Biden admin relaxes rules for student debt forgiveness
The Biden administration is moving forward with an overhaul of several student debt forgiveness programs, aiming to make it easier for borrowers to get cancellation if they are duped by their colleges or if they put in a decade of work as public servants.
Libertarian group sues to block student debt cancellation
A libertarian group in California filed a legal challenge to President Joe Biden’s plan for student debt cancellation on Tuesday, calling it an illegal overreach that would increase state tax burdens for some Americans who get their debt forgiven.
American Federation of Teachers president calls for schools to fully reopen in the fall
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updating its mask-wearing and COVID-19 testing guidance, the president of the American Federation of Teachers said all children should be back in school five days a week in the fall.
School survey shows 'critical gaps' for in-person learning
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the findings, while encouraging, also showed “critical gaps” for in-person learning, especially for students of color. In January, 38% of fourth graders were learning full-time in-person, compared with 28% of eighth graders, the survey found. Among fourth graders, almost half of white students were learning fully in-person, with just over one-quarter learning online. Just 42% of those with disabilities and 34% learning English were enrolled in full-time classroom learning, compared with 38% of all students. AdAmong students learning online, the survey found, the amount of time spent with a live teacher also varied greatly.
Students who got partial loan relief to see full discharge
WASHINGTON – Thousands of students defrauded by for-profit schools will have their federal loans fully erased, the Biden administration announced Thursday, reversing a Trump administration policy that had given them only partial relief. The change could lead to $1 billion in loans being canceled for 72,000 borrowers, all of whom attended for-profit schools, the Education Department said. The borrower defense to repayment program allows students to have their federal loans canceled if they were defrauded by their schools. The Education Department said a total of 343,331 applications for relief under borrower defense had been received as of Feb. 28. Sen. Patty Murray, who heads the Senate committee overseeing education, said DeVos used “faulty math” to deny student full relief.
Expanded testing part of Biden administration school plans
As part of that effort, first lady Jill Biden visited a school in New Hampshire on Wednesday. Also Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced $10 billion for states to support school COVID-19 testing programs. The Education Department said first lady Jill Biden will deliver opening remarks. The Education Department will begin making the money available this month. AdPresident Biden has ordered states to prioritize teachers in their vaccination plans, and the CDC has released guidelines to help schools reopen.
The road show begins: VP Harris, Jill Biden promote aid plan
President Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 relief package in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, March 15, 2021, in Washington. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses have launched an ambitious tour this week to promote the $1.9 trillion plan as a way to battle the pandemic and boost the economy. “We want to avoid a situation where people are unaware of what they’re entitled to,” Harris said at the culinary academy. “Shots in arms and money in pockets,” Biden said at the White House. And he mocked Biden's talk of Americans working toward merely being able to gather in small groups by July 4th as “bizarre.”The Biden plan cleared Congress without any backing from Republicans, despite polling that found broad public support.
It's back to school for Jill Biden and new education chief
AdBiden and Cardona also visited a Pennsylvania middle school on Wednesday. To help nudge that along, Biden said Tuesday he is pushing states to administer at least one coronavirus vaccination to every teacher, school employee and child-care worker by the end of March. He said the president’s directive that teachers and school staff be vaccinated quickly will be “my top priority.”Later Wednesday, Biden and Cardona visited Fort LeBoeuf Middle School in Waterford, Pennsylvania, where parents told them they appreciated that the school district had sought their opinion about reopening. She and Cardona also visited a robotics class at the middle school and a class for students who need or want a little extra push. Biden asked the teacher in the sensory room whether she had seen anxiety in children increasing because of the pandemic.
Biden's Cabinet half-empty after slow start in confirmations
Also pictured is Secretary of State Antony Blinken, second from right, and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, third from right. Among Biden’s 23 nominees with Cabinet rank, just 13 have been confirmed by the Senate, or a little over half. On Tuesday, Biden's Cabinet was thrown into further uncertainty when his nominee to lead the White House budget office, Neera Tanden, withdrew from consideration after her nomination faced opposition from key senators on both sides of the aisle. That must change.”The Biden administration has prioritized confirming those nominees who are key to national security, the economy and public health decisions. The Biden administration has not been completely hamstrung by the slow pace of confirmations, however.
