedom as
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well. this administration seeks to empower. i regularly meet with a number of excellent teachers who tells me they like to customize it to their needs. we want to focus on what teachers find useful for themselves and not what's dictated by the district's office. teachers tell me about the value of mentor or residency opportunities. we want to help ensure new teachers have more opportunity to learn from the best. it is essential that teachers and students be safe at school. in the wake of school violence in our country, president trump asked me to lead a federal commission on school's safety. we propose empowering communities to develop their own school emergency plans and to focus on counseling and healthy behaviors for their students. in the end, budget are about priorities. hours are. students and parents and teachers and taxpayers.
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if our country is to remain secure, strong, prosperous and free, we need students of all ages who are prepared to pursue successful careers and lead meaningful lives. thank you again for the opportunity to testify, i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. >> i will begin, i will recognize myself for five minutes. december 2018, you rescinded the guidance package, title 6 of the civil rights act, the guide provides useful information in the district on how they proactively can reduce racial disparity and discipline without jeopardizing schools' safety. do you have evidence to support the administration. trump administration turns this attention to the florida
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parkland shooting. as articulated of the final report of schools safety, the administration stated that enforcement of title six lacks the foundation and applicable law. my question is has the trump administration abandon the use of analysis of title six? >> thank you mr. chairman for that question. i know this is an issue of which we spoken in your office. i would like to address it again. the department continues to enforce the district, the regulation that you articulated and we'll continue to do so until the regulation is changed. >> and so the foundation applicable law is a misstatement? >> no, that's certainly a discussion and continues to be looked at and studied by our
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agencies and other agencies that are on both -- >> analysis is legal and required of the title six in the regulations. >> yes. we continue to enforce it as it has been regulated to date. yesterday we learned the department entered into a resolution agreement with texas tech medical school, requiring the school. i know texas tech is mourning their loss of the university of virginia and the final four. how many similar situated cases are there involving race and college admission that the ocr
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has enact ed now. >> let me address the case you cited. this is a 14-year-old case, texas tech has medical school has voluntarily entered into the resolution dpreeagreement. i know there are a couple of active cases of the office of civil rights is involved with today. that'll continue to be investigated. >> what are we doing to increase the number of since it is the medical school. where there are fewer african-american men now since 1978, there is a disparity and lack of african-american men. what is the administration doing to increase the number of african-american men in medical school today. >> we are continuing follow these supreme court guidelines around use of different measures in admissions. we'll continue to do so.
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we acknowledge it is a desirable goal to have very diverse population in every education settings. >> and so what is the administration doing to increase the number of african-american men in medical schools. >> i don't think that we have an offensive measure to try to do. it's up to -- certainly up to different institutions to both follow the supreme court rulings in this matter, and also to follow the admission of their schoo schools. >> does that mean you're doing nothing? >> it means we're following the laws we're charged with following and will continue to do so. >> thank you. ranking member. >> would you please recognize mr. guthrie. >> gentleman from kentucky, mr.
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guthrie. >> thank you, i appreciate the courtesy. i appreciate it very much. secretary devos, i know we have talked about the education freedom scholarship act and one of my concerns and i would like to hear you explain it in that program, i know in kentucky, cities like louisville and other cities have a robust private education system. so if there's a child in a school that's distressed they would have access to this. they would have ready access to at private school that is functioning, that is there and moving forward. a lot of my counties in kentucky are very rural, so the public school would be the only option even if they had access to funds to do something different. it would be the only option currently. that may change if that was the case, so could you explain how this program would hope students rural, not just rural kentucky but rural america that don't have the separate infrastructure in place. >> i would be happy to. this is a really great opportunity for all states and all sorts of communities to
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really tailer make options and choices to the students they are serving, and i think about rural communities in particular where a small school might not be able to offer the range of courses that their students might like to access, so one of the opportunities would be course choice to take a very high quality course via the internet with highly qualified teachers somewhere in the world, and to do so as a one off as a student. another possibility would be for if there are several students within that rural school for whom a different type of learning would be appropriate, they could basically form a micro schoolhous housed within same building that would approach learning in a different manner. i also think about possibilities around career and technical education and perhaps several communities would join together and offer some robust career and technical opportunities and
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maybe there's transportation scholarships for students to get to that opportunity along with that specific opportunity itself. so there's really limitless ideas that you could come up with to really tailer make the education options for the students you're serving. >> your vision, this isn't a voucher in your hand to go up to a private school and help pay your private school tuition. it's limitless use of these funds for great opportunities for a lot of children. >> right. i really think we should think very broadly about what choices we're talking about and not get reflexive and talk about, you know, some immediate reaction to what school choices. i think we can think very broadly about offering the different kinds of opportunities to students that need something different or want something different and this is a great and historic opportunity to come in alongside what is already
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happening in states and augment it with some new opportunities. >> one of the exciting things i have, changing subjects, and i think it's almost everybody sitting here today and looking at apprenticeship programs, and programs that would be successful where people can earn a good middle class income when they don't have to have the big debt from four-year schools. there are other alternatives. i know that we talked about apprenticeships and could you talk about your view of apprenticeship programs and how the department can help us in our legislation to make sure people have these opportunities? s >> well, we have talked a lot about apprenticeships and i think there is almost unanimity around this notion that more students need to have the opportunity to both earn and learn, and i think about a student that i met a couple of months ago, isabel who went to school in minneapolis and started an apprenticeship while she was in high school, decided to continue on.
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at age 21, she owns her own home, she owns her own car, she has a 401(k) and her own health care plan and has been offered a job to move with that company to switzerland and that's the kind of situation more students need to be able to access. so the president's budget proposes a preapprenticeship opportunity at the level of $60 million. of course the whole perkins reauthorization helps move more opportunities into apprenticeship programs and the department of labor is working very hard on introducing some new opportunities around apprenticeships as well. this is a very broad opportunity that i think needs to be seized. >> well, thank you. thank you for being here, and we hope to all seize it. i think it's bipartisan for sure here. and thanks for the courtesy, and i appreciate it. and i yield back. >> thank you. gentle lady from california. >> thank you, madame secretary,
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for being here. madame secretary, you mentioned that students are saddled with debt. i think everybody would be nodding their heads over that. as we know, thousands of students are reporting complaints about the department's contracted loan services to the consumer financial protection bureau. five weeks ago, senator murray, ranking member of the senate health committee, and i sent a request for information related to the scathing office of inspector general report that detailed the department's failure to oversee its loan servicing contractors and to date, we haven't received any responses to those questions. so i wanted to ask you, you know, whether -- when we're going to receive that. >> well, thanks for the question congresswoman, the department does take very seriously its commitment to students and are very committed to serving them well. in fact, federal student aid more recently took over $2 million from our services, our servicers and we have
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recently communicated through a letter. >> could i ask you, madame secretary, can you commit to two weeks that we might have that report, where we might have your responses to that? >> i certainly will hope that we can get it in two weeks. it depends on the level of data that is necessary to complete it. we have been trying to be very responsive to all of the requests from members of this committee and members of congress. >> i guess for all of us just wondering -- >> 93% of the over thousand letters that we received in -- since i have been here have been responded to and we continue to be very -- try to be very diligent about answering the requests for information. >> so i think just to have a ballpark in terms of for these kind of requests that we make through the department, what's a reasonable time line? >> again, i think it is reasonable for us to respond promptly. if it requires the compilation
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of a lot of data that takes a lot of time and resources to do, it may take longer than either you or i would like, but i give you my commitment that we will do our best to respond as promptly as possible. >> okay. i wanted to go on, then, and talk about what the department has said publicly about that report because it was scathing as you probably saw. the department -- your department asserted that it has made significant ongoing improvements to its oversight and monitoring policies and procedures since the review period of the oig's report. what are the significant improvements to oversight and monitoring that have been implemented since october 1st of 2017. >> i just mentioned that just in the last year and a half, we have reserved over $2 million from our vendors. we have been in constant communication where there have been issues raised and we will continue to monitor the servicers to make sure they are upholding the agreements that
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they have made on behalf of the students that they're communing with. >> what could you add to that for the students that are there, they're listening, even today, and wondering, you know, what's going to change for them. >> well, we have, as you probably know, a very forward leaning next gen initiative to modernize the whole student financial aid framework, which has been a patch work of confusion for students over the years. i learned that the average number of loans a student holds is 4.6 and they're most often with different servicers. it's very confusing for students to try to manage and pay back their loans when they're having to deal with multiple different servicers. >> thank you. madame secretary, could you tell students that there are going to be more audits of these
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servicers, what is it, again, that's going to go into greater depth for them, because next gen i think is evolving, we're not there yet. you're not there yet, even in terms of managing that, so i think we need to be really ready to give them a better response. i know that people are certainly wondering why this is such an important report. i think it is because, in fact, the department has this oversight responsibility for federal student loans, and we want to be sure that these claims are being addressed. i also wanted to mention that, you know, you're talking about oversight, but i think students are really wondering, this 5,300 complaints, means something, that folks are out there and they're not able to work, so i mean, our bottom line is that there are millions of students and more have completed higher ed degrees and are suffering from this crushing debt, and so we want them to feel that they can count on you, they can count
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on the inspector general to do these kind of reports and then we need to have the kind of response back, so i thank you for that. we'll look within a short amount of time, i hope for those responses. thank you. >> thank you. gentleman from michigan, mr. wahlberg. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and again, thank you madame secretary for being here. just to follow up a little bit on the education freedom scholarships. they are tax credits, not v vouchers. >> that's correct, the proposal is a federal tax credit that individuals or corporations would be able to contribute to and states would decide whether they wanted to participate or not. if they did, they would be able to craft their own program or programs to meet the needs of students in their states and give them choices, additional choices to what they have to do. >> so not mandatory, voluntary, opportunity to use --
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>> indeed. >> a person's own funds to make sure that kids have the opportunities. i was delighted to hear your answer to representative guthrie on the issue of career and technical education, just came from a hearing earlier where associated general contractors put out a couple of numbers, 286,000 shortage of construction workers this past february. the most recent figures. and that the average wage in construction now is $30 an hour, the average wage and these professional trades are truly professions that can provide a wonderful life, and great opportunity without having that overweaning student debt that is coming. also, it's been exciting in meeting with some of our more forward thinking colleges and universities that are coming up with ideas that will reduce potentially 30% of tuition cost as a result of working with
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business and industry. and allowing actual business and industry to set up curriculum programs and work with setting up those curriculum programs that meet the needs of the real world jobs that are out there now. that doesn't happen without having flexibility, but we still have, we still have student finance issues and last year, i introduced the fafsa act long with representative dellbean of washington, which would streamline and simplify the financial aid process. in march, this committee held a hearing on college affordability. during that hearing, the president of western carolina university testified how fafsa form can act as an insurmountable obstacle to students in obtaining federal aid, particularly for first generation and low income families. could you describe how the fafsa act would sitmplify and improve
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the fafsa process for students as well as families. >> i would be happy to congressman, and i think often of the fafsa form that senator alexander likes to regularly unfurl, and the goal to dramatically shorten that form and make it much easier for students applying for federal student aid, as you know, we have introduced the my student aid mobile app which they, you know, the neigh sayers said couldn't be done or wouldn't be done. it was done and done on time. students can complete their fafsa on their smartphones. if the 6103 exemption legislation, which was passed by the senate is taken up and passed by the house as well, that will dramatically shorten the number of questions on the fafsa form and then i know that there's the legislation that you have introduced and are championing would also eliminate a number of additional questions that are really not necessary, and that combination i think is
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a really important move to make it much smoother and simpler for students who have to apply for federal student aid on a regular basis. >> on the side of the universities how would it benefit them with this simplified process? i've read statistics that 30% of fafsa applications must undergo an income verification process. >> right. it would eliminate that process because it would -- the information would be drawn directly from the irs on student and family income and it would greatly secure that data as well. because right now, it goes through a number of steps and it's at much greater risk. so that combination would dramatically reduce the burden on institutions on the verification process. >> i appreciate that. i see the time is expiring here. i yield back. >> thank you, gentle mman from arizona.
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>> thank you mr. chairman, and thank you madame secretary for being here. last year my home state, arizona, was among several that experienced teacher walkouts, strikes, primarily citing working conditions and primarily citing teacher pay among the reasons that they took the actions that they did. i think we know that our nation's educators are grossly underpaid. it various from state to state. some states do not provide the support in terms of teacher salary or have moved to remove teacher salary. other professionals with the same education and technical requirements, grossly underpaid, classroom teachers are, and i mentioned this and ask you secretary, conception chually, believe the federal government should find ways to supplement public schoolteacher incomes? >> well, congressman, our budget has a couple of proposals to
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really focus in and elevate the profession of teaching and to honor and respect teachers for the professionals they are and to give them more opportunity to control their own destinies in the form of their own professional development through the teacher voucher program, and then also with a mentorship and residency program that, you know, today i've heard from so many teachers that they feel obliged almost to move into administration and leave the classroom when they mostly love being in the classroom, but in order to continue to develop themselves. >> but particularly would that respect for teachers be -- do you think that could translate it into their paycheck? >> well, obviously teachers and their -- the states and local communities have the most direct input into that but i think we
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can and should find ways to ensure that teachers have more autonomy and more freedom to do what they do best and that is to serve students in their classroom, and for great teachers to have the opportunity to teach others. >> i think my point is that i think they should get more pay and that in doing so is there a role for the federal government to help supplement, not supplant, but supplement the income for classroom teachers. that's a discussion for some other time. you know, basis charters schools incorporated, which is big in my state of arizona is a privately owned and nearly all of its funding comes from state and federal tax dollars. there's oversight questions related to their financial sustainability, and its administrative class. charter schools like basis tried to expand as quickly as possi e possible.
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despite all the fiscal red flags, while it might be profiting outside my state, there is instate operation a deficit of 49 million. the story has been played out in arizona, california, texas, here in washington, d.c. the lack of oversight on charter school finances is demonstrated significant waste of taxpayer dollars. in your budget proposal, despite numerous cuts to import programs like gear skpup and impact aid, you're requesting $60 million for the charter school program. given what i just said, how do you justify that? >> well, congressman, there are over 1 million students on waiting lists for charter schools nationally. over 11,000 right here in the district of columbia. one in eight students in washington, d.c. wants to get into a charter school and cannot. more than 50,000 in new york city, so charter schools provide great opportunities for lots of
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students and there's clearly a lot of demand for more of them. >> okay. then let me use some examples because one of the -- the question is also about monitoring and oversight about charter schools as receiving significant, and sometimes their only source of financial support comes from state and federal governments. how is your department monitoring charters schools, you know, program, grant funding to awardees that never open, open and closed within an academic year or never open again for the second academic year, how are we monitoring and what kind of oversight is being done to make sure that if those are anomalies if those anomalies occur at all, but they continue to occur. the situation keeps coming up and the issue of monitoring and oversight continues to be a pressing question, and i want to know what direction the department is going on that given the expansion of support
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for charter schools. >> charter schools are authorized in the state in which they reside, and the program clearly has agreements and has oversight over those particular pieces of the program, but they're authorized within the state, and we know that there have been charter schools that haven't been able to make it, and have closed down, and that's good and that's appropriate. if they can't serve students well, they shouldn't exist. the same should be true of traditional public schools if they can't operate well. >> thank you very much. >> the gentleman from georgia, mr. allen. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you, madame secretary, for taking on this challenge of education and know that it's been in your courage to take on this challenge because, you know, it's very -- a complex issue. you know, coming from the
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business world, specifically construction, i know about the shortage of workers. in fact, everywhere i go in my district, we have a shortage of workers, and so it's putting tremendous pressure on our education system and of course in our state, i think out of a -- out of the budget, over 50 percent of the money goes to education, and i know in our county, over 50% of the money goes for education, so it's -- and then you look at the statistics and you -- you look at the last 20 years where the cost has gone from 6,000 to 11,000 per student, if teachers salaries have not really increased, you wonder, well, where is the money going, and i'm sure you're looking into all of that and you have been an outspoken supporter of expanding
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the choices in education, and i support your efforts in that because every student is different, every student's needs are different, and we need to do everything we can in our communities to meet those needs. could you tell us a little bit more about how you envisioned your proposal to -- for the education innovation and research program under the every student succeeds act, and how it works and why you feel it's important? >> well, thanks congressman. yes, this is actually our proposal to help teachers guide and control their own professional development. and the proposal is really a pilot program to establish teacher vouchers that teachers would be able to pursue their own professional development and i think about, you know, different opportunities a early stage teacher might have to take development that would help them
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with classroom management, for example. perhaps a middle stage teacher wants to get better at the subject matter they're teaching and maybe a later stage teacher is really good at teaching other teachers and will pursue a mentorship or a residency program to help new teachers learn to be better teachers, so it would be -- the proposal would be meaningful amounts for teachers to be able to elect to pursue whatever is right for their own personal and professional development at the stage of teaching that they happen to be. >> are you familiar with the -- where we are as far as the teacher shortage in the country right now? i mean, i know we have one in our state. is it pretty much nationwide? >> well, i know that there's certainly challenges to recruiting teachers in certain subject areas. i know that states are getting creative about how they attract
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teaching new teachers into the profession and there's different approaches to certifying them. i also know that there's -- in rural areas where it's particularly difficult, they're becoming very creative about how they really meet the needs of students without necessarily having to hire a full-time teacher for a specific class that doesn't have many students. >> you know, we're making great strides in georgia on our graduation rates and whatnot, but on the strengthening career and technical education for the 21st century act, obviously we need to accelerate movement of students into the workplace. and thank you for -- you sort of explained what you're trying to do there as far as implementing this law, anything you'd like to comment further on initiatives that -- now that you've kind of heard a little bit of what we're
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talking about here today, anything else you would like to add to that? >> well, i think it's a great opportunity for states to look anew and communities to look anew at what the real needs are in their communities and for employers to really explicitly partner with educators to collectively design programs to meet the broader needs of their region and their communities and places that i have visited that have been particularly effective at this are doing really well with filling the needs of the employers and the opportunities in the area. but there's still room for a lot more development and a lot more improvement in that area. >> thank you, again, very much. i yield back. >> thank you. gentleman from connecticut, mr. courtney. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you madame speaker for being here today. i want to follow up on my colleague, congressman davis
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regarding the oig report among servicers. just for the record, the oig found 61% noncompliance by loan servicers in most basic functions in terms of, you know, not recording payments from student borrowers, reporting them to credit agencies inaccurately, which is like going into credit hell when that happens for student borrowers, and again, that's an appalling rate, and i would ask mr. chairman that the oig report be admitted to the record. >> congressman, if i could just -- >> actually, let me just do this first, okay, and then i'll have a question for you, i promise. >> no objection. >> thank you, mr. chairman. not only are we seeing again, this kind of poor batting average by the department regulating loan servicers, under jr. leadersh your leadership, you have taken numerous steps to undermine state enforcement. your department issued a memorandum barring loan servicers from releasing
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information from state law enforcement officials. i would ask unanimous consent to issue a memo set by the department to all loan servicers into the record. >> thank you. >> so this memo has the effect of undermining state investigations into shady practices as well as federal investigations by the consumer financial protection bureau into loan servicers. brazenly, the department denied even publicly notice this memo and it was only obtained because someone at the department leaked it. so i want to ask, given the fact that state law enforcement has had a spectacular record of success in terms of getting restitution for student borrowers who, again, had their funds misappropriated, shutting down, deceptive practices, and again, the new york ag, minnesota ag, illinois ag, connecticut ag, i mean, they have all been doing this work collaboratively with the federal government. what is the rationale for the department to shut off that flow of information regarding student loan servicers which has been
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standard operating procedure for decades? >> well, congressman, first let me comment on the -- >> actually, i asked you a question, and we don't have much time so would you just sort of explain. >> i understand. >> this is a decision you made to shut off this information to people who are law enforcement. they're investigating things like fraud. i mean, please explain that decision in that memo. >> i will be happy to but i want to comment to the oig report. >> i didn't ask you about that. >> the findings of which we have all -- we have addressed, they were for a period of time that pre -- you know, it was pre -- it was from a long period of time ago. they have been addressed. with regard to the loan servicers and state involvement, federal student aid is a federal program, and to involve every single state in a separate oversight capacity really preempts. >> preemption does exist.
