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tv   Secretary Betsy De Vos on 2019 Education Budget Request  CSPAN  June 10, 2018 3:58pm-5:48pm EDT

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be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern on monday morning area join the discussion. >> education secretary betsy commission set up by her department to study school safety would not focus on guns. she made the statement well testifying before a senate appropriations subcommittee about changes and proposed cuts to education department programs outlined in the
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information and related industries will come to order. secretary devos, you're with us here today. thank you for appearing to talk about your budget and to answer our questions, 2019 but a request from the department is the money that congress appropriated for fy 18 and march. to the department credit, you propose eliminating and consolidating programs that are not working effectively and we will want to look at those very carefully with you. a $1udget also includes billion grant program for states and school districts to expand their choice programs.
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i appreciate the new look you have brought to the department. i agree we should look at programs. this included 59 in dedicated funding for evidence-based stem education programs. i will work with you as the committee doesn't department to see how we can support and expand that effort.
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also interested in working together to make postsecondary education more accessible and the audible or all students. this is the cooperation of our authorizer's year-round pell grant. we spent the last college year talking about this being the first summer where schools could and students could plan for year-round pell. i think our 20,000 more students summer inthis missouri and a million students nationwide. they have the potential to continue to make the pattern that is working to continue to work. if you are paying your way through college and working your way to college, the first person in your family that is trying to
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graduate from college -- having a pattern that works makes a big difference. when i went to colors, the first person in my family to graduate -- i went in three years and three summers. it took 124 hours of credit to graduate. i have a hundred 24 hours of credit. not one extra credit and one extra day. a lot of schools responded to year-round pell. just to make sure that they have bachelor programs that can be completed. we look at what happened with year-round pell, we increase the pell grant to our committee last to $6,095.
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i think we will obviously continue the other number and the early authorizing committee, the chairman and ranking member mewhat is on either side of will see. this is their forward view on telegrams and other assistance programs. many of the proposals in the budget permanent programs. some of that can be done, we hope we can look at it carefully with you. i think it is likely that the committee will look at the work we just completed. this administration would not be the first one to suggest that impact a look at the different
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way. there are small targeted programs like special olympics and arts and education. while the size they did looks like they don't make a lot of impact, it would make a lot of impact it eliminated them. i think they would want to think long and hard before we did that. finally, i want to rebalance the efforts to realign department of education's role and education system. i believe as many members of the senate and house do that decisions should be made closer to students and their families and local school districts, that is where those decisions should be made. to make a not decision in the state capital that impacts entire state as opposed to decisions and washington dc that impact the entire country and your efforts to try to look for those can be
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made. it where adult students are going to school -- it is a wonderful thing. i look forward to your testimony today and the discussion that will follow that. my good friend, senator murray. >> thank you secretary devos. it has been 60 months since you you were confirmed despite millions of students and parents and teachers around the country who spoke up in opposition to your extreme ideological commitment to privatizing public education and who were concerned about her lack of experience in educating or abdicating. you have doubled down on your harmful agenda and fill your department with for-profit college executives and lobbyists
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looking out for their former employees -- employers. that could not be clearer when looking at your actions over the last year. secretary devos, as you were confirmed, we have seen a barrage -- you continue to prioritize your extreme privatization agenda which would siphon taxpayer dollars away from public schools. you are ignoring a part of our nation's k-12 laws that helps ensure equity in our schools. easier forde it predatory for-profit colleges to student loan companies take advantage of our students by rolling back a number of consumer protections and effectively dismantling the unit that investigates claims of fraud and abuse. you've taken a number of extremely concerning steps to undermine civil rights protections for our students including attempting to scale back the office of civil rights, resending guidance, protecting transgender students, making it
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sweep for students to sexual assault under the rug, saying it is a local decision to call ice on undocumented students and so much more. let me turn to the budget that you're proposing for next year. i'm disappointed in how similar this looks to last year. forr years of budgets education, not keeping up with our needs, we are now seeing teachers and parents around the country organizing and standing up for public education. our kids should not be forced to learn and crumbling classrooms with shabby textbooks. our teachers should be paid fairly. this budget, once again, you're ignoring what millions of parents and teachers and students are asking for. he proposed more than $4 billion in cuts to elementary and separate -- secondary education. i don't have time to name them all. -- budget would eliminate
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grants that support before and afterschool programs and investments that support low income undergraduates. this budget is another example of an empty thomas made by this administration to address the senseless gun violence devastating our families and i was most and our communities around the country. president trump has continued to give it to do that -- the demands of the nra. your gun safety commission has yet to take any real action steps and now your budget would eliminate grants that are used to improve student safety for the second year in a row. tragic parkland shouldn't, you said congress should hold hearings on gun and school safety. in a show of good faith, i urge you to commit to testify in front of it health committee. finally, while your discretionary budget cuts, 7.7 billion there are one
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programs at a level your personal agenda that are not authorized by the bipartisan agenda. congress rejected virtually the same proposals. we are asking why he wants again put forth a budget that will hurt our students and families. i look over to your responses. >> we have boats and 11 that will continue the hearing through those two votes. at newa hard stop today because of commercial travel. certainly -- he said he will give up his time in return for us get into questions quicker. if you want to make your opening statement, we would be used to your that.
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>> members of the subcommittee, they get for the opportunity to testify on the president's fiscal year budget request for the department of education. sharpens and holds the focus of our mission, serve -- serving students by meeting their needs. when the department was created, it was charged to prohibit the federal role of education. trump is committed to limited government, fiscal discipline and reducing the federal clip went -- footprint in education. we would reduce overall funding for department programs by 3.7 billion were 5.6 from fiscal year 2017. seven point 6 billion or 10.8% below the fiscal year of 2018 enacted level. this budget was prepared prior to the to your cap deal. the administration submitted an addendum that restores valuable investment as an students
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including basic support payments, school choice, federal work study. our intent was to maintain levels appropriated by congress. we used the numbers and place at the time and are attached -- intent remains the same. focuses on improving educational opportunities and outcomes for all students while also returning power to the people closest to the students. promote a safe and healthy culture in our school. the tragedies at these high mostls were only the recently devastating reminders that our nation must come together to address the underlying issues that create cultural violence. i directed my department to encourage states and districts to take advantage of possibility so newly appropriated funds, 1.1 billion under title iv are most useful.
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second, i'll request would provide significant new resources dedicated to helping achieve the president's goal of giving every student the freedom to attend a school that meets his or her unique needs. the budget provides funding for this program through a new opportunity grants program that would expand the number of students who have the opportunity to extend the school -- attend the school that choice. states could apply for money to provide scholarships to students from low-income families that could be used to transfer two different schools. -- to different schools. they could request funds to build on the open moment systems. funds follow children based on their needs, not buildings or systems. in addition, the budget request support for charter schools provide an increase of 100 million for a total of 500 million and continued support for magnet schools. we are also proposing to expand
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use of direct student scored -- student services to allow states to reserve up to 5% of the title i allocations to further expand educational freedom including helping students transfer to a school that better meet individual needs. third, the administration's request includes support for students with disabilities. our request for k-12 formula grant programs support the ,ations media students especially all programs authorized under the individuals with disabilities education act. fourth, our request with more pathways to prepare workers to fill existing and newly created jobs as well as jobs of the future. expanding apprenticeships and reforming an effecte education and workforce development programs will help more americans obtain relevant skills and enter high-paying jobs. students should be able to pursue it right if pathways to successful careers. the budget extends the use of programs for high quality
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short-term summer answered deficit w programs. this is technical education and student loan repayment. these proposals support congressional efforts to address student debt and higher education costs while reducing the complexity of student financial aid. crest supports stem education. presidentialth the memorandum on stem education, our request includes 200 million in new funding to support stem education while continuing to fund almost 330 million in discretionary grants. finally, our request reflects a number of reform proposals aimed at streamlining the internal organization and improving the department services to states, districts, postsecondary institutions and the public. we recommend a number of consolidations including proposals for the federal programs.
