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Congress Confronts a Balancing Act Between Education Research Data and Student Privacy Rights


“During a U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, lawmakers heard testimony on the federal government’s role in making sure researchers and education technology companies are able to use student data in meaningful ways while keeping sensitive information secure from hackers and companies looking to exploit the information for profit…Neil Campbell, the director of next generation reforms at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, told the committee effective privacy policies require “a delicate balance” between parents’ desire for privacy and innovation in schools…“As important as research is,” Campbell said, “we know it is even more important to protect students’ privacy.””(more)

Federal proposal seeks to create summer and youth jobs

The Washington Post – Steven Mufson

“The Obama administration unveiled a $5.5 billion proposal to create summer and first-time jobs for youths over four years and a $2 billion scheme to create apprenticeships over five years, the latest in a series of ideas that will be included in the federal budget plan next week. The proposals — part of a $12.5 billion package of new spending over five years — includes $3 billion to train people to lure firms to the United States from abroad or to keep them from leaving. The administration also plans to ask Congress to approve $2 billion in competitive grants that would be jointly administered by the Labor and Education Departments. The budget, especially in a president’s eighth year, is often more of an aspirational document than a real-life tax and spending plan, but President Obama has vowed to search for additional common ground with Congress during his final year in office.”(more)

It Just Got Easier to Cut College Costs with a 529 Savings Plan

Time – Dan Kadlec

“…Congress recently added computers to the list of expenses that can be paid for with tax-sheltered money from a 529 college savings plan. Up till now, college students had to prove that owning a computer or tablet was required by the school in order to justify the expense for 529 purposes…These changes are intended to help 529 plans remain relevant as the college experience evolves.”(more)

Why 2015 was a benchmark year for early childhood education

The Hechinger Report – Kris Perry

“Early childhood education once again emerged as the bipartisan winner in a year marked by deep political polarization. In fact, Congress gave early childhood education more attention this year than almost any other issue — and capped it off by matching good intentions with great funding for programs from birth to preschool and beyond…Most importantly, early childhood education was recognized as a critical part of the nation’s education system in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The nation’s largest education bill now includes historic support for states that have been making early childhood education a top priority.”(more)

Senate Approves Every Student Succeeds Act, Obama to Sign

Education News – Matthew Tabor

“In a bipartisan 85-12 vote today, the United States Senate has approved the Every Student Succeeds Act — the replacement for No Child Left Behind, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — in the ESEA’s first overhaul in over a decade. ESSA represents a major shift in the influence of the federal government on education policy. States, rather than the federal government, will gain significantly more responsibility for turning around failing schools, evaluating teachers and holding schools accountable for achievement. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the Every Student Succeeds Act into law on Thursday.”(more)

Congress Prepares to Launch a New Era in Education Policy

The Atlantic – Russell Berman

“In the next few weeks, a bipartisan majority in Congress is likely to pass a law that, in various ways, repudiates the education legacies of both the Bush and Obama presidencies…The overhaul is years in the making—Congress has been due to reauthorize the underlying Elementary and Secondary Education Act since 2007. And in the absence of action on Capitol Hill, the Department of Education has amassed even greater power by negotiating waivers with 42 of the 50 states to exempt them from the law’s sanctions, which included the potential closure of schools…While some federal benchmarks for accountability will remain in place, the new bill gives much more latitude to the states and restricts the ability of the secretary of education to punish or reward them based on their progress.”(more)