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there's no question about it. when congress acts like arisa, we preempted state regulation of insurance back in the 1970s by an act of congress. in terms of student loan servicing enforcement, congress has never preempted that away from attorney generals who are just simply doing -- enforcing in many instances their own state consumer protection laws, so, you know, again that decision that you made, again, without giving even the courtesy of a notice, and had to be sort of found out indirectly, again, is not certainly with the impromateur of congress. in addition to sort of ignoring law enforcement who has been doing a great job in terms of protecting student borrowers, in the 2019 appropriation by congress we directed the department to respond to all requests from these law enforcement agencies within ten days of receipt and to make publicly available on its web site a detailed list of all
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individual requests made to the department. again, to date we have seen nothing from the department. this, again, was congress directing your department to at least disclose those requests that you're refusing for people who are, again, just simply trying to enforce law. >> congressman, we continue to take our responsibilities to student borrowers very seriously and continue to take the steps to ensure that the servicers are doing the jobs that they have been contracted to do. >> again, you're certainly not working with us in terms of trying to at least let us see whether or not you're, again, total unilateral decision is in fact, resulting in good enforcement actions being stymied and stifled. and with that, again, i have other questions for the record regarding preemption of state, and with that i yield back. >> thank you, jengentleman from
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tennessee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you madame secretary for being here, and for being in severe county to unveil the new app for the fafsa, and i asked my educators how many of those questions 100 plus they looked at, and they said about ten of them. we need to take that bill up to senate haas today and pass it. it's so complicated and for the students, i don't know how they get through it. i'm going to go a little different. i talked to a professor of mine this weekend who's very concerned about grade inflation. he's a retired professor at home, and now today in colleges, a is the most common grade in both four and two-year colleges, and we have now, i think, 42% of all colleges have an a and 77% have an a and b. and back when i was in school in the 60s in college, the most common with fewer students going was a c. high school grades have inflated
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exactly the same way. and if you look at standardizing testing, it's been level, so the grade hasn't improvement the standardized testing when you compare apples to apples. so my question is why is that happened, and i don't expect you to finish today answering it but don't we need to do something about that when 3/4 of the students -- almost 80% get an a and b, and i heard allen dersrwitz complaining about that. >> there's other data that begs the question as well, why are we 24th in the world in reading, and 25th in science and 40th in math compared to the rest of the world. you know, we continue to, i think, expect different results from doing the same thing. and we put more and more resources behind doing the same things, and that's why this administration has proposed something like the education freedom scholarships initiative
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to change that dynamic, to do something different to allow for students to have different opportunities and we look at the fact that 40% of students entering a 4-year college or university have to take a remedial class and 60% going to community cleolleges, it's a commentary on the whole preparation that they experience in the k-12 system. >> i think it's something we definitely need to look into. because an a doesn't mean you know anything, and anyway, i want to talk about a couple of other things, and one of the things we talked about is having a very interesting career in technical education, and the three numbers i mentioned to you are 77, 97 and 0. and i talked to one of the presidents of technical schools at home, and they graduate 77% of the students on time. 19% of college students at four-year schools graduate on time. so 77% finish on time in what they started in, whether it's
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nursing assistant, welding or whatever, 97% in tennessee are placed in their career path, get a job. and 100% graduate with 0 debt. so it is a huge advantage, and we need to be -- i think need to be encouraging students to look at these career paths as mr. guthrie was talking about just a minute ago. i would like to hear your comments on that. >> i couldn't agree more, and this administration is very very supportive of elevating and supporting a multitude of career paths to a great adult future, and acknowledges that we have got to continue to raise the specter of these opportunities and give them equal credence to the unspoken or often very verbally articulated pressure to go to a four-year college or
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university, and yet we have, as you've just noted so many great opportunities for young people to consider and pursue and it's not to say they can't return to an educational setting later on and do something different. they'll have multiple careers in their adult lives, so -- >> 7 million empty jobs, and very quickly, my time is expiring, but i had a round table with educators a year ago about school safety and that discussion very quickly turned to mental health, and we went to our local hospital and we found out in our area, we only had 11 inpatient beds for young people, young adults with mental health issues. we're working on solving that problem locally now. another problem that was local, we're in a rural area, and we have a rural school that k through 12 only has 110 students. k through 12, so if a student there wants to take calculus, they can go online at one of the
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large ers hi larger high schools, this was done by an entrepreneur who was able to provide these students a great high school education from distance learning. you've been very generous with your time. i yield back. >> thank you, gentle lady from ohio, ms. fudge. >> thank you very much mr. chairman, and thank you madame secretary for being here today. madame secretary if you can help me out. five minutes is a short period of time. if you could be more concise with your answers, i would appreciate it. madame secretary, do you realize it is jyour responsibility to educate every child in the united states. >> it's my responsibility to be the secretary -- >> it's a yes or no, madame secretary. >> it's my responsibility -- >> is that a yes or is that a no. >> you're very good at evading, it's a simple question. we'll move on. my concern is that you spent so much of your time focussed on v vouchers, how do we fund religious and private schools,
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and you come up with the education freedom scholarship, which by any other name is a voucher. we are picking win skpeners and losers, something my colleagues claimed about democrats, you in fact are trying to pick win skpeers and losers. i have never been aware of a tax credit that is a $1 to $1, 100% credit. we have decided we're going to make rich people richer with the tax cuts, poor people about the same, middle class we're going to hurt with more taxes. now it's like you weren't smart enough to take advantage of all the tax credits. let me give you another bite at this apple give money to schools so you can take 100% tax credit. it's the most ridiculous thing that i have heard. by any other name it is a voucher and something to benefit the rich. madame secretary, are you aware that alabama and florida have state tuition tax programs and they have shown no improvement in academic achievement for students. >> i'm aware they have programs
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and you are wrong, they have shown improvement for students. >> i would love for you to send me that data, please. >> i would be happy to. >> you talk -- you say in your remarks as well as in your testimony, written testimony, that this proposal takes not one cent from local public school students or public school teachers. you did that in your own budget by cutting the education budget by 10%. that's something that you did. but let me also suggest to you that in fact it is hurting taxpayers. if you give a one to one tax credit, it's going to create a $5 billion a year hold in the federal treasury. that's $5 billion that could be spent on education and other things, so indeed, it does hurt students. you talk about freedom, which is just so enlightening for me. do you know that freedom is not free. this freedom is going to cost us $5 billion a year.
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$50 billion over ten years. freedom is not free. we learned that during the civil rights mooump rights movement. >> these are voluntary contributions. >> reclaiming my time. this is my time. freedom is not free. we have experienced it over and over again. there is a cost to everything we do. yours just happens to be $50 billion to the treasury. i just wish that at some point we would just be honest with what we are doing and we would just tell the american people that what we are doing with this is creating a shell game to fund private and religious schools and their providers using taxpayers as the middleman. that is what we are doing. it is nothing more than another attempt to disinvest in public education and that is why i asked you the first question, which you couldn't answer. do you represent all of the children of the united states, is it not your job to educate all of the children. it wasn't a trick question. it was a very simple question.
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so i just hope that the next time you come in front of us that you would stop the evasion and just give us a simple answer. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. the gentleman from alabama, mr. burn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madame secretary, it's good to see you again. i believe the civil rights act is clear that no child should face discrimination in school based on race, color, or national origin. whether that's an access to classes, in programs or through discipline practices. do you agree that the law is clear, and can you tell us what you're doing to prevent discrimination? >> thanks, congressman. i concur with you, and we are working hard to ensure that all students civil rights are respected and upheld, and a couple of things that i'd like to mention that we are doing prospectively. we have an initiative to address the inappropriate use of
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seclusion and restraint. it's a joint initiative between the office for civil rights and the office for special education and rehabilitative services and it provides an opportunity to highlight this important issue and support schools and districts and states as they work to meet the needs of each of their students. understanding that this is an important topic for many on this committee, i can assure everyone that the department is committed to ensuring that these practices do not deprive any child of the opportunity to thrive and succeed in school. even one child harmed through inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint is one too many. another area that we have continued to be on the proactive side is to hold regular webinars, technical assistance for those who need to work on the web accessibility of their institutions and we are responding to complaints, but we
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are being proactive with all institutions and inviting them to know and understand via the use of webinars on a regular basis. those are a couple of areas that we're working hard, proactively but also we are working reactivelily to make sure that -- reactively to make sure that all complaints that are brought to us are addressed. >> thank you for being proactive. i think that shows your commitment to making sure the law is followed. i know you and i both want the pe best for all of our students and it's been my pleasure to work with you on the education freedom scholarship proposal. i'm so excited to see the support it's getting, not just here in congress but in states all across the nation. i do want to clear up one point for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, the education freedom scholarship proposal is not a budget item, in the fy 2020 budget. am i right about that? >> you are right about that. >> it wouldn't take any funds away from our education program, would it. >> that's correct!
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so why don't you tell everybody a little bit about what it would do. >> well, it would provide a tax credit, but a tax credit fund that states could elect to be part of and they could choose voluntarily to be part of it, and then to formulate programs within their state and contrary to what your colleague on the other side of the aisle just alleged, it does not take anything away from any budget, and in fact, it doesn't -- it is geared toward students and toward empowering students to make a different choice for their education through the form of scholarships that would be access through scholarship granting organizations, designated by each state. you know, 501 c 3 scholarship granting organizations, and we talked a bit earlier about possible uses. it could be to access really new and robust career and technical education opportunities in a region. it could be for transportation to get to different
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opportunities. it could be to access course choice in small rural schools. and it could be used for just a wide variety of uses, but the key being that families that students would be empowered to make a choice that fits for them and for their future and what they want to learn and what they want to pursue. we have a great example in alabama in sumpter county, which is one of our poorest counties, and one of these schools was established and many of the students that are now going to that school are for the first time in their lives going to school with someone of the opposite race. because we had total segregation in sumpter county, and this school has brought african-american children awhit children together in a school in sumpter county for most of them the first time in their lives and some of their families lives. this is not just providing better education, it's actually drawing this very poor rural
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community together and i think that's great for that community but communities around the country, so i thank you for your leadership on that. >> thanks. >> with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, the gentleman from the northern marietta islands. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. madame secretary, thank you for being here today. secretary devos, you arrived in your position at a time when republicans passed a resolution of disapproval in both chambers to overturn the every student succeeds act, essa, accountability reporting, state plans and regulations. while this was overturned, the requirements remain unchanged. essa includes important federal guardrails to hold states and school districts accountable for meeting the needs of all students. while there is flexibility, the law is not a blank checkme. compliance with the lowest requirement is not optional.
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let me ask you, are you aware, madame secretary, that 40 states do not include data for one federally required substitute on their state report card as required by federal law? >> congressman, i was pleased to be able to approve every state's ess plan, and i did not approve any plans that did not comply completely in the law. we are in the monitoring phase and continue to ensure that states comply. >> i would just like a yes or no answer on the record, are you aware that approximately 40 states do not include the aggregated achievement data for one federally required substitute under state law. yes or no. >> again, all of the essa plans comply with the law and we continue to ensure -- >> that's not a yes or no. so let me ask you this, then: can states and school districts address educational equity
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without this information? >> congressman, again we have ensured that all of the essa plans from every state comply with the law and we are committed to ensuring that as they implement them they continue to comply with the law. >> i only have five minutes. respectfully, i'm reclaiming my time, madame secretary. the answer is no, we cannot advance equity without this information. the law requires states to this aggregate data by sub groups to ensure accurate data on student achievement. and accurate data is critical for parents, educators and policy makers, so how do you plan to address this issue to make sure the states are complying with the law and are held accountable for the success of all students? >> again, sir, we continue to monitor the states as they implement their essa plans to make sure they are compliant with all aspects of the law, and we're committed to doing so. >> let me be very simple.
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english is my second language but you're not giving me an answer. let me be very simple, madame secretary, can i have today your commitment to improve essa oversight and hold states accountable for implementing the letter and event of the law, your commitment, yes or no? >> we are committed to continuing to ensure every state follows the law in the implementation of their essa plan. >> i'll take that as a yes. according to the alliance for excellent education the department of education approved 12 states to implement accountability systems that do not take into account a performance of historically underserved students as required by law, despite what you just told me, parents and communities are starting to see the school letter grades issued by states based on these systems. i am concerned these letter
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grades may provide misleading information. for example, in one state, 25% of schools that received an a are identified for targeted support due to the performance of historically underserved students. in that same state, 71% of schools that received a b are identified for targeted support. does it make sense to you for a school to receive an a or a b if it's students of color or subgroups consistently underperform. district facts, district data. >> congressman, again, we are committed to monitoring the states to ensure that they continue to comply with the law as they implement the plans. >> respectfully, you're not answering my questions, the students, the educators, we deserve direct answers. let me ask again, how is the department holding states accountable for using subgroup performance to inform action to intervene in and provide
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additional support for under resourced schools? >> congressman, again, i have told you and i will tell you again, we are committed to continuing to ensure that states are complying with the laws and their they are following the requirements of the law regarding essa. >> thank you, madame secretary, you have not answered my question, but thank you very much for trying. i appreciate it. i yield back. >> gentle lady from new york. >> thank you mr. chairman. madame secretary, good to see you today. i wanted to focus my questions on higher ed, when i visited colleges and universities and community colleges in my district, it's very clear that the traditional student today is in fact non-traditional. often tiles they're going back to pursue their education mid career, they're working part-time, or they're raising a family. and i think that we need to work to modernize opportunities in higher ed to make it available for the non-traditional
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students. the department has proposed an expansion of pell grants to shorter term programs. how will this help contemporary students gain skills and career and technical education that is very impactful in finding jobs in today's economy? >> thanks for that question, congresswoman, and yes, we have proposed to expand pell to be eligible for short-term high quality programs for certifications and certificates, we know that there are many jobs available today that require just a short-term kind of program and yet we've been very rigid in terms of how we viewed the use of pell funds and so we believe that expanding that and would look forward to working with congress on the appropriate guardrails around that, but think that short-term would be an excellent move. >> i agree with you, and i think it's a real opportunity for bipartisan modernization of the pell program. another pell related question is
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we know when we are looking at the historic amount of student loan debt that a large percentage of that student loan debt is students who have not completed and i understand that 60% of those who actually attain a bachelor's degree today do so in six years. so that's much longer than the traditional four years. and we also know that the longer it takes a student to complete that degree, the more debt they accrue. one of the proposals you and i have discussed and the department has put forward is utilizing pell for dual enrollment programs. can you expand upon that? >> yes, well, many students would like to pursue college level classes in high school. they have completed their high school requirements and we think that expansion of pell into those opportunities is another way to modernize and acknowledge what the opportunities are for students today. >> absolutely. and i think it also will help us ensure that the completion rate
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increases and that students are graduating at a faster rate, therefore taking out a lower amount of student loan and then having lesser student loan debt. the last question i wanted to ask is related to work study. i understand that each year congress appropriates $1 billion to the federal work study program and this is a substantial sum of money. it largely goes to finance student jobs on campus, and those jobs are not necessarily positions related to students' career academic interests. your budget proposes reforms to this. can you talk about that? >> we believe that allowing students to do an internship or apprenticeship in jobs or with businesses related to careers that they want to pursue would be very compatible with their actual formal learning and so we have proposed to change work study requirements to allow for
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employers to be -- to have students, host students as part of their academic studies and through a work study program in business. >> i agree, and again, as i visit employers that are near local colleges, they are eager to partner. they are eager to identify the future of their work force as early as possible to help them develop those skills. i wanted to highlight these three very important bipartisan opportunities that we can pursue as a committee, and i look forward to working with you like wise. >> thanks. >> i yield back. >> thank you, gentle lady from oregon. >> thank you mr. chairman, madame secretary, a budget is a statement of priorities and values and i worked hard on the every student succeeds act and deeply disappointed that the president's budget would zero out funding for title 4 a grants, the block grants that support well rounded education, arts, civic, safety rounded schools and technology, all
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students benefit not just those in wealthy neighborhoods. these grants have bipartisan support. they're an essential part of essa. it's unacceptable that the department does not see their value. previously you told me title 4 a funds are spread too thin to be effective. if that's your position, isn't the logical position to fully fund title 4 a grants rather than eliminate them which exacerbates inequality of opportunity, and that's a yes-or-no question. >> well, congressman it's not a yes or no answer because we have -- we had to put forward a budget that met the requirement of a 10% reduction overall, so we had to make difficult choices. >> and i need to reclaim my time and move on to another question but you told me they're spread too thin, so the logical thing is to fully fund them rather than spread them too thin. i want to ask you about acisc, the department of education fully reinstated acics as a recognized accredit tor, even after they oversaw some of the largest collapses of institutions of higher education
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in american history. corinthian college is itt tech, and after they were reinstated, eca, and in every case, acics disregarded clear warning signs and failed to act convictly enough to protect student -- quickly enough to protect students and taxpayers. we asked you to rescind the decision, expressed concern the department's decision was based in part on erroneous information, including claims that acis secured support from other accrediting agencies which turned out to be false and we requested information and documentation you considered. you have not answered the letters so rather than having us wait longer, please explain why did the department fully reinstate an accredit tor that repeatedly accredited schools that harmed students. >> it's a provisional reinstatement. there are provisions acisc has to address, and it's important
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to note that we were ordered by the court to re-examine the acics case. 36,000 pages of information, the previous administration did not even acknowledge or deal with in this process, and so we did so. it was a very in-depth review, and study, and the reinstatement came with a review of all of that information that here to fore had not been considered. >> reclaiming my time, do you have a time frame for responding to those letters because we sent them last year? can we get them in the next two weeks? >> i will certainly look into it, yes. >> thank you. >> we do need that underlying information of what you considered, because, again some of it was information that was false. i have another question, yesterday the civil rights subcommittee ahead a hearing on the equality act. we know transgender students are frequently bullied and victimized and we know also that the 2016 guidance to schools about transgender students was
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applauded by education experts, health care experts, educators, counselors, pediatricians, sk s psychologists because it made students safer at school. your department rolled back that guidance creating uncertainty and concern, i have two questions, when you rolled back that guidance, did you know that the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance in grades as well as depression and anxiety for transgender students, did you know that. >> ocr is committed to ensuring all students have equal access to an education free from discrimination. >> sorry, i would really like an answer. students and families need to know this. we had a mother of a transgender student here yesterday. we need to know this. did you know when you rolled back the guidance that the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance and grades, as well as depression for transgender students, did you know that when you rolled back the guidance. >> i do know that, but i will say again ocr is committed to ensuring that all students have access to their education free from discrimination.