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this makes them formula grants so that states may use the funds more effectively. ,he budget eliminates streamlines or reduces funding for many discretionary programs that do not address national needs, that duplicate other programs, are ineffective or are more appropriately supported of the state, local and private funds. the budget reflects our commitment to spending taxpayer dollars wisely and efficiently. the federal government does not and cannot know the unique needs of each individual student in america. parents and teachers know their students best and know how their needs should be addressed. with this budget, we can continue to return power to those who walk side-by-side with students every day. that is who budgets are for. not for special interest, not legislators, not the system. students.t is about
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it is easy to get lost in the numbers and forget about the base of students who we have all pledged to serve. education can truly change the trajectory of a child's life. all they need is a chance to obtain it. more students need the freedom to seek an education that unlocks their potential and allows them to pursue their passions. that is the focus of this administration and the focus of this budget. thank you for the opportunity to testify. i look forward to your questions. we are glad to have you and mr. quarters from the budget office with you. let's talk about student safety to start with. the idea that people go to elementary school and high school and any school anywhere with some sense that that things have happened at other schools and can happen in theirs will, what are we doing to minimize that likelihood? there is $22 million in the
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spending bill you just got at the end of march for school safety. what are you doing with that? what ideas do you have for other programs that might allow more possibility to use those programs like title ii and title iv as an example for school safety. every parent, every grandparent, every citizen sees that as unacceptable. what can we do to encourage school districts get into the right place on safety of kids at school? mrs. devos: thank you for the question. we all share consents for students as they attend school each day. we feel for the parents that fear for their own children's safety. it is a focus of this administration. i noticed the focus of this body as well. i would run the question around
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the commission that the president has commenced. when we look at practices that happen in states, we are charged with 27 different items that look at and study and raise up best practices on to share more broadly. and it one of the most important -- whate can do is help is effective in my local community or state and encourage them to adopt some of these measures in the states. i know many state legislatures are debating this very topic. they are formulating plans and policies that are unique to their situations. we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach. the library dispersed, we have to make sure that there are ample menu options to choose from for communities to consider
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insuring that their school buildings, that their students are safe at school each day. we can do itings 22 million thayou didn't have he past? purpose of other programs to encourage those menu options to be looked at and funded when chosen? mrs. devos: y, also the title iv funds. those will all be part of the forward-looking focus of this commission and the recommendations that will all of. as states and communities develop their plans and programs, these funds will be available for proven solutions, ones that have been enacted in certain places that has proven effective. we want to support those activities and ensure that each community is able to answer and address this situation. blunt: i am sure others
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will move back onto that. on pell grants, you're talking about allowing pell grant to be programscertification and other programs. but ipportive of that want to hear more about how those shorter-term certification programs would be defined and how pell grant eligibility would help prepare that work force. mrs. devos: we know that fewer and fewer students today are going from high school into a four-year college or university. we know that there are many opportunities for students to pursue a shorter-term program, a credentialing that will get them and ahe work force meaningful path and track for whatever their interest might a. our proposal is to develop high
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quality short-term programs and do so in conjunction with congress to put the appropriate cargoes around that. big noting that students are very different today than they were 20 or 30 years ago. and to meet their needs and the needs of the economy today, we can do so by recognizing and allowing for those kinds of flexibilities and innovations. >> in the interest of everybody getting their questions in on the panel, i would enforce the time limit for the carefully. i will enforce it on myself. my time is up. you claim the: office for civil rights is more efficient under your new policies. one new policy you have a allows civil rights to dismiss complaints if it places an invisible burden on resources. if you feel there is a strain on these resources, you should be asking congress for more funding
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to make sure that every student is protected. you reduce the number of staff through voluntary biopsy. doesn't that result in fewer staff to handle the workload and mark >> thank you for that question. before i answer that one, i want to -- >> can you answer me yes and no? the office for civil rights is very much focused on the work that it has the lord. they have been able to do so with effectiveness and efficiency. i am very proud of the work they have done. they continue to address all complaints appropriately and will continue to do so. senator murray: you are requesting even fewer resources. does that mean that ocr will dismiss it in more complaints? we are committed to ensuring that the rights of every student are protected and
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the office is very much committed to -- >> with fewer resources and fewer staff, we will take fewer claims and protect your students. that is not how it is supposed to operate. congress has taken very clear steps to address those issues with our budget and the spending bill that would pass last year. republicans and democrats rejected your pets and instead directed ocr staff to increase staff in order to effectively and, investigate the complaints. your staff would not provide specific information to our bipartisan appropriations staff during a briefing on your hiring plans. you commit to give back to our staff that? mrs. devos: we will be happy to get back with you on that. we are in the process of following the orders and intent of congress. we are very committed to protecting students. >> your staff refused to give us answers.
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we would like that and we would appreciate you getting back to us. during your april meeting with teachers of the year, you claimed the teacher strikes occurring around the country were becoming -- coming at the expense of children. those teachers out there are fighting for new school supplies for their students, classrooms that are falling apart and the ability to support their families on their salaries. do you think that children benefit when they have to use outdated and worn books? think students when they are not able to go to school because they don't have anyone to go to school to teach them, that hurts them. my point has been that i hope that adults will have their disagreements and debates outside of time that is impacting and affecting students. we need to ensure that students are kept in the center of the equation on this whole question. >> it takes money to pay teachers more and you keep trying to cut federal investments. do you think children benefit
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from your proposals to cut billions from public, elementary and secondary schools? funding to train teachers, underfunding grants for student safety, well-rounded education and afterschool programs for almost 2 million students? do you think that children benefit from that? >> our budget is focused on helping students that need the most help. we are keeping in mind that the federal government is only 10% of the asian of funding for school. we need to stay focused on what benefits students the most. >> every dollar counts. finally, you may have seen the student letters that the national teacher of the year from my home state of washington, she delivered this personally to president trump. she teaches english to refugees and immigrants. one of first in the boat to president trump. i want to read it to you. >when you say you don't want refugees, students in the hall tell me they don't want me here
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because i am a refugee. you can change this by saying good things about people like me. that is what a student said from the teacher of the year. do you think it would be good if the children president would say good things about students like that? mrs. devos: i had the pleasure of meeting mandy. i think she is an awesome teacher. i think the work she does is so important. i think we need to continue to support her. >> do think that adults should be careful with the language because of the impact it has on students like that? mrs. devos: i think we all have an opportunity to careful. >> including the president? mrs. devos: i think we all do. of the work for all you're doing for our kids and our teachers around the country. i want to ask you about a proposal that you have about doing with students and parents having options within a district
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to be able to choose a different school within the district. a very different discussion about school choice. i grew up in a district that had four high schools in it. i was allowed to be able to pick gotever school i wanted to to. i like the banned. i had the opportunity to choose to drive across town and to be able to go to whether was a better banned. that was a burden for my family. we had to work on transportation issues but it gave me the option to choose that. i think that is what i am hearing from you. you're talking about having the opportunity, what is the incentive, how that would work for the school that wasn't chosen. how does that work for parents and what do you envision? mrs. devos: i would just say at the beginning that you are very fortunate because your school district must have been a real leader and its time in allowing
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for open choice within the district. there are some that offer that today. we encourage districts to look seriously at opening up their district wide choice to meet student needs better. part of our proposal through the opportunity grant proposal, also through the student waited there are aram, thate of different ways local district could look at opening of options to a wider range of schools within the district. encourage states and school districts to look at doing so. help continue to give students the kinds of options and choices that they need. >> how would that work? you have a parent that doesn't have any kind of wealth. transportation will be a challenge for them.