Biden's Cabinet half-empty after slow start in confirmations
Also pictured is Secretary of State Antony Blinken, second from right, and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, third from right. Among Biden’s 23 nominees with Cabinet rank, just 13 have been confirmed by the Senate, or a little over half. On Tuesday, Biden's cabinet was thrown into further uncertainty when his nominee to lead the White House budget office, Neera Tanden, withdrew from consideration after her nomination faced opposition from key senators on both sides of the aisle. That must change.”The Biden administration has prioritized confirming those nominees who are key to national security, the economy and public health decisions. The Biden administration has not been completely hamstrung by the slow pace of confirmations, however.
Senate confirms Cardona as Biden's education secretary
FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2021, file photo, Education Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate has confirmed him as Education Secretary on March 1. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)The Senate voted Monday to confirm Miguel Cardona as education secretary, clearing his way to lead President Joe Biden’s effort to reopen the nation’s schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. AdCardona, who gained attention for his efforts to reopen schools in Connecticut, has vowed to make it his top priority to reopen schools. In an increasingly fractionalized world of education, Cardona has vowed to be a unifier.
Enrollment at US community colleges plummets amid pandemic
More Americans typically turn to community college education amid economic downturns, seeking to learn new job skills or change careers. That troubles advocates and policy makers who cite community colleges as important options for low-income Americans. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, the community colleges enrollment decrease was most pronounced among Black students and Native Americans, groups that both experienced 13% declines over the last year. White and Hispanic community college enrollment fell 10% and Asian enrollment dropped 5%. About 60% of Phoenix College's students are racial minorities, but officials said it’s too early to determine whether minorities experienced disproportionate declines.
White House says it will defer to CDC on reopening schools
Facing criticism that President Joe Biden has not acted aggressively enough on reopening schools, the White House on Thursday said it’s aiming for a full reopening but will defer to science experts on how to achieve it in the middle of a pandemic. The White House drew criticism this week when it said schools would be considered opened if they teach in-person at least one day a week. “I can assure any parent listening that his objective, his commitment, is to ensuring schools are open five days a week,” Psaki said at a press briefing. And this week, the White House said schools would be considered open as long as they teach in-person once a week. Asked why parents should be satisfied with just one day of in-person teaching per week, Psaki appeared to back away from her previous stance.
Reopening debate testing Biden's ties with teachers unions
Some believed it discredited teachers unions that have demanded vaccines before returning to in-person instruction. With the right mix of safety measures in places, teachers unions generally agree the vaccines aren't a condition for reopening. AdBut the plan has drawn fire from critics who say Biden is cowing to teachers unions who see him as an ally. Both of the nation’s two major teachers unions endorsed Biden for president, including the National Education Association, whose 3 million members include first lady Jill Biden, who is a longtime community college professor. Gavin Newsom cited Walensky’s comment as evidence that it’s safe to reopen schools before all teachers get vaccines.
Education nominee pledges new guidance, more virus testing
Education Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. On school choice, Cardona said it’s important that families have education options, but that a quality public school must be one of them. Public schools are “the bedrock of our country,” he said, adding that most students attend public schools. AdHis deep roots in public education helped him stand out as a contender to lead the Education Department. During his presidential campaign, Biden had promised to nominate someone with experience in public education.
Biden: Cardona right pick to lead education through pandemic
FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2017, photo, flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the Education Department in Washington. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen the education commissioner for Connecticut and a former public school teacher to serve as education secretary. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)President-elect Joe Biden introduced Miguel Cardona as his pick for education secretary on Wednesday, saying Connecticut's education chief and life-long champion of public schools is the right pick to lead the department as the nation struggles to educate students safely during the pandemic. But despite their occasional conflict with him, a coalition of Connecticut education unions supported his candidacy as Biden's education secretary. Beyond the pandemic, Biden's education secretary will also be tasked with reversing an array of policies enacted by DeVos.
Biden picks Connecticut schools chief as education secretary
FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2017, photo, flags decorate a space outside the office of the Education Secretary at the Education Department in Washington. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen the education commissioner for Connecticut and a former public school teacher to serve as education secretary. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Miguel Cardona, Connecticut's education chief and a lifelong champion of public schools, to serve as education secretary. The selection delivers on Biden’s promise to nominate someone with experience working in public education and would fulfill his goal of installing an education chief who stands in sharp contrast to Secretary Betsy DeVos. Despite their occasional conflict with him, a coalition of Connecticut education unions supported his candidacy as Biden's education secretary.