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>> when you rolled back the guidance did you know that a study recently published by the american academy of pediatrics revealed alarming levels of attempting suicide among transgender youth, did you know that as well when you rolled back the guidance. >> i'm aware of that data. >> i'm extremely concerned based onguidance? >> i am aware of that data. >> i am disturbed by what we heard yesterday about the roll back of that guidance. i want to follow up on congresswoman fudge's question on education scholarships. a $5 billion tax credit means $5 billion less in revenue. and i do want to point out that you did receive three pinocchios from the "washington post" for trying to say that was not using public money. it is public money if it is $5 billion less in revenue. that revenue could go to found pal grants. to fund title four grants. i see my time is expired. >> gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. smucker. >> thank you mr. chairman. good morning madam secretary.
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thank you for being here. i would like to briefly talk about your education freedom scholarships and let other members of the committee know just a little bit about a similar program in pennsylvania. the eitc program that has been in effect for a number of years. and we have had a lot of discussions in pennsylvania around charter schools. we have had discussions about school choices, school choice programs. there have been voucher programs. but the eitc program in the midst of all those discussions has had bipartisan, broad bipartisan support throughout the entirety that the program has been in effect. in fact, almost every year we have been increasing the number of tax credit programs that are available. why? because people on both sides the
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aisle see the benefit to students who could not potentially have the opportunity to attend a great school see the scholarships that are available through the program, have talked to the families and the parents who desperately want to get their child into a school that works for them. and again have supported this on a bipartisan basis both republican and democrat governors. so i think it's a great proposal. i appreciate the work that you are doing to ensure that every child has the opportunity for the world class education that they deserve, that every child has the opportunity for an education that will prepare them for life after k-12, whether it is a college or the military or directly to the workplace. it is critical that we continue that work. and i'm -- i'm troubled by some
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of the points that are made by folks in their questioning to you that we are picking -- that you are picking winners and losers as a result of this program. our system today picks winners and losers based on your ability to pay for tuition at a private school if your school is not effective. now i have three of my own kids who have been through the public school system. we are fortunate to have in the district that i represent some absolutely great public schools. we should do everything that we can to continue to support the work that those schools are doing. but if there are districts where a parent does not have an opportunity to send their child to a school that will provide that kind of opportunity, we -- it is incumbent upon us to be ensuring we put policies in place and we provide the resources so that everyone has
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that opportunity. i guess i would like you just to speak to that for a minute. i know the work that i have done to ensure that every student has an opportunity to ensure that we have great schools whether they are public schools, whether they are private schools, whether they are magnet schools, charter schools, which are public schools. but you know i would like to talk just a little bit about this idea that we are picking winners or losers and how that is -- how the work that you are doing indicates that that is not what you are trying to do. >> thanks congressman. i know that pennsylvania has had great success in meeting students' needs. let me just say, my focus is and always will be on students and on helping all students get a great education through an equal opportunity. the education scholarships proposal would help advance that for many many students. and it is focused on students.
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as you have identified, individuals today who have the financial resources to send their child or children to a different school or to move to a different place already have choices. but there is way too many families that don't have that choice. and we continue to consign them in too many cases to schools that don't work to them. there are studies after studies showing that we continue to do the same thing and expect different results. i am suggesting we do something different and test out and see how many different results we will get by doing something completely different. education freedom scholarships would take us in that direction. >> thank you. >> gentleman's time is expired. they have called votes but we have time to get in one additional set of questions. the gentleman from california, mr. at that c takano. >> good morning madam secretary.
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i would like to get directly at questions related to borrower defense. two weeks ago murray questioned you before the committee on a number of bar order defense claims your department has approved since the october 2018 cord order. the department's only quarterly date lieu december 31st 2018 established zero claims had been approved. is it true that no borrower defense claims have been approved. congressman they had been being approved before the court stepped in. they have not been since the court stepped in. >> by your own department statistics, as of december 31st, it showed that your department has approved zero claims and that you also answered before senator patty murray you thought that one was approved but the next day you issued a statement that no in fact zero claims have been approved. >> it is true that none have been approved in the last several months. that is due to a pending court decision a court case that has
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precluded us from continuing to -- >> the court decision is october 2018 and lifted the stay and ordered you to implement the rule. so i take it zero claims have been approved that nothing has changed. i would like to better understand the process by which the department decides on borrow defense claims and why it is taking you so long to process the nearly 160,000 pending claims. i want to understand that merely processing claims and faithfully implementing the rule which you have been orred to do by the court are different. we see you haven't approved or rejected claims but you are closing them. is your department cherry picking borrower defense claims with the intent to close out those cases? >> we have been addressing closed school discharges with the students that are clearly that clearly qualify. >> are you cherry picking defense claims with the intent
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of closing them out. >> we have cloelzed out 16519 eligible borrowers. >> are you specifically cherry picking them in order to close them out? >> we ensuring that those who are due relief because of closed school discharge are addressed immediately. >> okay. >> there are other students who have --? okay. i repeat that you have not approved -- >> there are other students who have claimed. >> reclaiming my time. reclaiming my time. you have not approved or rejected a single claim. you have closes thousands of case. have you or political appointees and instructed career staff at the department focused on prioritizing the closing of claims over approving them? yes or no. >> that have prioritized? i am sorry. >> have you or any of your political appoint dwrees instructed career staff at the department the focus on the prioritizing the closing of claims over approving them? >> we are focused on addressing all of our -- >> that's a yes or no question.
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have you ordered your political appointees -- >> we have -- >> madam secretary i remind you you are under oath. the question is, have you or any of your political aemployees instructed career staff at the department to prioritize the closing of claims over approving them. we are focused on -- >> i am taking that as a non-answer. reclaiming my time. on the off chance that your department were to ever approve a student claim isn't it true if a students that closed the t taxpayers are now liable for this deposbt and not the school that defrauded the student. >> we process -- >> you are not answering the question. reclaiming my time. reclaiming my time. the answer is that the taxpayers -- when the school is closed the taxpayers are liable for that unpaid loan. however 23 a school is still open the department has the ability to begin processing recovering the recompense at
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these schools. knowing this the reasonable person may possible it the idea that your department may be intentionally delaying the borrower defense rule to protect the institutions and their investors. last month you confirmed that the department is still working to promulgate new borrower defense rule making. is the fact in a the department is drafting a new rule a possible explanation for the delayed implementation of the borrower defense rule? >> we are implementing the borrower defense rule as ordered to do. and we are also in the process of continuing to refine the rule because we don't agree with the previous policy of -- >> madam secretary i will state again, i will state again that 160,000 pending claims? >> not a single approved claim. thousands and thousands of closed claims. i am very troubled by your non-answers today. madam secretary, there is no freedom in student being obligated to pay off a loan from a school that defrauded them.
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it is an unjust burden. i yield back. >> as the chart shows, a vote has been called. there are several votes. it will be at least half an hour before we can get back. we will recess until ten minutes after 11:00. committee is in recess.
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the meeting will come back to order. i wanted to welcome everyone back to the hearing with secretary devos. before we resume questioning, i need to clarify a couple of things for the record. first, madam secretary, the oig report referenced by my colleague from connecticut, mr. courtney on loan servicing did not only review records prior to your time as secretary. the oig did a review of records from january 2015 through september 2017. which means the oig did find loan services while you were secretary. while i am glad you collected something from services for non-compliance record reflects
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this amount references less than 1% of the $1.7 billion budgeted for servicing. given that 67% of the reports reviewed by the oig showed failures, i would have expected a larger collection. second, madam decross is you mentioned the importance of allowing the federal work study to better alien with students' career goals but failed to mention you proposed to cut the program by more than half in your budget. third during my questions i asked about the disparity impact analyst is legally required under title six. and your answer you answered yes it is regularly enforced to date. based on that i can assume when a school district practice has showed -- the office of civil rights under your leadership will be opening investigations when data show the discriminatory effect in
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compliance with that regulation. with that, i recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. walker. >> thank you, mr. chairman. earlier this year, i introduced the sory reauthorization act of 2019. this legislation reauthorizes the dc opportunity scholarship program for five years providing low income students in the district of columbia scholarships to attend high quality elementary and private schools. 91% of students participating in the programs are minorities with an average family income of $24,000. these scholarships provide a lifeline to students who would not have opportunities to achieve academic success otherwise. like you secretary i have met some of these wonderful families and have seen the hope this particular legislation brings to pass. secretary devos i want to thank you for your requesting increased funding for the d.c. opportunity scholarship program. in your opinion, two part question, why is it important
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for congress to act now and reauthorize the d.c. opportunity scholarship program? what are some of the possible impacts of a lapse in funding for this program? >> first let me say thank you for your leadership on championing this in your committee and in your body. i think that -- well, first of all the opportunity scholarship program is serving students' needs today. and there's a demand, an increased demand for more students to be able to participate. so there's a demand for more opportunity. that's why we have asked for an increase in funding there, doubling that program. and then it's important to act because these students' opportunities are going to run out if the funding is not reauthorized and if it's not made a permanent part of their ability to plan. would know that more than half the students in the district of columbia actual three choose
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schools devin than their assigned one. this has made for a very robust and great improvement on many levels. >> that's an interesting point that you just made. i don't want to get past that over half or right at half of these students would choose different schools. that's important it empowers the parents in these families to make the best education choices. there have been many claims, we have heard interesting claims today about the sorry reclassification act of 2019 diverting resources from those schools. how would you describe that approach to the three sector legislation. >> the district of columbia has done a great job of addressing the needs of all students and allowing for students to find the right fit for them. it should be modelled everywhere, frankly. students need to go where their education is going to work and fit for them. and washington, d.c. has been a good model for this. and all students's achievement
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has been improvement as a result of having these choices and the competition between the various kinds of schools. >> i think the evidence supports that. let me switch topics and go into the higher education and talk about historical black colleges and universities. i represent the largest hbc in the uncan. my life is a two time graduate of winston-salem state. we have an aggie-ram thing in football season but that's a different thing the talk about. i understand the importance and roles that some of your hbcus are doing and the roll they play in the higher education system. your included $26.4 million for programs reled to hbcus; is that correct? >> that's correct. >> can you elaborate? >> we think -- this president and this administration know and respect the value that hbcus
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bring to higher ed in our country. and we continue to support them this their missions. i meet regularly with the presidents of many the hbcus and the leadership of their consortium and continue look for ways for them to be able to strengthen the programs they are offering and to be able to offer more students the opportunities that they already have. >> three years ago senator tim scott and i partnered for the first time ever to bring more than 80 chance lors of historical black colleges and universities to washington, d.c. it was a way we could hear firsthand and see what the issues and concerns were. you were gracious enough, second year after you were named secretary of education that you came. one of the things we learned from those meet something the importance of pill grants and how with an estimated 70% of students eligible for pill grants one of the things that we learned was not to have these just in the spring and summer butible
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but to be able to incorporate those year round. that came into law. how does the department's action expand access to the pill grants. >> the budget proposes expanding pill grants to short-term high quality programs so students can access certification and certificate programs that don't take a full semester or a full year. we think this is an important next step to modernize the pill offering. >> thank you for your service. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. the gentle lady from knock, ms. adams. >> thank you mr. chairman. and thank you madam secretary for being here today. and i listened to -- from north carolina. -- i am 40 years retired college professor in greensboro at
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bennett college. my question in terms of following up on that. pell grants are great. 80 to 90% of students depend on it for financial aid. and yes we have expanded it year round. but i think we also need to -- we have got to expand the money year round. because if you stretch it out and we don't put additional dollars in that doesn't help very much. but it is certainly an opportunity for students to do better. is it true that your fiscal year' 20 bung plan fails to request reauthorization of mandatory funding for msis including $85 million to hbcus which represent isn't some of our lowest endowed institutions? >> i want to move quickly. so if you could tell me if you know that, yes or no. >> ma'am, the budget has proposed consolidating many of those smaller grants into one
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that could be better targeted to the institutions and primarily the students that need it most to give more flexibility to meet individual students' needs. >> so that's a yes or a no? >> well, it is a proposal to consolidate some of the smaller line items into one with a mission to serve those students more broadly and more effectively. >> thank you. all right. what was the rationale for eliminating funding that many institutions depend on which could eventually force a handful of them to close? >> we, again, have made budget requests on the discretionary side. we also know that the mandatory side of course is not impacted by any of the budget qusz. we continue -- budget requests. we continue to want to ensure that students have access to the funds that congress intends to reach the most needy and vulnerable students. >> let me move on. i have a lot i want to ask.
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it appears to me that the department may have its priorities a little bit confused because it is willing to see schools who have filled an horn hit forical megs and educates a large percentage of low income first generation college students facing hardship low performing and unscrupulous for profits. i want to touch on a line of questioning that ms. bond me chi started. you said the decision is providingal. it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. the decision to not recognize the thorough analysis conducted by your staff who concluded that the acis did not meet two important criteria of competency and complicate of interest. are you aware that less than a month after you recognized the
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acis they closed 70 campuses in 18 states in a enrolled 19,000 students? are you aware of that? >> with regard to acics we followed the judge's order to consider 36,000 pages of information that had not been considered by the previous administration. >> you are aware of it? >> the report to which you are referring also did not take into account that information. >> madam secretary are you aware of that? can you say yes or no? >> i am aware of the process that we went through. >> okay. all right move on. >> to recognize and reinstate acics. >> are you aware that in the year leading up to your decision the rerecognize acics 61 schools were closed? >> again, congresswoman -- i -- we followed the process that -- we followed a very thorough process in reexamining acics's
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ability to accredit and are confident that the process was done accurately, particularly given the court order to consider 36,000 pages of unconsidered information. >> what then is the justification for not seeking input from the statutory advisory committee with the sole function of providing policy recommendations to you primarily related to accreditation and the accreditor? i only have a few seconds. >> again -- >> you can't give me -- okay. >> we underwent a very thorough process. >> let me just say that the answers that you have provided reveal a fundamental lack of concern for the tens of thousands of students that were taken advantage of because of shoddy oversight by acics. mr. chairman, i think it would be nice if we had a department that actually put students first particularly our students who
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view higher education as their ticket out of poverty. i was one of those. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, gentleman from texas, mr. taylor. >> thank you mr. chairman. madam secretary, you haven't had a chance to answer a lot of questions. is there anything you want to add to fill out maybe round out an answer to a question so far? >> well, there have been a number of things on which i was not able the really comment. and i think it's difficult if issues are being conflated. i also am here not to answer multiple choice questions but to really have an exchange on a number of issues that are mutual concern to all of us, our concern is about students. so i will try to address them as i need to again. thanks, thanks for the opportunity. >> you know, i think what is of mutual concern to all of us is certainly the rising costs of college. something we have found in texas
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is that dual credit classes make a huge impact. if a student takes a dual credit class at the high school level they have a higher percentage of -- they have a higher gpa in college, they graduate sooner. they graduate with less dent. and they are more likely to graduate from college at all. so rigor in high school makes a difference in college graduation rates. i think that everybody here cares about more children successfully finishing high school and then going on and getting a college degree and being educated. i think that's what everybody in this committee is really committed toward. going back to dual credit. it is successful in my time in the texas legislature to make sure students who took dual credit classes would receive funding from the state of texas. we have seen great innovations at home. highlighting allen independent school district. they are building a dual credit academy that would provide an associates degree when the
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student finishes high school, with their community college. that saves the taxpayer money because you are already paying for the high school degree. if they graduate with an associate's degree you are that much better off. one of the things i have had discussions with on both sides of the aisle is having schools like allen recognized that are actually doing a good job having more dual credit classes. have you sichb given any thought on how the department of education can participate in recognizing schools that are doing a good job across the country on a state by state basis, that are doing a good job on dual credit? >> sure. we talked about this a bit. i think it is a great idea that, one that we should look into to perhaps recognize creativity in this area in a new way. it's not an area that we've had any kind of formal recognition in. but i would be happy to work with you to consider a program such as that. >> all right. well it is certainly something i think that is important for our
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country. we need to have more people who are highly educated. and i think that clearly rigor in high school meents results in college. and dual credit is definitely, without any doubt, has a definite positive impact that way. so i look forward to working with you on that. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, gentleman from new jersey, mr. nor cross. >> thank you mr. chairman. madam secretary thank you for being here today. i agree with our colleagues that we are all looking to create an education system that is better for our children. i think one of the ways we can do that is making sure that teachers along with administrators and certainly the kids work towards that direction in working together. one of the things that i have known from my history previous to coming here to congress is that a relationship between the employer and employee works best when they work cooperatively. so one of the things that you recently talked about is that you were thankful for the
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supreme court decision in janus because it freed up those who believed or had been coerced to participate in something they had not wanted to participate. in reality, teachers are being targeted, spammed by groups such as mcinyou a center something that you probably know about and public policy from the freedom foundation. they have called, emailed, they have advertised. they have gone door to door trying to get teachers to leave what they believe is a fair foundation for learning. and that's their union. if teachers are choosing to join unions, why the two foundations that your family's is associated with are the top givers to those groups that are trying to get people to leave what they believe in, and that's joining a union? why would you do that?