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they want their kids to be able to go to another school and have better opportunities that. they may have better test scores. can they use that for transportation? the firstthat impact school there that now has smaller class sizes because there are fewer students? mrs. devos: we have seen is implemented on a small scale and in a number of states. it really does depend on what the needs of those districts are. transportation costs could be factored in in a variety of different accommodations to ensure that the student needs are met and that the disruption is minimized in the district. the idea of the proposal is to remain as flexible so that state and local districts can adopt the kind of approach any kind of support that will make -- work for them. >> i met with a group of african-american pastors and floated this concept to them. they were in an urban district in my state.
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i asked them how this would work for you and your parents. he said i would be glad to take any opportunity for my parents. to choose whatever school and district they want to be able to go to. as long as the school system is not forgotten. some students will not have that opportunity. do you envision there is still that focus to not leave anyone school behind? betsy devos: i think the district implement in this well. that has been a high sensitivity for them. i think about indianapolis. they have done a really innovative job of addressing this. this is alongside some of the additional schools then been really sensitive to what the needs of the whole district are. that opportunity is very much there. the proposal remains very flexible so that districts can address this issue. >> let me bring up one caveat. i know they're trying to be able to work together.
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ultimately we are preparing people for careers. that cooperation should be there. in most other countries, education and labor are one entity in government rather than two. i would like to encourage continued cooperation as low between interior and education. our indian education continues to suffer around the country. there are some assets that you can bring to bear. i would encourage continued cooperation with interiors as well. >> thank you mr. chairman. welcome back to the subcommittee secretary devos. we regret that we are discussing a budget proposal that doesn't support all students.
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i will repeat what senator murray said but i totally agree with your statement. -- her statement. let me go into another area. you are the chair of school safety commission. this was formed after the school shooting important left 17 students and educators dead. our country is now averaging a school shooting each week. fact, one day after the commission met last month. another 10 students were killed in santa fe, texas. i understand your commission intends to release recommendations by the end of the year. will you look at firearms as relates to our schools. mrs. devos: it is an honor to serve emily this commission. we are focused on the 20 something different provisions.
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>> i understand it is a lot. i'm trying to give you a question that the answer yes or no. legal commission look at the role of firearms as relates to gun violence in our schools? >> that is not part of the commission charge. >> you are saying gun mounts but not concerning guns. >> we are starting school safety and how we can ensure students are safe. >> you are saying how much time is spent on video games and that. but in other video -- countries they spend just as much time. they only have a tiny fraction of the shootings that we do. the gun toys format sugars is an ar-15. do you believe in a two high school should be able to walk into a store and purchase an ar-15?
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hundreds of round of ammunition? mrs. devos: i know this body and your counterparts on the other hundreds of round of ammunition? side of the capital have addressed a number of these issues and i know you're going to continue to debate them. >> i'm trying to give you a question that can be answered yes or no. let me repeat it. do you believe and a general high school shouldn't -- student -- an 18-year-old high hool student should be able to walk into a store and come out with an ar-15 us on weapon and hundreds of rounds of ammunition? mrs. devos: i believe that is a matter for debate. i know that has been debated within this body and will continue to be. our focus is on raising successful, proven techniques and approaches to ensuring schools are safe for students. >> are you looking at those other countries where the students have just as much time on social media and video games and everything else but have a much lower gun violence in their
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schools? mrs. devos: we had a very important meeting inyl a school wh a district that has employed an approach called pbi s. leahy:iliated -- senator maybe i didn't make my question clear. are you looking at some of those countries where the students do just as much time on video games and just as much time on social media as we do? they do not have as much gun violence? are you looking at those all? that is yes or no. mrs. devos: no. senator leahy: we will look at gun violencen hos but not at guns. that is an interesting concept. i learned from after school programs in vermont. the families are struggling with opioids. the same can be said of every state.
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are you concerned that by pulling over $1 billion in afterschool funding would be complicating recovery for the many families who depend on this? sen. leahy: this is for addiction. mrs. devos: we are very focused on this problem. we have $43 million to identify and encourage replication of prevention programs. essentially -- senator leahy: that is on for the fund you have come from our students. mrs. devos: this is on flexible funds. we will look at students weather problems are more prevalent.
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we encourage the states to take that flexibility and apply it. >> madam secretary, welcome. senator alexander: under our new every student seeds at, replacing no child left behind, every state submitted plan to you for approval in order to receive $18 billion of federal funding for titles 1, 2 and four. i have questions on that. it has been suggested by some, not me that you are not following the law and approving those plans. how many state plans have been approved so? mrs. devos: 46 estate plans. -- state plans. >> do you believe it is a requirement of the law? should they use data on all students at each subgroup of
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students? mrs. devos: yes. >> do they propose to look at data from all students and each subgroup of students? mrs. devos: they do. >> do you believe it is a requirement of the law that they were underperforming subgroups? mrs. devos: yes. >> do they propose to identify schools with consistently underperforming subgroups? mrs. devos: yes. >> after the passage of every student succeeds at -- act, secretary duncan said our lawyers at the department of education are much smarter than many of the people who are working on this bill. are any of those smart lawyers still at your department? mrs. devos: they are. probably most of them. >> do those lawyers at the department agree that the plans that you have approved in all the requirements of the law? mrs. devos: they do. >> thank you. we have had a lot of discussion about making it simpler for
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students to apply for and pay that their federal student aid. 100 billion most each year. 30 or so billion intel grants. it seems to me that applying for federal aid for college should be as simple as buying a plane ticket on your phone or buying a book with one click. this has been invented and we use it for all sorts of things. you have answered $50 million in -- asked for $50 million in the budget in order to modernize the system by which students apply for and pay back their federal financial aid. what can you tell us about that ? how do you plan to spend the money and why do you think you will be successful doing this when we were so unsuccessful in technology when we dealt with the obamacare exchanges?
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mrs. devos: i am really excited about the effort to modernize that are student aid, both the process and the experience. -- federal student aid, both the process and the experience. we believe students should have a world-class experience when applying for and then subsequently paying down their student loans. the framework and infrastructure for this has not been modernized and has not been -- it has been patched over the 20 something years. our approach is to completely restructure and make that experience one that will be seamless for students. one where you can complete the application on our smartphone and having the world-class experience we have expected to have on every other area of life. the confidence i have is that we have to ensure that -- we have the right leadership in place.