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>> congressman, i am an advocate for freedom across the board. and we have a very significant proposal to help teachers exercise more freedom in their own -- >> by coercing? >> in their professional toe. >> the very thing that you spoke against is about -- >> congressman, can i please -- >> you can, i want to make sure you answer the question i am asking. called, emailed, advertised and door toer do. that's not an education program. that's coercing. in your statement you talked about that. i would love to have the answer. >> congressman the proposal that our administration has put forward would allow teachers to determine their own professional development and to take advantage of developing themselves with autonomy and not be assigned to do so by their district or their building or whatever. but allow them -- >> what does that have to do with joining unions? they are not being assigned to join a union. >> the janis decision allowed
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teachers to decide whether to be part of a union or not. >> absolutely. >> i am talking about the proposal we have put forward to help teachers to develop amentorship. >> what does it have to do with unions? >> it doesn't -- it has to do with supporting teachers. >> why are you answering that. >> it has to do with supporting teachers. >> i am not asking about supporting teachers. you took a public position suggesting that joining a union of their own free will was something that you didn't believe in. so you are now answering me -- >> i said i was pleased that they have -- now have the ability to decide whether or not -- >> they have already had that ability, as you know. but you, through your foundations that you are associated with, have coerced, have sent letters, have gone door to door doing exactly what you said they shouldn't do. so i am finding it very difficult to -- >> when i took this job i resigned from everything and
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anything outside of this job. >> you no longer believe that? >> i am focused on students. >> you are no longer a believer in that. >> i am focused on supporting teachers and great teachers to be able to advance in their jobs. >> do you believe teachers who have the ability to join a union? >> clearly they should. and they should have an ability to not if they decide not to. >> we agree with that. it is called democracy. it is something we do here in this country pretty well. but do you still believe -- you told me you resigned from the foundations, that you no longer believe in coercement? because that foundation helped pay for those organizations to call, knock on doors, coerce. do you still believe in that? >> congressman i am here for one job and one job --? do you still believe in that? very simple question, not multiple choice. it is yes or no. >> it is a simple answer.
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>> i want respect in actually answering the questions. that's the part you and i can agree with. we are here to try to ask questions and get answers. that's the way we work together. when you start answering something i did not ask that's disrespectful. i yield back the aboutance of my time. >> the gentleman from texas mr. wright. >> thank you mr. chairman. madam secretary thank you for being here today. first i want to applaud your dedication to freedom and education. not only does that result in more choices but also more innovation, which i think our system does really need. i also want to offer to you that it is not your responsibility to educate students. you are not in the classroom. that is the responsibility first and foremost of parents, then of teachers, administrators, schools under the auspices primarily of local and state governments. not the federal government. you can't offer opportunity, guidelinesings even restrictions. but your job is to carry out
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federal law as relates to your department as determined by the president of the united states. would you agree with that? >> i would agree with that. >> thank you. i wanted to speak just a moment on higher education. i know you have already discussed this at great length. you about we had a hearing not too long ago on this that was mentioned earlier. and i was very disappointed that the panel's consensus seem to be that the answer was more federal money. there was a reluctance to even discuss how colleges and universities might lower their cost. as you know, there has really been know incentive for higher education to lower its cost, especially when the federal government is guaranteeing all of these loans. can you speak to that and how we might entice or get, you know, colleges and universities to look at that side of the equation? >> congressman, it is a complex
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question, for sure. and it is a concern. and i have a graph here that i think very graphically illustrates the rise in costs from $7,000 for a four-year degree in 1980 to now, on average, $19,000 in public universities. so it confirms what you have already raised the specter of. i think we start by helping students with more information and giving them more tools when making a decision about where to go to school. and part of our next-gen initiative is to add information to the college score card that will allow students to compare at a program level by institution what the cost of that education is going to be and what their likelihood is in terms of earning potential at a program level, which is going to be far more valuable than the information that we currently have, which just gives an average for a school.
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which doesn't tell you the dramatic differences between, say, if you are a history major, perhaps, or an engineer. and that's one tool that i think that we can provide students. i think we need to work together. and i think i look forward to proposals that might be advanced from this body around how to -- how to hold schools accountable or how to have them have some skin in the game. i have not yet heard a really good proposal advance that might get after this. but the reality is that there is no incentive to restrain costs. >> thank you. my last question is -- has to do with something else that's already been discussed. and that is -- i know that you are as dedicated as anyone to preparing the next generation of work force and that entails all kinds of things in education. in my district, we have at least two school districts that have
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career centers. and it is really cutting edge innovative stuff. i know there are a lot of these around the country. but i would invite you to visit some day. i think you would be impressed because high school students are graduating with state certifications to go right into jobs. and everything from being certified welders to certified phlebotomists. one of them, barbara mansfield is starting a new program to teach high school students how to operate and maintain drones because that's an emerging market demand. and i want to know what your department, what your budget is doing that would help these collaborative efforts like that so we can help educate these kids that are not going to go to college? we have a couple of areas in which we have focused, proposed folk used resources, one is around the education freedom scholarships initiative.
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programs could be created in states to enhance career and technical education options for students and provide new ways to do that, provide transportation dollars for students. and then on the other side we have in the budget $1.3 million around the perkins five to support continued implementation of these opportunities both at the high school and post high school level. and then a preapprenticeship program that we have proposed to the tune of $60 million that would help students that are -- that need to actually come back to school before they can even be considered for an apprenticeship. but the whole notion of a career and technical education opportunities is one that states have begun to address in specific ways. there are many more opportunities to do what is necessary both for students and
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for their opportunities in terms of employment. and the best way to do that, i think, is a cooperative effort on a regional level between employers and educators really looking at and addressing the needs of that region. >> all right. thank you very much. mr. chairman, i yield the remainder of my time to dr. fox. >> thank you. the gentleman's time is expired. >> oh, sorry. [ laughter ] >> the gentle lady from washington. >> thank you mr. chairman. madam secretary thank you for being here today. i wanted to start somewhere where i think we would be on the same page, the mission statement of the department of education. can you tell us the one sentence mission statement of the department of education. >> i -- the mission statement of the department of education is to help students be prepared for their futures. >> okay. i will read it i am not trying to trap you here. it is to promote student
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achievement and preparation for global competitiveness. do you agree with that? >> i do. >> great. putting students first is essential to fulfilling the mission, as you have mentioned in your statements. and that includes the department of education's role in setting standards for the schools that take federal student eight aid money to ensure that students are actually getting that quality education. through a process of accreditation which for people out there is sort of loo particular good housekeeping seal of approval in order to get government money. so we have got to make sure we get this right. because if the standards aren't strong enough, if the institutions are just out to scam students and taxpayers or don't provide a gooded kaegs then everything looses. here's the thing about accreditation agencies they are actually funded through fees from the very institutions that they regulate. there is potential for real conflicts of interest here. that's why it is important that the education department sets up standards to hold them to
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account. and the standards have to make sure that we are not playing into the old adage of the fox is guarding the hen house. you know in a phrase, the fox is guarding the hen house means that someone who cannot be trusted has been chosen to protect someone. like a bank be roar guarding a. >> about. earlier this year you convened a committee to rewrite the standards in a process called esht inned rule making. out of the 17 voting members of this committee how many slots were relegated to al dagss of students since we are putting students first. >> let me just say i am proud and excited about this did. >> i know. you said that. i just wanted to know how many slots on the committee were allegated to students. >> the negotiators were selected by a career team. >> how many slots were allocated to stunts out of 17. if you don't know the answer, i am happy to provide it to you. >> the negotiating team was put together. >> i am sorry secretary, we are only given five minutes. let me --
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>> based upon the requirement of the enrollment press. >> secretary, let me answer the question that you haven't answered, which is two slots out of 17 were provided to representatives of students. how many slots were provided to attorney generals? state attorney generals. >> again congresswoman the negotiating team was assembled by career staff in accordance with the negotiated rule making process. >> the answer to the question is no state attorney generals were on the committee. why is that important? because state attorneys jen real like mine, bob ferguson in washington state are. so of the biggest players in actually protecting students from low quality institutions. now, i want to go on to talk about the actual list. as i look at the list of who you appointed and i understand what the process was, there were essentially the remaining slots were owners of several for-profit colleges, two major
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accreditors of for-profit colleges and other industry representatives. in my mind that's sort of like putting the foxes in charge of the hen house. let's just talk about the rules as an example of what happened out of this committee. under the new rules if a school stops living up to its accreditor standards in many cases because it is providing a subpar education, how long would the accrediting agency have to take action and inform students that there is a problem? >> congresswoman, as you with know, the negotiated rule making process requires that -- >> i am just asking you how long they would take? >> i am not going to comment on the specific recommendations of the commission. i am going to talk about the next steps in the process. >> that's not my question. and i control the time madam secretary with all due respect. >> i don't want to have a dialogue. >> my question was how long will the accrediting agency have to take action and inform students
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if there is a problem? the answer to that question with the rule that you are proposing is four years. four years is the time that a student is in college, the entire time they could be at an agency that is sub pars that taking their money, taking taxpayer dollars and not even know that that is the case. >> of course you will have an opportunity to comment during the public comment approximatered. >> you can comment at the end of my time. but i control my time. let's explore for rule. it makes it easier for campuses to buy out students who close and -- wreath could come in, take over a you go haveling campus take a profit from that buyout and then face limited consequences to educate students who paid tens of thousands of dollars. madam secretary i know my time is over but we would have to say we need to make sure the
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department of education is protecting our students and our taxpayer dollars and these rules do not do that. >> thank you. madam secretary did you want to comment? >> i am sorry? >> i judid you want to comment. >> i wanted to comment that this process will roll into a draft rule being released. you will have ample time to comment on the public comment period. that's what the rule making process is. and what we intend to do. if there are issues where you disagree or others disagree there will be ample time to argue that. the negotiating committee dealt with a be in of issues that were wide ranging and difficult. i am looking forward to the next steps in that process. >> thank you. gentleman from wisconsin. >> thank you for being here. any one of the things i wasn't initially going to comment on
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here today but i am a little bit surprised. i am glad you haven't take ten bait and felt that the federal government should be more in education than it is. and that you understand the constitution. people come to see me to help improve their local school districts. they have no respect for the constitution and the role the states and communities have. almost as sad they seem to have contempt to the state and local stms and they want to you send more bureaucrats to look over them. do you have any suggestions of what we can do to make sure the next generation of americans understands the limited role of federal government in our education. >> congressman, i think there is a great opportunity for all
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schools to take seriously i think the responsibility to prepare young people to be good citizens and learn about their nation's history in a way that is current and relevant and practical that gives them a foundation on which to then go out and form their opinions and debate ideas. >> okay. we have talked before about ability one programs and state programs in which people with different abilities than ourselves have an opportunity to experience the satisfaction of work, the ability to earn their own paycheck, the ability to have a setting in which they are able to socialize with so many people. right now there are people out there who want to get rid of these what used to be called shelter workshops. now we call work centers. i wonder if you could comment, in the future, if there is a direction the department would like to go with regard to
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protecting not just these work centers but even more, the people who work in them? >> congressman, i know that you have a great heart for these individuals and some of the opportunities that are within your district. and with regard to the specific guidance that you are asking about, we are still in the process of evaluating and reviewing it. and know that we share the same goal of ensuring that all individuals have particularly individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to work in an environment that is challenging for them and that works for them and that they will have choices in that prospect as well. so we will continue to work together to try to meet that end. >> okay. there are so many tens of thousands of people who enjoy working in their current settings. i know it is so difficult. you get this big job, and the number of rules and laws that you are responsible for, and the number of employees you are
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responsible for is overwhelming. do you think you would ever be able to take time out of your busy schedule and tour one of these facilities and see firsthand what's going on? >> i would love to be able to. i know our assistant secretary johnny colette has and said he really appreciated his visit and gained a much greater understanding of the places that you have been referring to. >> okay. i would like to switch gears spiral to dual enrollment programs. and we have got to do what we can to get people in the world of work without excessive student loan debt. frankly, the earlier they get to work in their life the quicker they will be able to afford a new house, the quicker they will be able to get married and have children. do you think an advance degree can guarantee that students are receiving a high quality education that can lead to a good job in their field? do you have a comment in general on what we can do to facilitate
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dual enrollment programs? >> this administration does support much more robust dual enrollment opportunities as well as supporting a variety of career paths that heretofore really haven't been supported in the ways that we think they should be and that there is opportunity for so many students to pursue a really meaningful career not -- that does not require a four-year, or college or university degree. so we will continue the support all of those initiatives that enhance those opportunities and support states and regions for, in their efforts to specifically address those opportunities in their geographies. >> i appreciate you sanding up to the special interests. there is money to be made in standing in the way of this dual enrollment programs and the accreditation. i appreciate you standing up to the people who would -- who think the accreditation group comes first and the students
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come second. thank you again for coming over here today. >> thank you. gentleman from new york, mr. morrilly. >> thank you mr. chairman. and thank you for holding this important hearing. and thank you madam secretary for your service and for being here this morning, this afternoon. since 2014, more than half a million students have been displaced by college closures. of those, just shy of 85%, 425,000 end at thatted for-profit edge whiches. in my home state of new york there were over 13,000 students displaced by for-profit college close oars. more concerning are the high percentage of women, held grant recipients and minorities affected by the clez oars. everest institute left 462 students in my district. many students attending for-profit colleges are working adults with families often living paycheck to paycheck while trying to inhavest in
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their future and provide a better life for their families, non-traditional students in many cases. when the schools shut doesn't the students fall on harder times perpetuating the cycle of poverty many are trying to escape. last monday 24 schools closednd straing nearly 10,000 students. those closures are in a line of major school closings and not likely the last. the ndle thatting of those closures are poor leadership. i think -- i want to discuss those issues. with previous for-profit college closures auch as itt tech the department required them to post a $250 million letter of credit to cover costs associated with closing the institution. according to the department's preacquisition review paperwork at the time dream center
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purchased -- campus in 2017 the department had a $100 million letter of credit on file to cover liabilities if the institutions closed. obviously it has come to a point where that letter of credit would be important. was the letter of credit on file on the last day of its closure? do you know? >> congressman let me say that schools closing is always unfortunate and regrettable. our focus with school closures is on students and helping them transfer to another program if they are able to. we are working closely with every school that is in the process of closing or has closed to ensure that those funds that were retained are used appropriately and that students have every opportunity to continue their studies if they choose to and if programs are found for them to be able to continue. >> i appreciate that. do you know though in -- directly as it relates to my question do you know whether there was a letter of
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accreditation. >> i would happy to get back to you if you submit a if he for the record on that. >> i appreciate that. it is hard for us to no. there is a lack of transparency around this. however as evidenced by court filings in 2019 the department either gave back or let all outstanding dream center letters of credit lapse and had no letters of credit on file as of the closure. obviously, i find that troubling. i dealt are letters of credit, insurance and collateral as a chairman of the insurance committee in the new york state assembly and find this frankly if it is true financially irresponsible. mr. chairman i ask unanimous consent to submit this into the record showing no letter of credit was on file with the department in november of 2018. >> without objection. >> if i might also i want to talk about making hard choices to protect taxpayer dollars, which all of us i know are very,
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very committed to. but i am turned that the allegiance lies with corporations when there has been an unwillingness to cut funding from critical programs that benefit students and taxpayers. i am afade there is too little required of corporate actors and handing them tens of millions of taxpayer dollars from the department is apparently, according to the filing, not responsible letters of credit. letters of credit help to guarantee if there are closings that we will have protections for them. i wanted to nomad am secretary if you would commit to publishing monthly reports indicating whether the schools have letters of credit and whether the department has those letters of credit on hand and how much they are worth? >> congressman, let me first say that the school to which you are referring did have appropriate letters of credit. we are continuing to work closely with schools that are in financial trouble. let me just say that --
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>> i'm sorry. you said you didn't know. but -- i'mer so. did you -- are you amending your answer that they did have a letter of credit on -- >> the appropriate letters of credit have been in place for the institutions that you are referring to. >> well, butcourt filings, that i just submitted in the record, indicate and these are the departments court filings, in conjunction with creditors, the department either gave back, or let all outstanding dream center letters of credit laps and there were no credits on file as of the date of the closure. >> well, i will be happy to clarify, with my staff, and ensure that you have the information that you want and need. >> i appreciate that, and obviously, what i would like to know, in addition to that, is if there was no letter of credit, what steps you would take to make sure that the liabilities were covered, or if not, who intends to cover those liabilities, and if there is a reduction in the face value of the letter of credit, how you,
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how you make judgments around any payments, or any exposure, because, i assume at some point, someone else is responsible for it, whether it is the individual student, or taxpayers, i do not think, i do not think i understand. so, i would like very much, some follow-up from you, as to what those letters of credit are, which are protections for students, and frankly, having read some of the stories about students who lapsed, and have not spoken with many of them in my office, both in my time as a state legislator, and now, it is incredible he troubling. >> the generous time is expected >> i appreciate that mr. speaker, go back. >> thank you. >> gentleman from kansas, mr. watkins. >> thank you mr. chairman. secretary devoe, thank you for peter patriotism, and your leadership, truly an inspiration, i want to start off today, by telling you,
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that, education is a family session. my mother, my little sister, my grandfather, or all educators, and it is so very important to my family, as well as the district, that i represent candace, a good congressional district. so, all education is career education, and i know it is quickly important to each one of us, to increase educational opportunities for every single one of our constituents. i believe our nation should foster and all of the above education environment, one that is inclusive of all types of learning, institutions, schools, colleges, universities. as a former student and a current mentoring, i know firsthand that america's career education, can empower individuals with opportunities for lifelong success. through their earned benefits from years of military service, student veterans have a wealth of choices available to them
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for their higher education, and career ambitions, and rightfully so, career education colleges, like wichita technical institute, institute, in my hometown of topeka for instance, present pathways for so many student veterans to achieve the american dream. so ma'am, i have a question. every day, we hear from employers, seeking to hire more workers, that are but are unable to find them, as a result, many of them are looking to apprenticeships to meet the growing labor market demands. what are some common questions, that you hear from employers, who are interested in starting an apprenticeship for workforce development programs? >> congress meant, thanks for the question, and let me just add to your first statement, about your family, and how important education is my mom was a public school teacher as well, and so, we share that. our focus continues to be on supporting multiple pathways to
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great careers. and, when i speak with employers, most often, their question is, how can we engage with educators, and make sure that students are prepared for the opportunities we have right now, today? and that is my continued urging to both employers, and educators, is that they break down the silos that have existed, and begin working together, conservatively, because there are such tremendous opportunities, and those opportunities really, fairy region by region, state by state, so there is no one size fits fits all approach. but, we need to, from the level, from this level, make sure that the impediments that are in the way, are there, are broken down to the greatest extent possible, and then, supported through the programs that are working, and the programs that are not, should be revised, or eliminated, and allow the state and local
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communities to really drive what is needed, at you know, at the most local level. >> that is very inspiring to hear, thank you for that answer. mr. chairman, i would like to yield my time to ranking member fox. >> thank you mr. watkins. madam secretary. the president's budget request asks for an increase of 133.1 million over last year's funding levels to administer the student aid programs. the state agreed, and for this increase is to help implement your next generation financial services environment vision, which will update your technical and operational infrastructure to better support students of high quality service. this all sounds encouraging, however your agency has been met with lawsuits at every step of the procurement, including now. these disputes will likely delay your ability to proceed forward before the current
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student learned services contracts expire. there are over 34 million direct loan bars owing over 1.1 trillion, who will be affected by the decisions your agency makes this year. i am monitoring the situation closely, because, students and their families deserve to know how this will impact their lives. from now on, i expect regular updates from you, and your staff about this ongoing procurement, during which i expect to hear specific and realistic alternative timelines to implementing next gen. while i appreciate next gen as a perspective solution, congress needs to know our programs will continue to be carried through, without interruption while you are working on implementation. thank you very much mr. chairman. >> yes ma'am. we hear you. >> thank you, the gentle lady from minnesota, miss omar.
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>> thank you chairman, madame secretary. countless new sources have reported on the conflict of interest that run rampant through your top aides, especially those advising you on higher ed, and loan servicing. when reporting, when responding to questions about these conflicts, you have failed to adequately convince congress, and the american people that these conflicts do not interfere with the billions of taxpayer dollars dollars flowing from education to corporate interests. today, i would like to better understand your decisions for selecting aids, and the assurance there is not conflict to harm taxpayers. last may, four of my colleagues on this committee, send your general counsel request for information about conflict of interest surrounding your two billion-dollar next gen loan servicing solicitation. given that this solicitation is given, i would like some information about the key that is leading. does dr. johnson, is he the one
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that is spearheading this solicitation? >> dr. johnson has his head of the next gen initiative. >> on it, according to new york times investigation, dr. johnson was the founder and chief executive of a private student loan company, where you name the student loan financing corporation, before assuming his official role with the department, is that correct? >> that, probably is correct. >> yes, it is. >> i just interject. >> i would like to continue. >> and i would like to make clear that these >> will give you some time. i will get to it, thank you so much. dr. johnson was also the executive at the two financial services companies, first data corporation, t sys. additionally, dr. johnson was hired, at least one other, as t sys n mr. patrick fox.
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has any of dr. johnson's previous employers, bid on elements of next gen solicitation? >> congress move woman of my stuff, my team at the department of education, and federal student aid, have gone through their ethics process, has taken, and takes their ethics obligations very seriously. we do not have conflicts, and we will not be conflicted. we have continued to have a robust screening process, and, can stand, and be, you know, very resolute about that. >> so, given that there is about 2 billion dollars per year, and taxpayer dollars, flowing through this program, will you commit to releasing, negation between the procurement team, and any of those of dr. johnson's former employees? >> so, all of the procurement
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is walled off from allergies >> we just need yes or no, would you be committed to releasing any communication between dr. johnson, and his employees? >> not to releasing internal communication. but, the procurement team, is walled off from the rest of the team, and the procurement process is very, very, definitely prescribed, as to how it has to happen. >> that has not clearly answered my question. the federal acquisition regulations have a section on conflict of interest. it states, the general rule is to avoid it strictly, any conflict of interest, or even the appearance of conflict of interest in government contract relations. while many federal laws and regulations place restrictions on actions of government personnel, their official contact must in addition, be such that they would not have no reluctance to make a public, full public disclosure of their actions. you seem to have reluctance to
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make a full public disclosure of the actions of the head of the department, largest single procurement team. despite there being obvious appearance of conflict of interest. how is your denial to release communication, in line with extremely high conflict of interest standards, that are required by federal law? >> the individual you have referred to is not part of the acquisition, or procurement team.>> okay. but we need the communication that is happening between the procurement team -- and the employers of dr. johnson. >> that process is walled off from any other process.>> while, the public believes that there is a conflict of is interest. the investigations say that there is a conflict of interest. it gives the appearance of conflict of interest, the american people have the right to know, and make sure that
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there is not a conflict of interest. thank you for your time, you'll back. >> thank you, the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you very much secretary divorce, nice to have you with us. thank you for your many years of work, philanthropy, and support of educating america's young people, and private schools, and public schools, pennsylvania's ninth district, where i represent, and i think an old district, the education of our young people, is an enormously important component for economic growth and quality of life. i know you department appreciates the importance of helping students explore the many pathways to success, whether that be for your university, career, and technical education, or vocational schools. we do need to assure that there is an effective plan in place so students can make choices, and have options that best suit their skills and interests. your deponent has demonstrated a commitment to this bill, by
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strengthening ct eight, which is very appreciated, and implementing short-term pedal grant, and i am certain that those initiatives have benefited many families throughout my district. i appreciate it. also in my district, we have a school, conrad weiser school district, created, the ben franklin science research institute, to foster stem education. secretary, i believe you are familiar with this program, from your time serving as the chair of the philanthropy roundtable. they are familiar with you, and i certainly appreciate your support of this innovative program, as do many. currently, the program uses nonprofit funding, to purchase research equipment, and opportunities to showcase individual research. they are on the process present, of applying the educational improvement tax credit, which is a pennsylvania program, that offers corporations, tax credits for donating to organizations, for with file stem programs, such
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as this. i know that the pennsylvania's eit seat but it will help this program grow, and improve. can you speak, as to how your education freedom scholarship proposal would allow schools, and initiatives such as this, across the nation to create similar opportunities for the students? >> thanks congressman. first, the education freedom scholarship program will improve education first didn't, all student. students who can participate, and make different choices, for their education, and, what it would do, is provide states like pennsylvania, or any other state that opted to be a part of it, to create new options, and new opportunities. so, the programs that you are referring to could be part of choice, a menu of choices given to students in pennsylvania, for their futures, and for, to find their right niche for pursuing their career, and
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their meaningful future. >> crate, they will be very helpful, and it will be put to some very important use, for i am sure, thousands and thousands of students. and i, as a member of congress, do look forward to making the education freedom scholarships a reality. mr. chairman, i yield the balance of my time, to dr. -- >> thank you very much. i would like to follow up on that conversation about the education freedom scholarships, madam secretary, i want to begin by correcting something that a couple of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have raised, regarding the education freedom scholarships or postal. they are disputing your argument, that your proposal would not take any funds from public schools, my colleagues seem to believe that individual's income belongs to the government, and should be considered put public money. ". i could not disagree more.
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we the people have agreed to pay some of our income to the government, in the form of taxes, but that does not mean the government is entitled to anyone's income. the secretary's proposal gives taxpayers greater greater freedom and how their income, their property, is used to support education. if a state chooses to establish a program, and a taxpayer chooses to support it, with their income, we should support that choice. we should not claim ownership of that taxpayers hard earned money. madam secretary, would you like to say anything else about that? >> well, thanks congresswoman fox, i concur with everything you have said. it is and an accurate statement, to say that it is taking public resources. these are voluntary contributions made to scholarship granting organizations, to benefit kids. and, kids and their futures, and that is what it is all
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about.>> one more quick comment, you have showed a great chart a while ago, how much the cost, and what it is considered, a four-year degree, i would only like to suggest, that in 1980, it probably was a four-year degree, and now, it is a six year degree, so the cost is even greater, thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. how to pick >> thank you mr. chairman, secretary general, thank you so much for coming to join our committee today. i wanted to start by asking you to confirm a statement that you have made on the subject of literacy, i think, the latch let -- reading kids minds, c is the foundation of learning, and it is the starting point on the pathway to the american dream. can you confirm that you made that statement?>> if you said i did, i probably did. you are reading from something,
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so that she >> live mic i think it is on the website. you, well, thank you, it sounds like, i mean, actually happen to really agree with that, i was a late bloomer on literacy, is not a competent reader, until second grade. but, i personally benefited from some of the literacy programs funded at the federal level, so this is an issue that is close to my heart. do you know, how many of our elementary and middle school kids currently, are able to read at grade level according to the most recent national report card, proximally how many? >> not nearly enough. not nearly enough, in fact, it is well below 50%. >> i think it is about a third, does that sound about right? >>& right, yes. >> so, i think we are in agreement about two things, one is that literacy is the foundation of learning, and second, is that, we are only at one third of our elementary and middle school kids, can read at grade level, and so, can help explain to me, why the budget that you proposed, eliminates every single dedicated federal
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literacy program, including the innovative approaches to literacy, which provides books to school kids, and the learn program, which helps our school district developed branch of literacy programs? why would you cut those programs, at a time like this? >> well, two things, first of all, we had to submit a budget that was 10% lower than the 2019 enacted, and so, we chose to focus on programs that were going the mostly broadly benefit the students who are most in need, and most vulnerable. protecting title ix, protecting aba funding, and protecting english as a second language funding. and, to suggest that the federal government is going to ultimately solve problems of literacy, would suggest that over the last 50 years, we would've seen dramatic improvement in literacy. the fact is, we have not. the fact is, that there is a study that just came out, from harvard and stanford this week, that shows that 50 years, the
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differences in performance on math, reading, and science test between disadvantaged and advantaged u.s. students have remained essentially unchanged for 50 years. >> was the second reason? >> i did not say lefties >> you mentioned there were two reasons, he said of the seas >> i said the first thing is, the budget we submitted, and second, there is this study, that shows continued federal funding, to try to fix problems, has not yielded the results that we all hope for. so, our proposal is, to pivot, and do something completely different. that is why we have proposed an education freedom scholarship lefties >> while secretary devos, sorry for interrupting, i actually think this is pretty clear, this requires annual reports from recipients, and children that benefit from access to reading materials, from industry to k- 12, have dramatically increased rates of literacy, which are directly tied to this program, and its funding. so, i do not understand to, why
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you think it is such a hard choice, to cut every single federal dedicated literacy program at a time when one third of our school kids can read. >> the reality is, that we are seeing the most gains in terms of student literacy, is those states that have decided to focus in on this, and have expected that kids read by third grade, before being graduated on. we need to focus more on this, but those solutions are best, our best done at the state and local level. we have continued to pour billions of dollars into federal funding for education, only to see results continue to make great remained stagnant at best, and in many cases, decline for the student who need the most help you >> while secretary devos, i hear your words, and yet, one of the programs that you could, the learn program, helped those state and local districts develop competence of literal literacy programs, actually solve this problem. and so, look, i think what
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kills me about this, is not just the context of the fact that we are cutting some of the most vertical programs to improve literacy, it is the hypocrisy of what i see from this department. if you go on the website of the department of education right now, the picture is you, reading a book to a kid. and that is phenomenal. and you have gone around the country, reading books to kids, talking about the importance of literacy. but then, you get back to washington, you go into the cloak of bureaucracy in a back room somewhere, and you cut everything program, and indeed, you actually eliminated every single program, fully developed, and fully dedicated towards addressing the problem that you're actually saying needs to be solved, and i think that hypocrisy, is disappointing, shocking, and frankly, really heartbreaking, at the time, when we have some real challenges in our educational system. thank you mr. chairman, i yield back. >> and if i could just say, that if these problems have been solved by the federal government, we would've seen different results in the last 50 years. we have not.
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>> thank you, the gentleman from indiana, mr. banks. >> thank you mr. chairman, thank you secretary devos , for being here today, i will start with the conversation that you and i had before the committee a year ago, related to education savings accounts for military families. i think both of us agreed, at that time, that our military families deserve the best education options possible, yet, far too often, we are complaints from military families about the lack of options when they move from installation to installation, some, some localities, offering a better education, and not having better options to choose, a year ago, when i introduced military education accounts, you expressed before this committee, that the funding source, impact, using impact eight dollars, preventing you prevented you from supported that proposal. i took that opposition to heart, and at the time, you vowed that you and your team would work with us, to try to find better options, so we
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reintroduced our legislation this year, and in this year's version, there are zero cuts to impact and, in fact, impact aid is not mentioned at all in our legislation. i wondered if you, maybe could testify for a moment, to the virtues of giving our military families better education options, and whether you might be able to support this renewed effort, without cutting effect a dollars? >> while congressman, we share the same goals of helping our military families have more choice, and more latitude as they do move around so frequently, and we know, that there is a huge percentage that actually leave active duty, because of this issue. so, we have to find a way to give more families more choices. we have been working with the department of defense, to see about a pilot program, that they might be able to establish, to test this out, but i would be happy to work with you, to continue to work
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with you, on finding a way to fund this in a way that is going to work, that meets the needs of military families, and work from a budget perspective. >> we appreciate your commitment to doing that, i want to switch gears a little bit, to another conversation we had before. last year, i sent your department a letter requesting that you quote convene a senior- level working group to understand how the peoples republic of china tempts together u.s. technology on u.s. universities, and college campuses, and to develop recommendations for protecting the u.s. technology advantage". i think we both agree, that there is a mysterious serious threat on our college campuses today, posed by our adversaries, who steal our secrets, steal sensitive research on college campuses. have we seen any progress of the past year, since we exchanged letters on this subject? >> well, i know that there have been a number of meetings between agencies, that do touch on students in our country, and, we know that there is more concerted, or more, i guess, there is more attention, to
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specifics around that, and a part of a couple other agencies that have more direct energy >> i understand the time, that we exchanged letters back in june and july of last year, that you received a, you are your department received a briefing from the intelligence committee on these threats, is that correct? >> that's correct, if. >> can tell it quickly, can you estimate, how many of you, the senior leaders in your department have a security clearance to receive briefings of this nature? >> i think it is a handful? >> very few? >> very few, yes. >> could we do more to grant more security clearances to your senior team, to dive more deeply these >> happily check into that. >> and these issues. last week, indiana university, in my state, ended their relationship with the confucius institute, mit dropped grants from wiley technologies again, the same subject. i assume that you see that as progress? >> well, i know that that has been, that the confuses confucius institute and
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particular has been an issue raised as an area of concern, yes. >> so, due to the briefings that you have received, the information that you have seen on the subject, you agree that the confucius institutes, the wally grant technology campuses, but also do sensitive research poses a threat? >> i think that, that issue has been raised in both, our agencies, as well as other agencies, and there has been much more increased attention paid to these issues, and schools that are taking this threat more seriously. >> is the department of education and former educated college campuses about the threat. >> we have raised the question. the department of education purview, really extends to college campuses, reporting their relationship, in terms of gifts and contributions, and we have been much more -- i would say, assertive about insisting that they are accurate in doing so. >> last week, acting dictation and testified before the house
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committee, i asked him if he had ever engaged on the subject, he said no. it is my belief, that an intra- agency test scores between the department of education, the armed services committee, and others would be valuable, is not voluntary on your part, something that congress should require to happen, in some form. so, with that, you'll back. >> thank you, gentle lady from tobin, missed while. >> and mr. chairman. good afternoon secretary, i have good news. i think we can agree, on a point that was made in your opening statement, and i think i'm quoting it properly, that great education should not be dependent on family income. is that correct? quote? and i assume that also includes, it should not be dependent on zip code, there to say? and, can we agree that that should be one of the primary goals of the department of education? that, good education is not dependent on those factors? >> yes, that is certainly one
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of my goals. >> i have grave concerns, that the program that you talked about, the education freedom scholarships, does not bring us closer to that goal, and since it has been several hours, since you discussed that proposal, i will remind everyone, that this would be a federal tax credit, dollar for dollar tax credit, to encourage voluntary contributions of up to $5 billion each year, for scholarships to elementary and secondary students. , that is called the education freedom scholarships, but, i have to concur, and what my colleague represented said, that, that just create another whole in our federal budget, yours, written testimony that the proposal does not divert a single penny away from public school teachers, or public school students, is just, with all due respect, inaccurate, because of course it is, because it takes away tax dollars, that can be devoted to
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education. so, the other thing about the education freedom scholarships, that i have to note is, is that it is completely dependent on voluntary contributions. and, i do not understand how that will lift up poorer states, or students in low income districts. in response to one of my colleagues from sylvania, who made a statement earlier, he responded by saying, and i am from pennsylvania also, madam secretary, and sylvania has had great success in meeting students needs. well, i have to differ with you on that. the students in my district, are not all on a level playing field, indeed, we have a few districts that are terrific, great school district, but we also have distressed school districts, and those school districts are not likely to benefit in any way from education freedom scholarships, because, the people who live in their district, or in, even in
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the commonwealth of pennsylvania, are very unlikely to contribute money, because they simply do not have the wherewithal. i want to switch gears for a moment. want to talk about the every student succeeds act the ess a, and it is my understanding that, that it was to strike an important balance of updating k- 12 law, by putting state and district in charge of how to best support struggling schools. but, with the expectation of meaningful action, would be taken to closed persistent achievement gaps. and, i am sure you would agree with me, wouldn't you, madam secretary, that you are charged with implementing ess a, oversight, monitoring, and enforcement of the law's requirement, you would agree with me on that, >> yes. >> okay, i know that the department recently released 2018 performance reports for six states, and all six from that report are flagged to take immediate action, to address
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significant compliance and quality concerns related to ess a limitation. and i personally, was very troubled by the number and the breadth of the issues that were revealed in those performance reports, particularly the findings that the states are not implementing their approved the ssa plans, with fidelity. and, without strong federal oversight of the account ability measures in ess a, there is little incentive for states to improve educational outcomes, that leads to lefty so, i am concerned, that your reorganization of the department, may have diminished for the department capacity to conduct adequate monitoring for noncompliant. and i would ask if you could comment on it. >> well congresswoman, let me just say that we are committed to ensuring that states implement their ess a plans per the law, and that they are continuing to raise the bar for themselves, and the students,
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and i have confidence, that stated state leaders, and state leader wants to the best for their students, and we are wanting to be partners with them, and ensure that they are completing, or following through on their plans, as, as designated. and, then let me just comment on moment on a >> welcome i'm going to be running out of time, and i just, i want to get back at caesar >> at his absolute of these >> get back to my question please. so, regarding ess a, is it your testimony, that there has been no reduction in capacity for department staff that is charged with oversight monitoring? of the states? >> no, the elementary and secondary education staff is very focused on ensuring that ess eight monitoring and complaint the >> that does not answer my question, because my question was not whether they were focused, my question was whether there capacity, because reduction of department staff, has been affected. >> no, the capacity is not
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impacted. >> do you have the same number of department staff, who are still charged with complaints?>> we have had some department white -- >> the replace the people that leave? >> the ones that need to be replaced, the positions that need to be replaced, are being replaced, or have been replaced, yes. >> let me move on, each state was given 30 days to provide fresh evidence to the department to resolve those issues, and three states were required to submit amendments to their approved plans, as that happened, have you received that evidence? >> i do not have the specific data on that, i would be happy to get back with you, if you like to submit allergies >> are there deadlines for the states to submit the evidence? >> i'm sure there are, and again, if you have specific questions in that area, i would be happy -- >> we will follow-up with us, thank you, thank you mr. chairman.>> thank you, chairman, and from idaho, mr. folger. >> thank you mr. chairman, and madam secretary, i represent the state of idaho, and, the
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culture there, is a little bit different, then other parts of the country, it has a tendency to be more independent, self- sufficient, so you probably will not hear is make as much noise seeking federal help a lot of the time. but, we do have some unique situations there. we've got about two thirds of our landmass, which is federally owned, which takes those resources out, takes property tax off the table, it, we're still of the same constitutional responsibility for schools. and so, i wanted to just get you, or ask you to speak there, perhaps some of the provisions, and or flexibility for using the funds that we do receive, for, to address some of the unique characteristics of our estate. broadband, and rural parts of the state for example, or enhanced transportation, to try to make that more accessible