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we have dr. wayne johnson who comes from the financial services field with much experience and lots of entrepreneurial activity in that field. >> has he ever done it in like this before? mrs. devos: he has. some of you may recall that when you got credit cards in the mail, they came without an activation code because that is how it was done. strangely enough, nyf ose cards disappeared in the process of getting from the original -- origination point to your office. now we just go online doctorate. the 800 number was his invention. it would become ubiquitous across the financial services industry. very forward thinking and a very deep knowledge of that field and that process and experience. we are committed to having the first steps completed for a
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pilot test in july of this year. we will be able to in the fall -- hopefully by october 1 have the holding be able to roll out -- whole thing be able to roll out so that june if applications for the next school year will be able to be completed online and in one sitting. >> thank you. >> thank you for being here, secretary devos. i want to go back to an issue that was raised by senator lee ahy. she says that it should be known that i am a student. senator shaheen: this is the first time i stayed up and i think extensively about how i would bet in a situation such as -- react in a situation such as a school shooting.
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i at 16 years old should not have an intimate relationship with the idea of shootings but i do. so does everyone of my friends, so to my parents. so does my nine-year-old brother and so does the rest of the country. i think that outlines a problem that is unique to the united states. school shootings in the u.s. occur at a scale far beyond any other major industrialized nation. since 2009, the u.s. has had 57 times more school shootings than the rest of the g7 countries combined. that is 288 school shootings in the u.s. compared with two each in canada and france. one in germany and known in japan, italy or the united kingdom. the question that i have for you and -- are you going to be looking at this? what are these other countries doing to protect their schools from shootings? did they have fewer mentally ill
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people? are they arming their teachers or do they have more sensible gun laws? mrs. devos: these are very important questions in the whole context of talking about keeping schools safe and making sure students are safe in school. the commission that has begun its work is very much focused on the range of issues that we have been asked to address and focus on and it does get down to looking at what is this culture of violence, where does it come from? it really is the issue of violence. violence can manifest in several different ways. >> excuse me for interrupting. we have limited time. given that, it seems to me that you should think about reworking the mission of the commission so that it is also taking a look at guns and the roles that guns
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play in school violence. i would urge you to do that. i would like to move on to another topic. you said in your opening remarks that education can change the trajectory of a child's life. i very much believe that. i believe that going to a good school and having an opportunity for higher at patient provides -- education provides opportunities that young people can get in no other way. that is why i am so puzzled about why your budget proposes cutting so many of the programs that help our students in new hampshire, the afterschool programs that help for college students, particularly first-generation college students. we heard from some students at the university of new hampshire, one premed student who said coming to college can be very overwhelming. personally i do not have family members to guide me to college or tell me what to expect or what to do. we also have the second-highest
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student loan debt in the country. yet, your budget proposes cuts that will force students to take out even more loans to pay for school, you eliminate work-study programs. you eliminate subsidized loans for graduates. how should we tell students in new hampshire that they should be able to afford college and go to good schools? mrs. devos: we are very much focused on ensuring that students that have the greatest need have also the greatest opportunity and this budget was predicated on making decisions around the parameters that we were given. it is really focused on programs that do me students that are in the greatest need, directly. some of the programs referred to are ones that have not been proven to be effective or were spread too thinly. >> do have reports that show
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they have been ineffective? mrs. devos: yes. there is data that demonstrates ineffectiveness there in that program. we would be happy to share that. >> i think we would appreciate seeing that information. on higher education, using the work-study program has not help students? >> we continue to proposes funding for the peace that you are referring to -- this is the graduate piece of the program. making difficult decisions around where to focus the resources. by the time a student gets to a graduate program, there are other opportunities and we are focused on trying to get the greatest number of students the opportunity to pursue higher education. that is why we suggested a short-term health program. -- pell program. we can't make the assumption
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that a four-year college or university is the right answer or the right pathway for every single student. my time is up, thank you. capito: thank you for coming senator devos. -- secretary devos. i want to you to show your plan for abilities applications that were discarded due to either dramatic work budget issues. this committee that the chairman blunt and others want to make sure the institutions like wb you and was written a state are not penalized for the minor errors in their applications. mrs. devos: thank you, we did have that conversation. the formatting issue was dealt with later last year. there were some other applications that had some
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issues with terry formatting and or some of the numbers. per the direction of congress, we have gone back and have opened a process to re-examine fortysomething applicants that fall into that category. we will do -- do you have a timeline on that? mrs. devos: i don't have the specific one but i would be happy to get that to you. >> in your remarks, you mentioned that a number of solid -- things are occurring. including title iii and title five. minority serving institutions, making them formula grants so that states may use the funds more effectively. can we talk about that a little bit? does that mean that the formula is down to the state to make that decision? is that how you envision that? why is that more efficient than it -- and a better way to deliver the funding than what we presently have smart quest let -- presently have?
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mrs. devos: let me go back to your previous question. we are on track to have a process for these fortysomething schools. it was to be done by the summer. with respect to your question about some of the programs that we have proposed for consolidation, all of these programs, about 90% of the funding goes to the same entities. we have a large process the -- within the department of education. it ends up granting these out to the same places. our proposal is to make that more efficient and recognize the what is. -- what it essentially is. that is more of a block grant program. the states, we believe are closer to the institution and have a better handle on whether there is a entrance into the market that much he considered.
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also, how the existing ones are doing. that is our proposal to streamline that and make the process more effective and recognize what it basically is. >> i agree with the premise of giving the states the flexibility. i think that goes along with the every student succeeds at. -- act. my question is and i think the senator will perk up on this. whenever a her the formula funding, the formula it only sounds like it will be population-based and for small estates, sometimes that can be detrimental to previous years. i would put that on your radar. mrs. devos: the proposal would be for the states to get the same level of funding that that had previously. >> that makes me feel better. on the apprenticeships, you and i talked about skills gaps. we hear this all the time, he -- you basically can't have an
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economic conversation with businesses were fighting -- -- and that were finding problems and the right skill set for the job of tomorrow and even today. this is a big concern for all of us. i'm interested in your expansion of the apprenticeship. i know that obviously, you all have that. what steps are you taking? are you working with the secretary of labor to expand this? are you working with the unions to expand this? if you could just talk about that aspect of it please. mrs. devos: sure, the task force that president trump had put together just completed its report last month and submitted about three dozen different recommendations on how to expand this important opportunity and pathway. it is one area of import. i will be in switzerland later this week where i am attending
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an international forum on apprenticeship. i think this is an area where america can learn a lot from their model. almost 70% of the student in switzerland go to into apprenticeships of some sort. when we think of apprenticeships, we think of a pretty narrow definition for them. i think these are areas that we have to get a lot more serious about. also, referencing back to the right of the apprenticeship task was, the group that really discussed the recommendation that brought them ford was a very robust combination of this leadership, lar leadership and higher education leadership, overly come together in a very unanimous and supportive fashion to say that these are programs and these are areas that we have to become much more and has a lot about supporting business to
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-- intentional about supporting business to inform these new contortions and apprenticeship opportunities and then having the theoretical and instructional pieces come alongside and do so anyway that is going to be relevant and -- in a way that is going to be relevant and current for students. also, to be flexible to change what needs to be changed in the work is. -- workplace. -- >> senator durbin? senator durbin: i think we both would agree that when students default on their student loans, there are many losers. the student, the students family, america's taxpayers and you might say other students were counting on that money coming back into the treasury for the generation to have a
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chance of higher education. i want to ask you a question and i'm going to give you multiple choice answers. here's the question. which group of colleges and universities in the role 9% of all postsecondary students, not percent of high school grads account for 33% of federal student loan defaults? here are your choices. public colleges and universities, private not-for-profit colleges and universities and for-profit colleges and universities. which one would you choose? mrs. devos: c. >> exactly right. could you explain to me why for-profit colleges and universities that enroll just 9% of high school graduates account for 33% of all federal student loan defaults? >> that is a serious issue. it is one that we have to get much more serious about looking at, both the opportunities for students and i think this is a
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much broader question than just what you are trying to get at. students today need to know that early on, before they even get into high school, a number of different options that they have to pursue -- >> one class with fewer than 10% of the students and 33% of the student loan defaults -- it really has a problem that the other types of universities and colleges don't to some extent. here is what it comes down to as far as i am concerned. they are charging too much and providing too little. they are misleading the students into debt and enrollment and then casting them off. how can i say something as extreme as that?