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for our student base. that type of thing, can you speak to that just, with what is in the budget, or possible flexibility in those areas? >> sure. the everything succeeds act, has a provision, that actually, no local districts have actually applied for, yet, that would be, that would be allow them to take up to 5% of their title i funding, and use it around a student centered pilot, and that is something that could, interject a lot more creativity, and to how student needs were met. i would love to see, a local districts, actually take advantage of this flexibility that was built into the law, and then, i would say, a companion to that, is the education freedom scholarship proposal, that, if idaho were to become a part of that, would give a lot of flexibility around providing transportation for students to get perhaps,
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from a small rural school, to a career and technical education center, or, to enhance a career and technical education center experience, an opportunity for students from a large region. really, would give a great latitude to idaho, to be able to craft a program, or programs, that would be unique to the needs of idaho. >> thank you for that, just a follow-up if i may, along with those, or maybe, maybe unique needs, in particular, in the rural areas, there is a significant percentage of faith- based education, facilities, and also, homeschool. same question. to these provisions apply in those situations? >> welcome and education freedom scholarship proposal and acted, and, opted into by idaho, would allow idaho to
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address those particular communities, and allow for students to choose those, or to be supported by those, if that is what idaho decided to use the funds for. >> thank you madam secretary, i yield the balance of my time to representative fox. >> thank you very much. madam secretary, i would like to pursue the issue of ess a little bit. you have assured us that the department is carrying out its responsibilities appropriately, state plans have been approved, states are identifying the first batch of low performing schools, for improvement, and issuing and national report cards on the student and school performance. could you update the committee on the support you are offering states and school districts as implementation of the law continues, and expand on anything you are not allowed to say by my colleagues about this? >> well, thanks congresswoman. we have begun to receive waiver
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requests, and in addition to the regular monitoring, and regular updating, as the plans and implementation, we are considering these waiver request, we have received 72 thus far, 50 of them have been approved, most of them, related to the 1% alternative assessment cap, based on regulations that were finalized under the previous administration. and so, we are continuing to work with states, and they have amendment to, or waiver requests for their plans, and then, with regard to the previous exchange here, i just want to again, reiterate the fact that, contributions to education freedom scholarships are from individuals funds, not , they are not taxpayer funds. there, voluntary contributions, to be made by individuals, or corporations, and, i do not
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agree, with the congresswoman from pennsylvania, ocean, that there would be no participants in pennsylvania, that would want to contribute. i know very much to the country, because, they have a couple of text could programs in the state today, that, that many from within a pennsylvania contribute to, and anyone could contribute to any state in the country, any 501(c)(3), across the country. so, those are just fallacies. >> thank you. >> from georgia, mr. pick >> thank you mr. chairman, and thank you secretary devos for being here today. madam secretary, on march 13, i self, and 73 of my house colleagues, sent you a letter regarding your actions receiving the call closure of 24 colleges in the chain, this issue is very personal to me, is one of those now closed
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campuses, is my districts, is in my district, leaving constituents of georgia, six district, wanting answers. federal court appointed a receiver to wind down operations at augustine. after reviewing the financial of the management corporation, failed to dream center, the court appointed receiver stated in federal court findings, that within 60 days of the sale, executives at dream center knew that the institutions were, and i quote failing without the hope of redemption. ". chairman, i ask for unanimous consent, to enter these court filings into the record. >> interjection? >> thank you. secretary devos, my question for you, is one that the did the department receive this information? >> well, congresswoman, again, let me just say that any school closure is unfortunate, and our
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focus has always been on helping students in those situations. we have been working with -- >> secretary devos, you are not answering my question, please answer the question when did the department obtain this information? >> about this, the financial distress of the school? >> the question that i asked, is, you, what i'm asking, is that, went to the department obtain the information about the closure of these schools? >> well, we obtained the information when the schools communicated their financial distress, and when we, and we engaged immediately, to ensure that students were helped in finding alternative programs to transfer to. our focus again, was on entering that student had opportunities, other than the schools, that they were -- >> secretary devos, we know that you did not sufficiently look into the financials of this institution at the time of transfer. have you investigated the financials of this institution more recently? and also, do you think that you are better equipped to determine the state of the financial institution of
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a school, that a court appointed official responsible for cleaning up your mess, >> the dreams of the transaction, was not approved by the department. it was still being studied, and examined, and so, there was no finality, to a transfer, and that, the transfer, the transaction was not formally approved by the department. so, again -- >> secretary devos, the core function of the department, and college oversight, is ensuring the financial responsibility and administrative capacity of these institutions. further, it was over 1 billion taxpayer dollars, going to those schools annually, as of the conversion. you are sending these schools billions of dollars, if the buck does not stop with you, where does it stop? >> congresswoman, we are very attentive to the needs of every student, and every school that is serving them. and, the fact is, that we have
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continued to work >> okay, secretary devos, you are not answering my question. >> let me just say the previous administration went to war for these -- >> secretary devos, you're not answering the question, my students on my district, and people on this committee deserve to have reasonable interest to risible questions, so i'm going to go on in and ask my question. my second question to you, is, if student had known that these schools are failing without hope for redemption, do you think they would have enrolled? >> students have chosen this school based on the programs offered, and again, it is unfortunate when schools closed. we have been working with students from every school to help them find an alternative to complete their programs. if they are not able to do so, or they choose not to do so, you know that they will go into the closed school, loan forgiveness, and that is the process. we are, we do not, we are intent
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on helping students, and helping schools in their situation, in a situation, where they are having a lengthy >> secretary devos, excuse me, you are going to have to deal with the fact that the individual appointed by a federal judge made that decision, correct? >> made the decision, i'm sorry, the decision of what, >> made the decision, for closing the schools, with no hope for redemption. >> i'm sorry, i'm not sure i am following your question. >> okay. >> the receiver, >> yes, the receiver. >> well, the receiver stepped into the situation, and we have been working with the schools, and the receiver appropriately, to continue to try to help students find an alternative program to transfer to. >> okay, madam secretary, i just have to say that these are insufficient answers to reasonable questions. the 1500 students in my district , they need answers, and it is
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your role to discharge these loans, it is your role to protect those students, these students are counting on you. the department is under your leadership, led to this crisis, and i urge you to assume responsibility, and take the actions necessary, to make these students hold. i yield back my time. >> thank you, gentle lady from illinois, ms. underwood. >> secretary devos, hi, i want to focus on students with cognitive disabilities, legal students with disabilities, they have the right to the same opportunities as their peers, without disabilities. i like their peers though, students with significant cognitive disabilities may need what is called an alternative assessment, so they can access an education that allows them to fulfill their incredible potential. research shows though, that some kids educational opportunities were being limited by the overuse of alternative assessments for students who did not actually need them. so, esa say, made an important fix by capping the number of students tested, with the alternative assessments.
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now, knowing that states would need time to adjust to this new cap, congress allowed for a waiver for this provision, and that was in 2015. i am deeply concerned, that now, and 2019, under your leadership, the department -- states application, for these waivers, and failing to be transparent. the 2017 to 2018 school year, 23 states received waivers for at least two subject areas. now, under waiver applications, states must include a plan, and a timeline for improvement so they can meet the cap requirement in the future. secretary devos, i only have five minutes, four minutes now, so i am just looking for a number, if you would, how many of those waiver applications have you made public ,>> again, we have received 70 waivers, we have granted 52 of them. >> right, how many have you made public? >> and based on the regulations from the obama administration -- >> how many have you made public
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? >> when the waiver requests are decided upon, they go up onto the website. they are all available, when they have been decided.>> so, the actual lever, the actual lever -- >> we do not put the waiver request on the website, prior to deciding whether it is going to be approved or denied. >> okay, so the actual lever has not been made public. however, this transparency is critical, that is why the information is required. the parents cannot be sure that their kids are getting the right assessments, they cannot be sure that the kids are getting a good education, that allows them to fulfill their full amazing potential. will you commit to making these waiver applications public? the apple actual applications, >> no, we are not going to use the website as a filing cabinet, we are going to put the waiver requests, once they have been decided, whether they are approved or denied, as we have, we will continue to do so --
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>> right, i understand your willingness to release the outcome, we are looking for the application. >> we are not going to do that. >> okay, your staff has already committed to these in conversations with our committee, and our committee staff, why won't you commit to it here today?>> well, i will be happy to circle back with the staff, but we are, we have not, as a matter of course, but the applications on the website, but, only the decisions, once they have been made. >> well, i am just asking for simple transparency on something that is really, at its core, civil rights issue, that your agency is bound by law to implement, so i'm really disappointed to hear that outcome, and we will be following up on it. my next question, is about the waivers that the states must demonstrate substantial progress towards achieving each component, of the prior year's plan, and timeline for improvement. as if every 27, when you most recently provided this information to the committee, in writing, you had approved six states for waiver extensions for the school year, 2018 to 2019. did the states demonstrate substantial progress towards
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improvement required by law? >> again, we have, in total, received 70 waiver request, 17 of them have been denied, 52 of them have been approved, most of them have been around for one person, alternative assessment cap >> well, what we are looking for man, is transparent to, and that these things be made public. there is no way for us to know, if you are not willing to release that information publicly. the outcome on its own, is not enough. how would stakeholders know progress has been made given that these plans are not public, >> but, they are made public, all of the waiver request i made public once the decision has been made. it is all public.>> i am looking for the exact number of waivers that you have approved this year for states that received waivers last year. >> if you would like to submit a question for the record, i will be happy to follow up with the specific information that you have required, but, i have tried to be accurate, and the
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number of waiver requests we have received, what we have decided upon, and the fact that all of those requests have been put up on the website, once the decision has been made. >> okay, we will be following up, but it seems to me, if you're going to come in ask this committee for a certain amount of dollars for the upcoming year, that this is a very readable question to be asked in the setting man, and so, the punting towards the question for the record, i think, speaks to the transparency issue we have been getting up this morning. withholding this information does prevent families and educators, and ip teams, and -- from being able to make informed decisions about the education of students with disabilities. it violates students civil rights, it violates morality, and it violates both the spirit, and the letter of federal law. and students with his abilities deserve better, thank you for holding this hearing mr. chairman, and secretary devos, i will be following up, thank you. >> thank you, the gentle lady from washington, miss schreiter.
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>> thank you mr. chairman, and madam secretary, thank you for joining us today. your recent appearances have generated considerable media attention regarding the administration's proposal now for the third year in a row, to eliminate all federal funding for the special olympics, and i just want to say the pediatrician, i can tell you first hand, that my patient with down syndrome, and with disabilities consider the special olympics to be the absolute highlight of their lives, and, just, it takes a special kind of heartlessness to cut funding for the special olympics, and that is quite, despite wanting to cut that, congress has consistently funded the special olympics for the past three years, and we know that funding, but i think the whole discussion really kind of pulled the curtain back, on some other cuts, that really put families and children with special needs at
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risk. and, these are really significant once, so the first, is that, you have proposed flat funding of individuals with disabilities education act ida, which, in light of increasing need, it is really more like a cut, and spending for spending for infants and toddlers with disability, and this is a time, again, as a pediatrician, i talk with my colleagues this morning, with a remarkable, and devastating increase in the number of navies who are born, addicted, or exposed to drugs in utero, and those are exactly, the children who will rely on the special programs, and as a pediatrician, i send kids all the time, to the programs, and, they do require that. you have also proposed flat funding of the ida part b, and, fully funded, like it was supposed to be, the federal government would cover 40% of the cost to educate, k-12 student with disabilities. well, right now,
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embarrassingly, we are only finding 14, 14.7%, and you are flat funding, with even cut that further, to 13%, for the fiscal year 20. and so, i believe, we are headed in the wrong direction, for the youngest children, and for the k-12 children, and if you put this together, with the attacks on medicaid, and on healthcare, because, this matters for kids with disabilities, you say, that individuals with disabilities are priorities for this administration, but your actions suggest otherwise, and i was just wondering, given all this, how can you justify the claim that individuals with disabilities are a priority for this administration? >> congresswoman, thanks for that question. we both share a love of, and desire to help all students, including, and especially those with disabilities. the reality is, that we had to present a budget that fell within congress's caps. we had to cut the budget by 10%
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to meet that. that required making decisions that were difficult, and we proposed the budget, but congress disposes, and so, you will decide what you're going to find, and what you are not going to fund. we wanted to prioritize those programs that were going to most directly help those with the most needs, and the most vulnerable. level funding for title i, level funding for id ea, and level funding for student, english language learners. >> as i mentioned a lefty >> $13.2 billion for id ea, and, i have been before this committee before, talking about the fact that congress, when id ea was passed, committed to funding id ea at a much higher percentage of the >> i hear you, but let me just say, the flat funding, is really falling short for the families that i take care of, and the seas >> again, we had to follow within a congressional
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parameters, on the budget. so, you know, this is something for congress to address, and potentially change. >> i'm going to reclaim sometime here, because there was another question i really wanted to get to, which is that i am in a district that is very geographically diverse, i have a lot of rural territory, and this concerns, this concerns rural schools, and this recently marked up hr 855, the rebuild america schools act, and this supports public school repairs, and modernization, things like protecting from lead in the water, and black mold, and temperature extremes, and i am sure, that you know, that your own department has estimated it would cost nearly hundred 50 billion per year to bring schools into just good conditions. and, these rural schools, you know, almost always have the greatest need, and yet the fewest resources. and so, even this morning, you said, this administration let's hear -- contrast between
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hundred billion dollars for buildings, versus $5 billion for students, and this administration urges the body to invest in students, i would just remind you that investing in schools or students is investing in students, and that wanted to put this money, this is really another voucher scheme , where you are wanting to take public dollars from public schools, especially in rural areas, and give them to private schools which do not even exist in those areas. and so, i am out of time, but i just wanted to say, this is really a disservice to the rural schools in my district. >> well, the education freedom scholarships, what actually have the potential to help the many rural students through course choice, through transportation of seas >> it just a lefty >> career and education centers, it would provide a lot of opportunity lefty >> they do not exist, and a lot of these areas. >> but it would be to help create some new opportunities for them. >> young lady from florida. >> thank you madam secretary, i admire your persistence. i have sat there for hours, in my previous life, thank you for
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coming. i would like to begin my questions, on a topic of great importance to me, and my community, and that is the equity, and idea rule, known as significant disproportionality. the id ea as you know, requires states to identify school district that have significant dis-personality for students of color with his abilities, and their identification placement and discipline. the states have been very uneven, in administering this, so, in 2016, the previous administration issued a final regulation, to set a long overdue compliance standard for this important statutory requirement. the regulation actually came out of a large and growing body of research, which i have read pretty carefully, that demonstrated the students of color were being over identified for special educational services, placed in more restrictive learning environment, and punished with
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harsher disciplines than their white peers. last year, you chose to delay this rule, despite many of the states, that were working towards implementation, and you chose to delay it for two years. shortly after that delay, you were sued by the council of attorneys and advocates, and on march 7, a month ago, the u.s. district court, for the district of columbia, ruled in favor of the parents, and students, and ordered you to begin implementing this regulation, immediately.
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court order and moving in the direction of implementation. >> okay, moving in the direction of a implementation, you had a month to review the order. the order is not very located it is only 43 pages. i read it in 20 minutes, i could have written the guidance legislation, the guidance letter for you in a very short period of time. is there any reason why you cannot do this, send out the guidance, and put the implementation plan into place in the next month? >> let me just say that we feel students need to be treated as individuals, and not as statistics or groups. we are going to continue to look at the way to -- look at
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the court's decision, and ensure that we are living in the direction of supporting students. >> i understand your point about individual, but this is standard methodology to treat every student fairly. that is exactly what the rule was set up to do, it is a pretty strong rule. it is to make sure, that as you said, that great education should not depend on where a student happens to live. to treat students of color, students with disabilities fairly. that is what the rule was set out to do. it went through a rulemaking process, every stakeholder had a chance to talk about it. so, why can't you implemented, start the implementation process immediately? why can't you send out a guidance letter right now? >> as you know, working in a large agency, some of these things take more than a couple of days. so again, we are continuing to move in the direction of implementation, and we are concerned with every single student, and that they not be
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over identified or under identified. >> you are suggesting to me you are not willing to follow the will law. the court said immediately. so, tell me your timeframe for implementing this court order? >> we are in process of implement >> okay, what is your timeframe? >> i would be happy to give you a more specific time frame if you would like. >> can you get it to me in the next week? >> i think i can. >> okay, it is got to be reasonable. children are suffering, as you know equity delayed is equity denied. if this continues, children are suffering every day. it is very important that we have a very specific timeline for the implementation of this rule. i yield back my time. >> thank you. gentleman from michigan, mr. levin? >> thank you mr. chairman. secretary divorce, thank you for being here today. i am concerned about your failure to decide and grant
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borrower defense obligations, what mr. mcconnell was talking about earlier, which is supposed to allow students who believe they were defrauded by their college, defrauded by the college to apply for loan forgiveness. as of december 31, 2018, there were 158,000, 110 borrower defense claims pending. and the total number of approved claims have not changed in more than a year, zero approved or denied. i am very concerned by this administration salyer, that the administration is feeling to protect our students in denying justice to those who have been defrauded. secretary divorce, i trust you are aware of the court order in manrique's versus divorce on this matter. >> i am. >> i'll quote from the federal student aid webpage to describe the manriquez versus devoss decision.
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quote, it prevents the department from collecting on federal student loans from current corinthian borrowers. so, are you aware that fsa is violating that court order? >> congressman, we have continued. >> are you aware they are violating the court order? it is a yes or no question. >> it is not a yes or no answer. we have completed 16,519 eligible borrowers. >> you are reading from the same thing you said. i am going to reclaim my time not as a secretary mr. chairman, i would seek unanimous consent engines for the record evidence from nadine stewart. nadine was a student at evers, a corinthian subsidiary, and she is protected by the court order from having her loans put in repayment. when she contacted the borrower
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defense hotline, she was incorrectly informed that she had actively request forbearance. they eventually put her in, but only after incorrectly insisting that had she not called in, her loans would not have been able to be put in forbearance. madam secretary, do you know how many other borrowers fsa has illegally ordered corrections on? in addition to her? >> congressman, we need to work very diligently on the whole borrower defense claims issue. as i said we are almost 48,000 that have been approved. >> i have heard you read your statement before to mr. takano. >> do you want to have the numbers or do you not? >> to you now have another or not? >> i have -- >> i asked you a question i am not asking to see any number that you feel like saying. do you know how many other students, like nadine stewart, were incorrectly collected on by the ssa?
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yes or no? you have a number, you said you had a number. >> incorrectly collected on? that is not a category that i would -- >> i wish you would keep track of that category madam secretary, that would be super for the students of this country. reclaiming my time. on march 15, 2019 the department issued guidance on the 2016 borrower defense regulation. my concern is that the guidance does not state that the department will enforce the rule against institutions that seek to enforce predispute arbitration agreements against students with borrower defense claims. we are talking about predispute arbitration agreements. under the terms of the 2016 regulation, any institution that relies on a predispute arbitration agreement, or class action waiver has violated the terms of its program participation agreement. with the department, and should immediately lose eligibility. no predispute you know,
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agreements are allowed. at least one school represented by a law firm that is a repeat player with the department of education has forced students into arbitration since the 2016 rule has gone into effect. do you commit to revoking the eligibility of schools that rely on predispute arbitration agreements, which are not allowed under the regulations? >> congressman, we are continuing to address the applications made, both by students that have been part of closed schools, and by those words -- >> let me ask you, did corinthian colleges arbitration against students? >> corinthian college students -- >> did itt use arbitration again students? >> we have continued to address their arbitrations. >> let me ask you, did edm see and dream center like brands like rbc use arbitration use --
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again students, did you see virginia college, but they all did, and i am greatly concerned madam secretary that these are just some examples of how the department under your leadership has been less concerned with protecting students than with given cover to profit driven actors. >> congressman we are -- >> our time is expired >> we are concerned -- >> you are not showing by your outings actions bottom secretary. mr. chairman, my time is expired. >> marilyn, mr. trump, next month is a the 65th anniversary of brown versus board of education. the landmark ruling that established school segregation is unconstitutional. the fact of the matter is this is an issue we have been stopped discussing. but it is a problem we have not stopped having. in 2016, gao found that public schools have actually become more segregated by race and class any time since 1960.
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unfortunately, we are seeing this in my district, montgomery county high schools are stratified by income race, ethnicity, and there is an achievement gap between high and low poverty schools has widened. madam secretary, do you believe that race was segregation in public schools poses a threat to the educational opportunity for children of color? just looking for a yes or a no. >> congressman, i am concerned about every student, no matter where they are, and where they go to school. >> i know you are concerned about every student, but racial segregation poses a threat for children, that is an easy one. give me a guess on that one. >> congressman, i am concerned with everything austin appeared >> madam secretary, we know that racial isolated schools tend to have fewer resources. yet, last some of the administration rescinded voluntary federal guidance on student diversity, voluntary guidance, put in place by the obama administration, part of that nonbinding guidance helps
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school districts understand how to develop and implement voluntary integration efforts. you are familiar with the quaid's k-12 diversity guidance document, ma'am? >> congressman, we continue to be most concerned about all students. soon as you remember that document? >> i am not familiar with that particular document. >> okay, precision of that guidance has caused confusion and fear about the intent of the trumpet ministration. i would like to give you an opportunity to clarify. i want to be clear that no matter what your action is, federal law and the supreme court precedent still stands. on the use of race in school assignment. with this understanding, are you familiar with the case of parents involved versus seattle school district one? typically, justice kennedy's concurrence? >> i am not familiar with that particular case. >> justice kennedy wrote a compelling interest exists in avoiding racial isolation, and
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interest in a school district in its discretion and expertise may choose to pursue than it will understate to the court's decision and parents involved should not prevent school districts from continuing the important work of bringing together students of different racial ethnic and economic backgrounds. do you agree with justice kennedy's comments? yes or no? >> i agree it is valuable for every student to be in a school setting that has great diversity. i think it is valuable for every student, and it's -- >> excellent. so you support the autonomy of k-12 school districts to use constitutionally permitted race conscious methods to achieve racial and economic integration . we need to be unequivocally clear on this for our local leaders. a yes or no. >> congressman, the supreme court has upon him as the given
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parameters on where race can be considered. >> so you support the autonomy of college universities use constitutionally permitted race conscious methods to achieve racial and economic integration in your agency will agree not to intervene, to stop these efforts? >> congressman, again, the goal should be to have diversity of every sort, and the supreme court has given a very clear guidance and direction around this, and that we will defer to and obey but the courts have decided >> i'll take that as close to a yes. one last thing secretary, we want local leaders to have the ability to improve diversity efforts in their schools, if they choose. would you commit to working with congress to strike section 426 so that local leaders have the flexibility to use racial and social economic diversity efforts in the means for school improvement under esa?
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>> our goal is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to get a great education. too many kids are going to schools to which they are assigned, to have no choice to go anywhere else. students, all students, need to have both kinds of opportunities. that is wealthy once, not just ones who can move -- >> i don't here now, so i think we will work together with you on that, we are in complete agreement. in closing, i would like to leave the words of justice kennedy's concurrence. it is an american tradition to continue -- and injustices in our system, even if we made progress already. is the quality that important? it is especially true when we seek assurance that opportunity is not denied on account of race. in enduring hope that race should not matter, the reality is, it too often does. thank you ma'am, yield back my time. >> thank you, calling from virginia, mr. klein?
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>> thank you mr. chairman, thank you madam secretary for being here today. secretary devoss, as policymakers, we hold the responsibility of consistently thinking about what we do now impacts the future, and one of the best ways this plays out is through the cost of higher education. as you mentioned, the federal student aid loan portfolio is the largest consumer loan portfolio in america, at almost $1.5 trillion. i am particularly concerned about the 43% that you mentioned are at risk. unlimited lending, and granting of money does not provide a true benefit if it is not coupled with accountability and responsibility. and, that is by all parties, including students and institutions, lenders and in fact the federal government as well. market competition needs to open up more options that are straightforward for students, and innovation should be encouraged, so that higher
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institutions can create options as well, that actually look for students and allow them to graduate without insurmountable debt. i worked very hard in the state legislative agenda to create an online bachelor's degree that lowers the cost for virginia students. recognizing that these goals is just the first part of the challenge that we face. secretary divorce, i would ask you, what are we currently doing to ensure that students institutions and the private sector in addition to the federal government are all partners in making higher education accessible and more affordable? >> congressman, we share the goal of accessibility and affordability for students, and also the concern about the continued rise in cost. i would just say to an example of very, i think an example that others should look at, and emily, where and purdue university, for the eighth straight year, tuition has been held steady, and where income share agreements have been
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introduced as an option for students to participate in. i think those are creative approaches that other institutions should look at closely, and there should be some robust discussion in this chamber and elsewhere about how to change of the equation, so that students, first of all, students are not running up student loan debt to a point where they cannot afford to pay it off again, and were institutions have come some kind of invested interest in seeing their students succeed and complete. >> someone who is still repaying his law loans, i agree with you completely. i made sure that when i was looking at how much it was going to cost, whether i could afford to pay it back with the degree that i was pursuing, because a lot of times if you are pursuing a degree that is going to give you opportunities for jobs in a certain sector of the economy, that is not going to enable you to pay those loans back in a reasonable amount of time. you need to reconsider whether
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that is the appropriate school for you. course of study for you, and plan for you. so, everybody needs to take a little bit more accountability and responsibility, including the institutions which i believe should, there should be a tieback to how much the institution is charging, as it relates to how much the students can borrow. so, i want to make that point as well, i appreciate your comments. mr. chairman, at this point, i would yield my remaining time to the ranking member, dr. fox. >> okay, congressman, could i just -- one,. >> i am got to have a deal to me as ranking member right now, and i would follow up and ask the secretary if there are some additional comments you would like to add. >> thank you congressman. i was just going to add that we will be adding this fall
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additional information to the college scorecard that we will get out exactly what we have talked about, providing students program level data by institutions, so that they can compare between institutions, programs, specific to institutions, and see what the cost is, what they're likely earning potential is, and at a program level, this will be much more meaningful than what is currently shared, which is the average cost, yes, the average learning, and the average cost per institution. so, this will help students be better prepared, and make hopefully make better decisions. >> if i can continue, thank you for yielding. going back to the questions coming from the representative from pennsylvania about the inability in certain parts of her district, schools of individuals, having capability of paying for this education. could you address that a little
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more clearly, the fact that they are not paying for it, it is a tax credit that they will have the opportunity for. >> right, indeed with the tax credit scholarship program, pennsylvania will have the opportunity to participate and then formulate programs to either enhance trees programs they have there, or create new ones, or both. and, the district that she was particularly referring to would be able to participate, presumably, there would be opportunities to expand the options for students in that district, to meet the needs specific to that district. >> thank you. >> and, from nevada, ms. lee? >> hi, thank you chairman, thank you circuit terry devoss for being hit is very long day. i wanted to talk to you about students who fall victim to predatory schools, and the mechanisms we have in place to
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help protect them, but also protect abuse of taxpayer dollars. in nevada, where i am from, 30 institutions have unfolded in the last they get alone, leaving thousands of students without a degree, broken futures, and thousands of dollars in student debt. these institutions, sadly play pray on some of our most vulnerable students, students i serve to our low income, students of color, and often veterans. and, there students like 22- year-old mother who wants to write what to get a nursing degree she received a pell grant, took out a federal student loan, took out a personal loan a private loan, not to mention, the hours of childcare that she paid for. as we know, bright wood closed in december of 2018, leaving chelsea 11 weeks away from the coming inners, and $30,000 into debt. i just want to ask you again, a quick yes now, do you believe assuming that chelsea has no viable option to complete her degree, do you believe that students like her deserve a
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legal avenue to have their loans discharged in these cases? >> congresswoman, yes, it sounds like if she does not find an alternative, she would fall into the closed school discharge category, and her loans would be relieved. let me just say, though, it is really regrettable, the number of institutions that have been closing. i would say it is due in large part to the policies of the previous administration, really going after these entities, and these institutions. and, we are seeing closures, not only by those -- >> this is actually an institution that was closed by ic, believe it or not. but, students who have been defrauded, as you say, you have a legal right through the borrower defense of repayment role. right now, you are under a court order to implement this regulation, which not only helps get the students the timely discharge of their loans, but also requires the
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department to collect information on these institutions that is a predictor of their financial distress. you are then required to use to determine, identify these risky schools, and require them to get a letter of credit that protects taxpayers from the risky behavior. my question to you again as a yes no. are you currently collecting this information that allows you to determine if the schools are at risk of going under? >> we are implementing the 2016 rule per the judge's order. at the same time, we are also working on amending that rule, so that it is better reflective of the policies that we believe are more balance between student and taxpayer concerns, because we do not agree -- >> excuse me, it is a court order. you cannot amend a court order. it's a court order it is very clearly october 2018, very clearly said you must immediately began collecting
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this information. so, just a guess now, i assume you are. >> yes we are, i just wanted to say we are continuing to work on revising the rule in general. >> okay, since you are collecting this information, which is great news, it means you must have sent a letter of guidance to institutions requesting certain information. my request of you, is have you sent this letter. if so, can we receive a copy of it, plus a list of the institutions that you have requested this information from? >> if you would submit a specific question for the record around what specific information you want, we will be happy -- >> i am cemented right now. the request for the record is i would like you to give us the later that you send to institutions across the country, requesting this information. i do not know what information you requested, if we could have that letter and the
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institutions you sent it to, within the next two weeks, that would be fabulous >> i be happy to provide that. >> thank you. that is all i really have. you know, i want to thank you for being here. i mean clearly, you know that a lot is at stake, this borrower dispense, you know not only was it here to protect students, but it also allows us to protect taxpayer dollars. so, based on your response today, i am glad you're implementing that, and collecting that information, we look forward to it. i don't have any time to yield, thank you. >> the lady from north carolina, dr. fox. gentleman from texas, mr. castro? >> thank you chairman. secretary devoss, thank you
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for your testimony. over the last few years, we have had very heated debates and important debates about things like teacher pay. many of us believe we deserve a raise, credentialing in the 1980s and 90s, and whether students are college ready, or subsequently prepared to go on to college. a lot of that debate is centered on testing in states. but, there are important things that happen inside the school, and out of the classroom, in many states like mine, texas, the racial to counsel students is a 400 to one or more. my question is, what is your department doing to make sure that not only are we preparing students to go to college, but actually building an infrastructure to help guide them there? >> congressman, the federal department has a limited role in that regard. states and communities have a much greater role as we continue to see that
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in spite of the fact that the federal government has been involved with investing billions of dollars over the last 50 years, we have seen no real difference or improvement in outcomes for the students that we reported to help the most. so, we will continue to work with, and encourage and support states in their roles of supporting students. >> i guess i'm asking you, what is the department doing now? a very specific question, what are you doing now to help students get to college. >> to help guide students to college? >> to college or the careers, sure. >> we are continuing to support the programs as authorized by congress. >> which programs are you speaking about? >> that will help students, the preparation programs that you have committed title i funding dollars for, ida dollars, english language learners, in addition to a host of other programs, the budget for the department is this year, $64 billion proposed.
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so, there is a lot of investment in education. and yet, we still have not seen the kinds of changes for students, or the kinds of outcomes that one would expect after 50 years of trying to engineer these things from the federal level. our ministration continues -- >> let me reclaim my time for a second. it sounds as though you have given up on the idea that the federal government can be helpful. is that the case? >> not at all. that is why we proposed a pivot to something different through the education freedom scholarship proposal, to allow states, and local communities to craft programs that are going to give students that need the most help, the access
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to choices that they need to make >> i understand that. that is a matter of money, that is making sure that financial aid is available to somebody. i am asking you a slightly different -- >> it is a matter of providing different opportunities and choices. >> it is sure financial resources are available to someone. i am asking you a different question, which is the infrastructure of having counselors, college advisors, or people who are helping guide students, many of these folks have parents who never went to college these processes like applied for financial aid and admissions are not always intuitive processes. so, what is your department doing to build that infrastructure or improve upon it, or are you a leaving it all to the states? >> we believe that states and communities have the biggest role to play. they are the ones closest to families, they are the one closest to students. we in fact believe that empowering students to find the right fit for them, for their education, is highly important. those who are wealthy and powerful have those chances and opportunities today. we believe all students should have those opportunities. >> thank you for your response. i would just hope that you all would really think about what your department can do to be helpful to students who may --
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or could the first time college students and their families, and are struggling to figure out the whole process of applying for admissions and financial aid. thank you secretary. yields time to the chair. >> of course. >> thank you. madam secretary, you had a previous question about school infrastructure that were hundreds and billions of dollars in need, no heat, no air conditioning. is that a problem, and if so, what is your plan? >> well, chairman, as i said in my opening statement, we believe that after billions and billions of dollars invested at the federal level, trying to engineer improvement in student outcomes and achievement, that we need to pivot and try something different, and empower students at the most
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local level, and to make different choices. >> i understand you to say that you do not have a plan for infrastructure? >> we know that there are schools today that have been empty for years. we know that there are schools that are underutilized, it is not about buildings, it is about helping support students to find their -- >> and in those areas where there are crumbling schools, do you see that as a problem? >> those are state and local issues to really deal with. we know that the states and communities really are investing in over 90% of the funding to education. that is really their issue. >> thank you for your response, you have no plans for a crumbling infrastructure. general lady from north carolina, ms. fox? >> thank you mr. chairman. madam secretary, i would like to ask you about the public service loan forgiveness program. is it true that congress set
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the terms and conditions borrowers must meet to receive ps lf? >> yes, that is the case. >> is it true that the previous administration had eight years to issue clarifying guidance to students and contractors, about ps lf? >> correct. >> furthermore, is it true that the previous it ministration had eight years in which to spread the word about the requirements of ps lf? >> that is correct >> during your tenure at the department, congress has made available hundreds of millions of dollars to temporarily expand ps lf to those borrowers in the wrong repayment plan. can you confirm you did not set those terms and conditions, but that congress determined those qualifications? >> that would be correct. >> now that we have clarified exactly is and was responsible
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for the ps lf program, i would like to hear from you about the work your department has done to make borrowers aware of the program, and help them navigate the application process. could you update us on this work? >> we are continuing to look at and deal with applications for public service loan forgiveness, as you have identified, congress set up a difficult program, difficult to qualify for. and to date, we have had 49,000, nearly 50,000 applications, 32,000 of which do not need the program requirements, and almost 12,000 of them had missing information. so, we are communicating with them, letting them know that information is missing. but, as you have identified, congress set up a program that is hard to qualify for. we are continuing to address every application, and for
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those who do qualify, we are proceeding with their loan forgiveness. and, as you well know, our budget proposes actually phasing out public service loan forgiveness, because we do not think that one type of a job, one type of role should be incentivized over another. congresswoman, you have used the example yourself as a nurse that goes to work in a not-for- profit hospital, has the chance of qualifying if they jump through the right hoops for the public service loan forgiveness. well, a nurse that goes to work in a hospital that happened city organizes for-profit doing the same kind of work of public service does not qualify. so, we continue to believe that we should be equally incentivizing all students to pursue the direction that's right for them and not favoring one kind of a role or job over
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and another. >> well, i think our colleagues have played lots of places that we would like to spend the money. anything the ps lf program, which is projected to cost $24 billion over the next 10 years, i think we probably could have found better places to have used that money. madam secretary, let's talk a little bit about ned gragg, and see if we can get that straightened out a little bit. you have done a fantastic job today of trying to educate our members on the facts of things. and i appreciate what you have done on that, let's talk a little bit about neck red and see if we can do a little more educating. is it accurate that the trenton progress was established by congress? >> that is correct. >> correct, okay. so the panel included, isn't it true, that the panel included both the student representative, state
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representative, and a consumer advocate each with their own votes? >> correct. >> okay, it is my understanding also that a state attorney general did get a chance to weigh in through participation in a subcommittee, is that correct? >> that would be correct. >> great. so, the whole purpose of neg reg is to ensure the voices of the stakeholders are at the table, is that correct? >> yes. >> that is how congress wrote it into law. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> so, mr. chairman, the secretary was skewered on this issue a little bit ago on neg reg. i want to make it clear, if anybody wants to skewer anybody on the process, it ought to be us, because we set it up, and that the secretary and with that, i will yield back. >> thank you.