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here's what the statistics show. two out of three graduates from for-profit colleges and universities make less money than their high school graduate counterparts would never attend university. they are not making much money. it also turns out that three out of four students from these types of for-profit colleges and universities are not able to pay one dollar on their federal student debt within three years of entering repayment. a lot is going on here. luckily for us, you have been in charge of a department which has investigated units that will keep an eye on these for-profit colleges and universities. they are being investigated by everybody. some of them are failing because of the abusive approaches that they have used in their marketing. here's the thing that troubles me. were you aware of the fact that the people you appointed to the enforcement unit to keep an eye on for-profit colleges and universities that are ripping
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off students and families and taxpayers -- it turns out the head of the union, julian smoak was a former dean at devry. one of the largest for-profit colleges and universities in my home state of illinois. it also turns out that robert i -- robert and diana jones were former emploes of bridport -- bridge point and career education for-profit college and universities themselves. were you aware of the fact that you are appointing people to the enforcement and investigative unit who had a conflict of interest because of their own private careers before they joined? mrs. devos: the enforcement unit is very robust and functioning very well. most of those individuals you just referred to are not part of the enforcement unit.
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that is erroneous information. we are very focused on ensuring that colleges and universities -- the opportunities that students have our quality. quality.ality -- are daniel: >> we have to focus on the opportunities and the outcomes for students. >> 33% are defaulting on their student loans and only 10% of the students -- you took a dozen attorneys and cut it down to three. then you bit of the unit with people with copies of interest. it is no wonder that little or nothing has done -- been done in the way of investigation. >> your information is erroneous. >> i ask about the article from the new york times which catalyzes in detail -- i'm sure you have seen it can go to the record after my question.
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senator hyde smith: first of all, i am throw that you're -- thrilled you are here. i enjoyed getting to meet you over the phone. thank you for talking with me. rural schools like many in my state faced challenges from reverting and pertaining teachers for the lack of access to broadband. i believe it is imperative that the department support research address specific needs for schools and students. it is my understanding that the department will be compete a grant to establish a research and develop the center dedicated to rural education. my question is what the department considers the most important issue facing schools and how you will help tackle these needs including the severe teacher shortage. sec. devos: thank you for that question. i know the needs of rural
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communities are very unique and they differ from community to community. we very much support the flexibility for rural communities to address their issues and their needs specifically. when we think about opportunities and making sure that students have a broad range of opportunities. one of the most important things is that the schools and the communities have access to broadband in a very robust way. i know that that is continuing to improve. that is not part of the department of education purview. we certainly advocate for the widespread adoption of the availability of broadband. that is one tool that communities can use to ensure that students have -- are introduced to a broader subject range through courses they may not be able to provide at their school. we again acknowledge that every -- rurall comm
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community is different as well. we support the community. they are on trying to do so in a way that recognizes the varying geographies and varying needs. >> one other question. how does the department consider the geographic distribution of research projects? sec. devos: the research projects and funding, they continue, those are programs that are generally looked at competitively and as a whole. if you have a specific one you're interested in, i look forward to hearing about that and for the department to look at the program seriously. that request, i should take. >> thank you for that. the second one is the department recently rewarded reader illiteracy grants. i understand that this funding is used to help states create a comprehensive program to advance
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literary skills. would you please share with the committee what the department is doing to ensure that these grants benefit a wide variety of states? especially rural areas with underserved populations like mississippi? sec. devos: we are taking into account the very diverse populations we have in our country. we are hoping to ensure a wide range of communities and students are able to take a message of that program. if you have a specific interest in that one, i would be glad to talk to you about that and enjoy -- ensure that we are looking objectively at the request from your state. >> great. thank you very much. >> thank you. senator manchin. >> i want to thank secretary devos for being here. fiscal year 19 budget proposal
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doesn't cut as much funding from the department of education as last year. i am very concerned about this -- about the significant cuts that have been proposed. i appreciate you are here to answer our questions. i'm concerned about the 3.6 billion in cuts. both of these programs are critical for west virginia communities but particularly so in our rural communities and rural states. as you know, the every student succeeds act included a program called title iv student support. a grants program. this grant is designed to provide state and school districts the possibility to -- flexibility to provide a wide range of services that support a well-rounded education. columbus authorized more than 1.6 billion in funding. then we appropriated 1.1 billion in funding and the president's budget eliminates all the funding entirely.
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the problem is we are using that opioid concerns coming from addicted households and maybe even addictions themselves. it puts us in a critical situation. i don't know how you all plan to work with this for navigate this since there is no money. sec. devos: thank you for the questions. the budget in total was produced in the context of the restrictions and the parameters that we had. we had to make choices around programs that were duplicative or spread thinly or shown not to be effective. i would say that the funding that congress did restore to title iv is an area that i think we looked at differently given the circumstances today versus when the budget was first generated. >> you have gone from 400 up to
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1.1. then it goes right back to nothing. opioid addiction in my state, and a lot of states, the flexibility that we have with those grants, those titles, we were able to use that to identify and replace children that were coming from addictive homes. it is imperative that we have some way of doing that. sec. devos: absolutely. the funding that remains in the proposed budget is very flexible and can be used. >> you are intending to use the budgets you have any -- in education. it is a 3.6 cut overall. sec. devos: the budget was put forward prior to the 2018 and acted and omnibus. given the timeframe and the time since then and the focus, both on school safety issues as well as the opioid crisis, we look at the title iv. usif your staff can get with
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on show us how you intend for us to address the problems we are having because our educators are concerned r thinstops d they don't know how. we have a program moving right now that are identifying children coming from addicted homes, placing them, getting them out of risk. it is imperative we have -- sec. devos: i know the opioid issue is a horrible one. >> the other thing, you and i have spoken about this before, his school charters in small rural states, the only choice we have is improving the education. or doing without. there is not an option in some rural areas. i concerned about the $3.6 billion that are being cut while at the same time, shifting $1.5 billion from critical education programs to school choice. that is going to be very hard. wouldn't your choice programs simply leave holes in our west virginia?