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the lady from massachusetts duffy >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you madam secretary for being here. funding accessible high-quality public education is an investment in our children, our economy, and future. we hear so many heart-wrenching stories and higher education where students and families from communities like the one i grew up in, or cheated of their dreams. there are giant for-profit pouring money and resources into ads and recruitment, but collapse and without notice on tens of thousands of students leaving them in debt, with useless college credits. for my own state of massachusetts, 24 colleges have shut their doors in the last four years, and 22 of them were profits. so we have an epidemic of schools failing to create contingency plans, wasting taxpayer dollars without answering to anyone on their financial viability. so, it is apparent to me now, more than ever, that we need protections in place, and watchdogs to hold these institutions accountable.
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under the last it ministration, the enforcement unit was created to investigate abuses and protect students from getting ripped off. secretary devoss, at the start of your time at the education department, the enforcement unit was adequately staffed with lawyers and investigators, looking into misleading advertising recruitment practices, and job placement claims. well, according to the last update that your staff submitted to this congress, there are only two full-time investigators overseen thousands of schools and 130 billion in taxpayer dollars. so, why the dramatic cut? and, what specific enforcement actions has this unit of two taken to protect our kids? >> congresswoman, enforcement was a part of the department, part of federal student aid, he for a separate unit was set up. it continues to be a very important part of the focus of federal student aid. we take that very seriously,
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and continue to do so. we are adequately staffed. >> how many people are in charge of enforcing? >> i do not have the number here, i would be happy to give it to you or do you desire. >> i would love that. i don't have to tell you how valuable the data is in terms of identifying patterns or indicators for failing schools. one thing that would be helpful is the data that has been collected is something that you can provide to this committee. so, we have heard plenty today about how we are scrambling to take care of students when these schools shut down. but, nothing about preventing these closers from happening in the first place, is that something you can deliver? >> if you have specific data -- >> the data that is being collected from the enforcement unit. >> all of the data being collected? >> in terms of what is being enforced. there are a unit of two people who are enforcing -- >> there are more than two people involved in enforcement.
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>> if you would like to submit a question for the record, that clarifies what information you are seeking, we will be happy to respond >> i would like to know the specific enforcement action by the unit of two that was set forth of the gao report, that was less committed to this congress. >> okay, great. >> let me ask another question. the gainful employment will is a critical consumer protection tool that protects students from low quality career training, programs, and for- profit colleges. secretary devoss, did you or anyone from your department asked social security, or irs officials directly, or indirectly, to prevent or delay the development of an mo you for gainful employment purposes? >> congresswoman, we have continued to work on the gainful employment regulation, one with which we did not agree that policy with the pre--- >> that is here, the question is simple. and i hate to do this, but it is a yes or no. did you or anybody in your department talk to directly or indirectly the ssa or the irs about delaying an mo you for
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gainful employment purposes? >> i am not aware of that conversation, no pics >> you know, the department has hidden behind this ssa legal decision, as rationale for not implementing gainful employment rule. even though we have done so for so many years. can you share with this committee a copy of that legal opinion from ssa? >> again, if you want to submit that is a question for the record, i would be happy to respond. >> al submitted in writing. i press upon it, because this legal opinion directly impacts your ability to protect our college students, which is something we so clearly need today. madam secretary, we have covered a lot of ground today. given your responsible cuts to programs with a proven track record, the week enforcement of predatory institutions, and your top hires, hailing from the for-profit industry, not to mention the discriminatory policies you have leveled against lgbt q students,
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victims of sexual assault, and students of color, it is clear to me that you and your department are either out of touch with people like me, who relied on public education, and was the first to graduate from college in my family, or you are knowingly putting special interest ahead of our students. i do not believe in this budget. it reveals that you and your department are not equipped to set the educational priorities for this country. thank you, yield back. >> if i could just comment, mr. chairman. congresswoman, you have mischaracterized a number of things, and i just want to call that to your attention. and, just say that the budget that was submitted, those were proposals, as you know, and you and your colleagues will decide . so, i wanted to make sure to mention both of those things. >> i appreciate that. budgets are a reflection of our priorities. >> and we had to stay within congresses bounds. we had to say submit a budget that was 10% lower than last
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year's. >> thank you, the general lady from connecticut, ms. hayes. >> thank you was her chair, thank you madam secretary. i know personally that students, teachers, parents are waiting to hear from you. so, i want to move this right along. i am going to let you know that my questions today will be focused on using federal funds to arm teachers, not about the freedom scholarship, at about professional development choice, not about career training. so, on may 21, 2018, superintendent of the porter oklahoma consolidated school district wrote to president trump saying we have implemented an arm staff policy at my school, and was wondering if there is any money or grant that can help? it would be great if there was some money for schools that arm and train their staff. according to records received a referral request by democracy forward, this letter was quickly transferred to the department of education for response, and can the subject
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of several emails and staff meetings. mr. chairman, i asked consent to enter these documents. madam secretary, did the department of education provide a response either orally, or in writing, to superintendent mcmahon's report request to use federal funds to arm teachers, yes or no? >> congresswoman, it is not a yes or no answer. >> your responses all i'm asking. i'm sorry no, i'm not going to let you do that. i have never had advocated for again -- >> madam secretary, my question is did you respond? i know you know how to answer yes or no question, because i just so you answer it from a colleague. >> it is not a yes or no answer. >> i was like the same courtesy, my question is did you respond, yes or no? just did you respond? >> probably ultimately, yes, yes. >> okay, so there is a limited universe of how you could have responded to this request. yes you can use federal funds
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to arm teachers, yes you can use federal funds to train teachers, or no, you cannot use federal funds to do any of these things. title iv was dates to decide -- >> you are jumping way ahead. >> so the department of education cannot decide how title i funds are used? >> title iv funds -- >> title iv i'm sorry. >> are to be decided by the states, that is how congress set it up. and, that is how we have totally respected that particular set up. your position is that title iv funds, it is not up to you to decide what to use. we have not advocated for nor against. >> do you feel like you can, the? >> no. congress set this up. >> okay thank you. >> the department of education did not. >> so in august 2018, it was reported by the new york times and other outlets that the
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department was considering the use of federal funds to arm teachers. in all of your previous statements, and just now, you have maintained you lack the authority to approve or deny the request to purchase firearms for school staff and taxpayer money, and using taxpayer funds under title for a period that is correct, thank you. mr. chair, in the documents i have just omitted, there are emails from staff at your department that discuss a decision memo on 4 a. are you familiar with that decision memo? >> not with whatever memo your son >> on page 4 of the memo that came out of your department, with the advice of your general counsel, it says the department office of the general counsel has advised that the secretary has discretion to interpret the broad language of the statute as to its permissiveness regarding the purchase of firearms and the training and use of firearms. it continues on page 7 to say
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it is therefore reasonable for the secretary to disallow this particular use of funds absent specific congressional authorization. and, it is unlikely that this interpretation will be subject to a successful legal of challenge. that is from your department, based on advice from your legal counsel. in light of the content -- >> i never allocated for nor against the sheet >> in light of the content, no, you are absolutely right, you have never advocated for or against, but in light of the contents of this memo, you have the ability to make a decision. your silence is a decision. you have the authority to say that we cannot use federal funds to arm teachers, you are in line for presidential recession, make a decision on this. you have the authority to do it. will you prohibit the use of federal funds to arm teachers, yes or no autumn secretary? >> this is a matter for state and local communities to decide
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upon. >> you have the authority to do it, read your memo. >> congress has the authority to make that decision, you have the authority. if you so choose. >> read the memo. >> does the general lady offer those documents? >> idea, i would like to some of these documents for the record so that the secretary has the opportunity to read the memo that came from her office. >> no objection. the gentleman from california? >> thank you was determined i want to thank you you and the wrecking number of and the secretary, we are almost through martin secretary. i also want to acknowledge my front, the ranking member, and occasionally when we disagree, we do it in the spirit of friendship i want to talk about public service loan forgiveness. this is the gao report on this. the congress appropriated $2.3 million for 2018 and 2019 to help with the problems that the ranking member alluded to in her comments. now, this is in the context with
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what i respectfully disagree with her, that this program, the first cohort that qualify for this program came about when your administration took place. so congress authorized this act, it is a statute, and as you have recognized in your testimony, congress does have a role in governing the department of education. this is a federal law. you indicated in your comments, when the ranking member was questioning you about this, and i am inferring here that you did not think it was the best thing to decide what professions people go into. with all due respect, i do not read the statutes that is giving you the subjectivity. it is the statute, if you want to change the statute, you should get a member to introduce something that eliminates a. the first question is, how have you expended this $2.3 million, and how do you plan to expand it, because congress gave it to you to help with the outreach, given that only 1% of people who apply for this qualified
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and i'll say this in the context of my interest is personal, because our district office in northern california has had multiple people who were told by the service provider, that they qualified they made a decision for 10 years. now, they are being told that they don't qualify. you could imagine if you are living paycheck to paycheck, and you may this career choice, i would imagine, that that would be difficult so if we are going to change the law we should do it institutionally as prescribed. so, question is, how would you spend the money? >> will congressman, first let me say i acknowledge it is not the department of education's role to change the law, it is your role to do so, if that is to happen, that is why it is part of our budget proposal. but, with regard to the actual implementation of, and processing of applications, we are continuing to do so diligently. as i said before this is -- >> part of me, you're claiming my time martin secretary, and i don't want to disrespect, i had
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a specific question, how are you spending the money? if you could help me with specificity. and i asked this question in the spirit of i would like to fix the problem, and i would be happy to work with you on it. given that the statute is the statute. people are suffering, they have been misled. so, how do we help you administer the law properly? that is the spirit i asked the question, how are you spending the money? >> the program is a very difficult one to qualify for. 10 years before you even are considered, and 120 consecutive payments. if someone makes -- >> martin secretary, no, no, no -- i had a specific question. >> i have to be able to tell you >> but, i want to be clear as to what i am asking. so, i have two simple questions, how are you spending the monk with money that congress appropriated for you in this fiscal year to help with communication? it was to get the service
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provider to help today if somebody calls. i acknowledge that you think this is complicated. so, how did you spend it number one, and number two, so i don't have to interrupt you again, if you just answer the questions, i would be satisfied. my mother taught me not to be rude, and i'm not trying to be rude. second question is, are you going to implement the full recommendations in the gao report, and do you have a timeline to do it as suggested by the gao? two questions. what are you doing with the money to help facilitate the communication with the service, and when are you going to, the gao recommendations? >> for the $2.3 million, we will answer a question for the record in detail, i don't have all of those details here with me. i'd be happy to provide those. but, with regard to the program itself, the temporary program was a great step by congress, however, it still does not take your of the fact that it is a very difficult program to qualify for, if a student pays their loan of a year in advance,
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that is not looked at as 12 payments, that is one payment. so, 120 consecutive payments does not quite add up, then, over 10 years. >> are you using the money so that the service provided could communicate this? >> yes of course. >> that is what the?. to the degree you provided to the community and the specificity that would be appreciated. second part is when you want to implement the general sounding offices recommendations? >> we have implemented all of them to my knowledge. >> that is not what the gao says, can we get that straight please? what my office would like to work with your office. you have acknowledge a statute is a statute, people are suffering right now in terms of what we are telling them. we should help them as much as possible. i'm sure you agree. then if we need to change the subject, we are more than willing to work with you, thank you on a chair. i yield back. >> thank you. i think this is a final question, generally from michigan, ms. stevens? >> general lady from michigan
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addresses the secretary of education. i would like to talk to you a little bit about our home state of michigan, where decades of disinvestment in our schools have had an impact on our students from 1995 to 2015, michigan ranked last in total education revenue growth. and, not surprisingly since 2003, michigan ranked last in proficiency growth. your budget proposal for the department of education requested an $8.5 billion decrease in spending, and eliminates 29 programs. would you mind explaining how this investment of the scale will serve our country's students when it has failed in michigan? >> congresswoman, we had to submit a budget that it did reduce our overall spending by 10%, because of congresses requirements to hit those caps. so, we were following congress's mandate in that regard.
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and, we had to make difficult choices around what areas to propose cutbacks in. these are all proposals. and, you will all decide what you will going to spend. so, we submit them to you as proposals, acknowledging that we tried to hold harmless, those programs that are going to most benefits, and most reach students who are most vulnerable and most in need of the assistance. >> we certainly don't like to make determinations around which programs are successful versus which ones aren't because of legacy considerations, i was particularly inspired by my colleague congressman hart arms questioning, and around literacy, which is certainly a pervasive issue in michigan. you know, we do not cut fire department or police departments, just because crime is going up. you know, we figure out a way to double down and work together. my district, home to wonderful communities, i am a product of
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our public school system. i graduated from seaholm high school. i don't know if you've ever had a chance to visit seaholm. >> i have not, but i have had friends who have graduated from seaholm >> excellent. one of the things in michigan, is we have per people funding standards. it strikes me that just because you are a resident of birmingham michigan, and able to send your children, it should not mean if you are a resident of detroit per se, you shouldn't have the same opportunities, you should be able to send your student to the same quality school, is that what you would agree with? >> i think every student should be able to find a school that works for them, yes. >> right, and so your budget proposes to eliminate billions of dollars in k-12 programs from professional development for teachers and principals to afterschool programming to mental health services, and one of my personal favorites, stem
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education and obviously, we have heard you talk about some of the hard decisions that you have had to make. yet, somehow you found $60 million for an increase in the federal charter school program. i just really wonder if charter schools are the answer here, where as it really should be the title i funding. so, a recent report by the network for public education found that more than $1 billion in charter school program funds have gone to support charter schools that have they have never open, or you know they have closed, they have kind of abandon some of the children and families. and since 2010, 25 schools in michigan that have received $1.7 million in charter school funding, just never even open. and, the inspector general found waste, fraud, abuse, due to the frequency of school closures and the charter school program. can you just explain, for me,
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the mark of effective programs here, and can you justify the proposed increase for the charter school program, and what measures or studies that you have been using? >> let me just comment to the study you are referring to. i'm not sure we can even call it a study. we are looking more closely at it of course, and anything that is truly waste fraud or abuse, we will certainly address. but, the reality is, that study was really funded by, and promoted by those who have a political agenda. against charter schools. and, the other reality is, there are currently over 1 million students on wait lists for charter schools in the country. so, we want to see more charter schools, not fewer. more students that can access options that are right for them, not fewer. >> at the expense of public education funding? >> charter schools are public schools. >> i would just say with the remaining seconds that i have last, that roughly 20% of my district is under the age of 18. and, those individuals are
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counting on us. we are here to have some tough discussions about how we can improve the lives of our students, and the educational outcomes. and, i very much appreciate that the title of this hearing, examining the policies and priorities of the u.s. department of education revealed some of your priorities to us. thank you. >> thank you, thank you. we have come to the end of the hearing, and i want to remind my colleagues pursuing community practice materials must be samiti within the proper form in the next 14 days. i want to remind the secretary that she will be receiving questions for the record, and the young record will be held open for 14 days to receive your responses. and, for community practice
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witnesses, witness questions for the record must be submitted to community staff, within the next seven days. and i now recognize the ranking member, dr. fox, for your closing statement. >> thank you mr. chairman. madam secretary, thank you for your business a patient in this hearing. it is clear to us on the republican side of the aisle, that you are committed to implementing the laws of congress wrote them. it is also clear to us, you are doing everything in your power to help students and family understand and pursue the education opportunities they choose, so they may realize the american dream. for that, we and the american people are grateful for your tireless efforts. at the higher ed accountability, representative items give us all the definition of bipartisanship. this hearing could use a working definition of accountability, since that is the entire premise behind having a cabinet official testified. accountability is asking an agency official a tough question , and listening for the answer,
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before deciding they are wrong, is not grilling the witness and talking over them in the moment you don't hear what you wanted to hear. my democrat colleagues have tried for the better part of four hours to twist your words out of context. and, after doing so, they did not allow you to respond, and instead filled the time with what they wanted to hear. for that courtesy. this is a gotcha hearing. not an honest attempt to learn how the government can better serve students. indeed, rarely have i heard so many people tell you how to do your job and say they know how to do it better than you do.
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>> or diminish the responsibility for education which is reserved from the state. i promise you i am going to start quoting that a lot. and i thank you for bringing it to our attention. i have to tell you a lot of the things i'm hearing my democrat colleagues trying to commit you to doing sounds a little bit of a set up. they want you to commit to doing what we all greed all greed decades ago was not the part of the department of education. madam secretary you said today that the school does not serve the
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best interests of students, it should not continue to operate. i could not agree with you more. this is especially important when it comes to overseeing institutions of higher education. republicans are equally committed to holding all institutions accountable for the educational outcomes of their student. i look forward to working with you to reform the hea to make sure all students at all institutions get the service they deserve and when we bring out some other statistics that haven't been brought out i think we will see the need to hold all institutions accountable. you have a number of tools at your disposal to come down on bad actors. as i said, any institution that does not serve students, should not continue to
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exist and you said as much earlier in the hearing. i want to thank you for your commitment to implement policies in the best interests of students and taxpayers. you should know as i hope you already know that republicans look forward to standing with you to protect students' access to educational opportunities to make a better life for themselves and i welcome our democrat colleagues to make the same commitment. i yield back to mr. chairman. >> thank you. madam secretary i want to thank you for being with us today. you will be receiving as i indicated questions for the record to clarify some of the things that came up. one of the areas you can expect the questions would be the reinstatement of acs. we would ask you questions about this before, particularly in light of the fact that there seemed to be
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-- they seemed to not qualify under the rules for reinstatement, and also questions about the subsequent firing and reinstatement of the inspector general which appeared to be part of that same process. you were asked about the obama guidance that was rescinded under your administration and racial diversity k through 12 in higher education and we'll see what you're doing on that particularly in light of the jlo report. there are two reports pending one on the equity rule, the court has ordered that be implemented immediately, another on borrowed defense where there's a court order and that is over 100,000 students waiting for relief. there's a question on the wavers and what
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information is being published. it appears to me that what is being published is the fact of the waiver, not the application to see what was being waived, or the rationale for the decision. and so we'll be following up on that. and as to implementation, you indicated that you're following the rules that we are informed that several states are feeling the data by race which would make it impossible. they're not providing that information. you can't ascertain whether there's achievement gaps or if anything is being done. we will be following through on that. and finally, the tax credit program where you said it's a contribution. with 100% tax credit, it's not a contribution because it's 100% reimbursed as a tax credit. we have also indicated if you could
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find $5 billion in the tax expenditure, at the same time we're cutting the education budget $8 billion. you frequently referred to the fact the budget is being cut 10 percent. we are required to cut 10 percent but in fact the budget was cut 12% which meant that maybe some of those litter see programs and others would not have to be cut and we can clarify those answers but i want to express my appreciation for you being here. we apologize for the time taken, the extended time. i want to thank the ranking member for being here the whole time and thank you madam secretary for being with us and allocating time so everybody can ask questions. with that, is there any further business before the committee? if not, the committee stands adjourned.
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