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by thesets created propose cuts, will this leave a hole we cannot fill? the proposalr rural choice does offer communities a choice. in west virginia, we can't afford to start another education system. we don't have the market where the private market is working into that. all we're doing is taking funds away from enhancing a system and making it better than what we have right now. mrs. devos: sometimes you can think of choice differently. we often think in terms of infrastructure and buildings. in wirral areas, i understand the biggest challenge is a school that is not able to offer some ap courses because they don't have enough students. offering first choice via virtual classrooms is an opportunity. >> that would be great except i
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don't have internet connection l areas. of rura maybe sen. blunt: be upset with me if i don't enforce that. we would like to invite you to west virginia to come into these real rural areas without connectivity to see firsthand. sec. devos: thanks. >> i know that is a huge issue. thank you senator manchin. senator murphy. much,nk you very chairman. thank you, madam secretary, for being here. i think you have her concern for -- from many of us about the changes in procedures for civil rights. let me just try to square some of your open comments with some of the changes you have been asked about. you made it very clear that you don't think there should be a one-size-fits-all approach to education in the country. it should be in the hands of local educators and lots of
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members of the committee agreed. on the issue of civil rights, should there be a one-size-fits-all for civil rights protections? or should that decision be in the hands of local communities? or should your office consider a different community standard regarding issues like civil rights? sec. devos: the role of a department is an important one in enforcing students and civil rights and protecting them. it is one i am committed to and it is one the office for civil rights is committed to. >> i understand that. but there should not be a one-size-fits-all standard for civil rights protection. we should have a federal civil rights law. all students should be protected by that under the same standards. mrs. devos: indeed. >> let me ask you about a question that you were presented in a house hearing. whetherhe question of
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teachers should refer undocumented students to ice for immigration enforcement. in the hearing, i think you have stated that it should be up to each individual ste or school district. then you really stay follow-up statement in which you said our nation has a legal moral obligation to educate every child and is a well-established under the supreme court ruling and has been consistent in my position since they won. i am worried that that statement is still not clear on this very important question of whether or not a teacher or a principal is allowed to call ice to a report -- to report an undocumented student under federal law. a teacher or principal call ice to report and undocumented student undercuts -- under
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current law? sec. devos: i will refer back to the settled case in pilot versus dove -- plilar vs. dough. it's a students that are not documented have the right to an education. us tok it is incumbent on ensure those students have a safe and secure environment to attend school, learn, and i maintain that. >> let me ask the question again. is it ok that you are the secretary of education and there are a lot of schools that want guidance and want to understand what the law is -- is it ok fo a teacher or principal to call to report an undocumented student? sec. devos: i think that a school is a sacrament -- a place for students to learn. >> you seem to be the -- very purposely not giving a yes or no answer. i think there are a lot of educators that want to know whether this is permissible. mrs. devos: i think educators theyin their hearts that need to ensure that students
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have a safe place to learn. >> why are you not answering the question? mrs. devos: i think i am answering the question. >> the question is yes or no. can a principal call ice on a student? is that allowed? you are the secretary of education. mrs. devos: in a school setting, a student has the right to be there and the right to learn. everything surrounding that should protect that and enhance that student's opportunity and environment. >> so they can't call ice? sec. devos: i don't think they can. >> lasley, on your school safety commission, i guess i am trying to square again, this belief about not having one-size-fits-all with the goal of the commission to establish best practices. how do you do both? could you give a menu to schools
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that might not be terribly helpful? what would be helpful is to look at evidence. what works, what does not. you know my interest in making sure teachers are not armed. i would argue that if you look at the evidence, it won't point to any -- you in the direction of arming teachers. i am out of time. balance telling stew -- schools what workspace on the evidence versus not having one-size-fits-all presentation on issue of school safety? sec. devos: i don't think it is the role of the federal department of education to tell schools what they can and should do or can and should not do. it is the role for states and local communities to decide what is going to be best to protect their students. we know that there are countless legislatures at the state level debating how they are going to address these issues now. the role of the safety commission is to ensure that we raise up these practices and
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encourage states to look at them and communities to look at them. one of the first things we did was look at the reports following sandy hook, columbine and virginia tech. we looked at what has been adopted in places. that is being assessed. evidence-based approaches that have been demonstrated to work is what we have been looking at. we need to encourage those to be broadly adopted. >> thank you. >> thank you sen. murphy: senator reid? >> president trump advocated for fixing schools out of an infrastructure plan. the schools certainly needed. the american society of civil rating,s gives us a d+ about a $30 billion gap between necessary pairs to bring them up to standard. that is a level that can't be
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supported by states and localities along. one of the ironies is that we are spending money programmatically because the disrepair are not functional. the kids are not being well-educated not bee i don't have good teachers, but when a window is broken and the computers are damaged by rain and all those things. what are you doing to address those issues? what are you doing to get the president to get this into his infrastructure plan? for thats: thank you question. the specifics around school infrastructure were not part of the infrastructure proposal. that really does not fall under the purview of the department of education. to thessues are left state and local communities to deal with. i think that is best. that is where those are best addressed. >> the issue of addressing them
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goes to just like highways and roads and bridges, yes. without federal support, they won't be effectively addressed. we are spending a lot of time talking about educational reform, programmatic reform, enhancing teachers skills and etc., when kids are sitting in rooms where the ceilings are falling in, windows are broken, shouldn't you be advocating that the president incorporate this in his infrastructure plan? that this is critical to education? sec. devos: i obviously think that learning environments are important to students. i also think that we can have an opportunity to think a little more broadly as well. i visited a school last week that is a public middle school located in a public museum. the whole city is their classroom. these are the kinds of approaches that i think more schools can be thinking about and utilizing. i would encourage that because the world has changed. >> madam secretary, that is a
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novel, and perhaps unique experience. too many schools are without basic maintenance and funds for rehabilitation. it is an educational issue. do you not see the connection between a suitable school facility with adequate heat and windows and an education? that is disconnected. sec. devos: i do think it is an important part of the educational experience. >> you would advocate on educational issues that we do something for school infrastructure? sec. devos: infrastructure is a state and local issue. it is a matter for those entities to address and deal with to ensure that their students have the kind of environment that is conducive to their learning. >> so you are saying no. that the federal government should not be involved in providing support to schools for reconstruction and rehabilitation?
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sec. devos: it is not part of the president's plan or the administration's proposal. >> but it is part of the from thecation perspective of most people i know. students, teachers, and other people. your student loan program, it would make student loans for -- more expensive. ending loan forgiveness. this issue is problematic because we have heard comments from the department of defense that they use this loan forgiveness as a means to recruit personnel into the military. have you coordinated with the dod about the effect of rescinding loan forgiveness? sec. devos: we have been in conversation with dod about servicing our military and our veterans well. including the students of those families. about perspective
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or occurrence which would rely upon or could benefit from loan forgiveness. if it is taken away, they might decide that going into the service is not their best option. sec. devos: i hope we would be supportive of veterans and their careers and beyond. >> finally, the teacher grant -- teach grant program has tremendous issues. people have discovered that after they thought they spent years in a program that would allow them to have their loan forgiven that because of poor servicing, bad advice, they have failed. they don't get the relief they thought they would have. what are you doing to fix that servicing problem? i will look into that specific question and issue and get back with you on that. >> thank you, madam secretary. comingr senators are back. in the meantime, let me ask you this.
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a distinguished group of higher education officials had a chance at the request of bipartisan group of senators on this committee gave us a group of9 recommendations to cut through what they describe "the jungle of red tape" interfering with their administration of higher education. 12 of those are items that the department of education can deal with without legislative action. are those on your priority list? where do we stand with that? sec. devos: they are, senator. i will get back to you with the specifics of each one that are administratively able to be done. they are in varying degrees of processi forward. >> i want to make sure that those 12 items are things that you can do while we are still debating. when to move ahead with our
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higher education act or not. i hope that you can do that. they have broad support in the higher education system. there are 6000 plus institutions. one of the most common complaints that we hear from administrators is that for example, the university of maryland wants to offer online programs in this country and have to get approval from every single state. they recommended a change in that. that is something maybe we have to do. there are some things you can do. another area where you are moving ahead is the area of title ix. since 1999, when the supreme court concluded sex includes sexual harassment, we did not pass a law, with the congress did not pass a law finding what we mean by sexual-harassment, the department has not done any regulations in that area. all we have is letters and guidances. that is very confusing to the
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more than 6000 higher education institutions and 50,000 public schools who are governed by title ix. as a former university president, it would be helpful for me to know if i were in that business, exactly what is the definition of sexual harassment. when am i required to act under the federal law? what about off-campus incidents? what is a fair and impartial process? i would assume that since you have said and testified in the house that you are in a regulatory process that you can't talk about that very much because of the way our laws are written. what can you say to us if anything about the department's effort to regulate? let me say to begin with that i support what you are doing. it should have been done sometime ago.
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this is a very important area for the students and faculty members and administrators. they have a right to know what the federal law expects. if congress itself does not define these issues been the -- and then the only other proper way to do something of this importance is to do it through federal regulation. where interested people have a chance to make comments and you have a chance to consider them. a federal regulation will have the rule of law. these guidances and letters that have been popping out of the department of education on a variety of matters every other day, it seems like him are not supposed to have the force of law but it is very confusing to institutions. what can you say to the college and university presidents and high school principals about what the department is doing on title ix? what should they expect? sec. devos: thanks, senator, for that question. you and i have talked about this at some length. the guidance letter that the last administration put out with
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respect to this issue was one that has been very confusing for institutions. it is also one that has in many cases not really respected the due process rights of both parties involved in a complaint. we are focused on making sure that we do this in the proper way through formal regulatory process. we are in the midst of that process now. in the coming months, we will have a draft for comments. we are focused and intent on insuring that institutions will have clarity around their responsibilities in this area. and that the rights and due process rights are respected for all parties involved in such complaints. >> where does the regulatory process stand right now in terms
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of what you're doing? sec. devos: we are close to being able to release a draft for comment. >> let me switch back to another area that you have now reviewed. i think you said 46 state plans. sec. devos: we have approved 46. >> approved 46 state plans, , and four. that is about $18 million in a year that goes out to state and local governments. have you been encouraged by the plans? the idea of congress was to give -- what we were able to agree on in this committee, pretty remarkably, was that we wanted to continue the 17 federal tests and some other requirements and the desegregation of those
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tests. we wanted the public to know what our 50 million students and 100,000 public schools -- how they were doing and how the schools were doing. we continue that. that is quite a bit of federal involvement. we wanted local governments to have the responsibility for what to do about the results of the test. have you seen many states take advantage of this new flexibility and a good way? sec. devos: a number of the states are actually approaching this question with some level of creativity and intentionality to ensure that this information is widely shared and that it is very accessible to students and parents. i think the rubber will meet the road in the next year or so. when they have it fully implemented. i know that we have continued to encourage states to seize all of
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the opportunities they have for flexibility in those areas and will continue to do so. i think as states implement them, it will become obvious of variation and approaches and hopefully states will learn from one another. >> i will turn this back over to the chairman. it would be fair to say that we are not likely to get a fair and complete picture of how the states plans operate until we see them actually operate. perhaps some of the questions that the senators have about whether states are doing what senators and congressman intend for them to do will be clearer. sec. devos: exactly. thank youldwin: >> mr. chairman. -- secretaryvos
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devos, you and i have agreed on cte in private meetings and previous hearings before this. and the health committee. once again, your proposed budget fails to significantly invest in these programs. i am pleased that unlike your fiscal 2018 budget proposal, there are no cuts to programs under the career and technical education act. however, i am disappointed that the budget simply requests fiscal year 2017 level funding for the perkins basic state grant program. and once again, it seeks to cut two k-12 programs that can support career and technical education and stem, namely student support and academic enrichment grant and the 21st century community learning centers grant.
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you talked about the need to strengthen investments in high-quality career and technical education programs and stem education. but the budget proposal doesn't back that up. why does flat funding and even cutting funding for these programs support this -- your commitment to career and technical education and stem if they are indeed priorities for you? secretary devos: thank you, senator, for that question. to put the budget more in context, when the budget was proposed, it was within the parameters of the broader administration budget proposal so decisions had to be made around programs that were most effective in reaching students and the needs they had. that resulted in the proposed elimination of a couple programs that you have referred to, because they are spread thinly and been monstrated to be not particularly effective.
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that said, any line item that has been basically flat funded -- proposed to be flat funded from 2017 is considered a high priority by the administration, so career and technical investments continue to receive that kind of support. we have also made a proposal for short-term pell grants and recognizing that students are not traditional -- there are not as many traditional students today, and that high-quality short-term certification , programs through pell would provide students a lot of other opportunities to pursue some of these career and technical programs they may not be able to otherwise. senator baldwin: on the last point, i appreciate that. that is a policy change i have been seeking to make for some time, recognizing the need for
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sometimes short-term -- shorter-term programs and things that lead to a credential that would otherwise be un-aidable. when you say flat funding is what you are doing for your most high-priority programs, that is disappointing. let me move to college affordability. in your testimony, you suggest your budget hones the focus of the department's mission. "serving students by meeting their needs." just as it did last year, your budget proposal would make college less affordable for students in my state, wisconsin, and across the country. it again targets three campus-based programs, perkins loans, federal work study, and supplemental educational opportunity grants, all of which allow campuses to target financial aid to the students they know to be in need.
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it slashes them all, cutting work-study in half, or a most half, and supporting an end to the perkins program. it could eliminate in the state of wisconsin roughly $461 million in aid for wisconsin students. it also cuts billions from other programs to make college more affordable, including by illuminating federal subsidized loans and the public service loan forgiveness program. as you know, college costs rise and push the promise of higher education out of reach to more young people. how do these massive cuts to federal financial aid programs for the your department's mission "to serve students by meeting their needs?" secretary devos: thank you senator for that question. in reference to a couple of the programs you cited, the perkins program has been continually
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phased out by congress, so i guess the budget reflects a continuation of that. the work-study program, we continue to propose funding work-study, but really focused on the students that are in the baccalaureate programs versus the graduate programs. the elimination is really for graduate level work study. the bigger question about how can we make sure students have opportunity to pursue higher education, it refers back to, again, supporting a multitude of pathways. then also for students that take on debt in order to do so, really streamlining that experience and then their retained meant. we have made proposals for income-driven repayment programs that is more robust for them, it can be counted on for the
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students who elect that option, and we think that will help students that heretofore have not been able to pursuhigher ed in a longer-term, meaningful way, to be able to do so. we are focused on finding ways to make sure that students that are most in need of these opportunities are able to access them, then have good options for the back end in repaying. >> thank you, senator. we have two more members. we will try to finish up right at noon. senator kennedy, you are first followed by senator rubio. senator kennedy: madam secretary, welcome. if you add up all state local, , and federal dollars, we spend to 12, my understanding is we spend on average in the united states about $13,000 per
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public school student. does that sound about right? secretary devos: that does. senator kennedy: i also understand we rank about the same as slovakia, which spends about half the money. is that right? secretary devos: i think that would be about right. senator kennedy: name the one single thing that congress could do in your considered judgment to improve elementary and secondary education on the public side in america. secretary devos: the one single thing that congress -- senator kennedy: the most important. secretary devos: that would be to empower parents to especially low income parents to find and choose the right education setting for their child. on the one hand. and to really embrace and support individual local public schools to be creative and innovative with how they meet their students' needs, so we don't see the kind of
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one-size-fits-all approaches that are prevalent in many states across the country. senator kennedy: this is just one person's opinion, madam secretary, and i think you are doing a wonderful job, by the way. i think a lot of our policymakers don't understand what our public schools are like today. they don't. that is true at the state and local level. i think it is also true at the federal level. we can't control what our colleagues at the state and local level do. but we can control what we at the federal level do, and i am going to make a gentle suggestion to you. start with the upper echelon folks at the department of education. how you define that will be up to you. eventually, i would like to extend this, i would like you to consider extending this to every policymaker in the department of education. ask them to volunteer to
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substitute teach at least once in a public school. not a private school, in an inner city public school. i don't mean going in and talking to the civics class about how a bill becomes a lot. i mean signing up as a substitute. all you need is a ba degree, or bs and you go to an orientation. you are a substitute teacher and you start at a quarter to seven and you go to 2:45 and you either do bus or lunchroom duty. it is you and 25 or 30 kids. and you are going to learn some stuff. would you consider doing that? secretary devos: i think it is a great idea, and i think we have an example that i am looking at right now. as i understand, you do this two or three times a year in louisiana.
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senator kennedy: yeah, what you see is how hard it is to be a teacher. teachers -- they don't just have to teach. they have to be mommas and daddies and social workers and psychologist. it is so much harder being a kid today. these younger people are seeing things in the sixth grade that i didn't even know about until i was in college. and i think a lot of our policymakers have lost sight of that. it is easy to tell teachers just maintain discipline in the classroom. but in a lot of our schools, violence is common and learning is rare. and it seems to me that is an appropriate place to start. here's my final question. the cost of a college education has gone up since 1985. more than the cost of health care, which is breathtaking. do you believe the value of a college education has gone up
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commensurate with its cost? secretary devos: i think that is a good question and i think that varies from place to place and from institution to institution, and i think we can be helpful in helping students and parents evaluate these questions and issues. senator kennedy: what is the one thing we can do to lower the cost? secretary devos: i don't know there is one thing to lower the cost. i think that allowing for a lot more innovation in higher education is one area that has to be explored, and it has to be allowed to happen, because again, the world has changed in every other area except primarily the world of education. >> thank you, secretary. senator rubio: one of the things that struck me in the aftermath of parkland was even before the authorities had released the
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name of the shooter, all of the students knew who it was. everybody knew who it was. we now know, for example, this student -- this killer had been suspended 67 days in a single year for things like bringing bullets to campus, claiming he sold knives, drawing swastikas and hate speech on his book bags. a series of other offenses. any number of which, including off-campus, would have had him formally reported to law enforcement and added to the system that would prevented him from purchasing a firearm. as your department has reviewed the school discipline policies nationally and in particular in broward county, what do we know to this point about the school discipline policy in broward or national? secretary devos: thank you for the question senator. , this policy is part of the menu of items the school safety commission is charged with considering. we are looking at and evaluating the policy. clearly, the goal of the policy,
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to ensure that no student is discriminated against in discipline situations, is a valid and noble goal, and we certainly embrace that. the question is, is the policy doing harm in some way? we are in the middle of reviewing that and considering that, and it will be part of the work of this commission to come out with the result and recommendation. senator rubio: indeed, the goal is to prevent school discipline policies from having an unfair impact on minority students. i agree with that. no one wants to see minority students disproportionately or unfairly impacted. do we know that as a direct result of the guidance, has the department found any schools or school districts that have discipline policies that violate civil rights? secretary devos: we are in the process of reviewing that and i don't have anything to add at this moment about it, but will soon. senator rubio: do we know how many have been investigated for
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potential violations leading up to your time at the department? secretary devos: i don't have that number now but i can get that to your office. senator rubio: my la question is, clearly the intent of this discipline guidance issued under the previous administration could not have been meant to prevent teachers from reporting a student to law enforcement when the student commits an act that may result in them being prohibitive from legally purchasing a firearm. clearly that should not be the intent of the policy. i hope to encourage you to be supportive of it, to issue a first impression. i'm not even sure we have shared it -- we might have shared it with your office already. it is legislation that i have introduced called abcs and school discipline, and moved it -- it would provide clear guidance on this, that the discipline policy of our school districts should in no way prevent teachers from reporting a student to law enforcement when the student commits an act that may result in them being prohibited from legally purchasing a firearm later on
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for obvious reasons, and so i hope that is something that we can put in place so something like this may never, ever happen again. i think -- i am fine. thank you for being here. >> thank you, senator rubio and thank you secretary devos for being here today. the record will stay open for one week for additional questions and the subcommittee -- >> if i could make one statement, simply because this has been raised a couple times here. secretary devos, you know i disagree with much of what you said. when we wrote the bipartisan act, we agreed the performance of students who have historically struggled must be factored in when states measure overall school performance. the wall street journal has reported that a state may award and 'a' letter grade to a school even if 40% of african-american students can read at grade level.
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that is exactly why we put in those provisions. i don't think you would give an 'a' to a students about 40% of answer is right, and it is not fair that african-american families could be told they are going to an 'a' rated school if 40% of students are reading at grade level. i disagree with this conversation that has occurred today and i want to reiterate, my staffer tested multiple times that your department provide bipartisan staff briefings on this so we can examine this. i reiterate that request today. secretary devos thank you, : senator. i'm sorry, i didn't ask if you -- you might >> thank you, senator. i'm sorry, i didn't ask if you had anything to add. on the topic of being responsive to the committee, that is important. it needs to happen. everybody could be better at it, but i think it is a priority, and it gets you a long way by just providing the information when it is asked for as quickly
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and frankly if you are working on things that you know will be a problem with the committee, to step forward with that, as well. secretary devos: i could just say, we have asked and invited senator murray on multiple occasions to talk about the specific issues she has had questions on. we will continue to do so and we welcome the opportunity. senator blunt: thank you for being here. the record will stay open for one week for additional questions. the subcommittee stands in recess. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [crowd talking]
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>> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and today, we continued to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. purduegia senator david was one of the speakers at this year's faith and freedom coalition conference. he talked about the national debt, changes to the dodd frank financial regulation law, and term limits for members of congress. this is just over 10 minutes. ♪ sen. david perdue: thank you. thank you. it is such an honor for me to be

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