Millions return to in-person classes despite huge jump in COVID cases and calls for remote learning
Districts that have opted for virtual learning this winter are firmly in the minority right now. Only about 100 of the nation's over 13,000 school districts are opting for virtual learning this winter despite surging case numbers.cbsnews.com
Harris says Americans under the pressures of student loan debt 'are literally making decisions about whether they can have a family, whether they can buy a home'
Harris said the administration has to "figure out how we can creatively relieve the pressure that students are feeling because of their student loan debt."news.yahoo.com
EXPLAINER: What's behind changes in student loan forgiveness
Student Loan Forgiveness In this Sept. 30, 2021, file photo, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Biden administration is moving to relax the rules for a student loan forgiveness program that has been criticized for its notoriously complex requirements. It promised that if employees of governments or nonprofit groups made 10 years of monthly payments on their federal student loans, the remainder would be canceled. Along with expanding payment eligibility, the Education Department is making other changes to address past problems. The Education Department said it’s exploring a variety of changes, including possible partnerships with employers, to make it easier for public servants to apply for loan forgiveness.wftv.com
Biden administration overhauls student loan forgiveness program for public-sector workers
The Biden administration is overhauling the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The Department of Education said the changes could benefit more than 550,000 public-sector workers. Seth Frotman, the executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center, joins CBSN's Lana Zak to discuss the changes and who might qualify.news.yahoo.com
Troubled student loan forgiveness program gets an overhaul
Student Loan Forgiveness In this Sept. 30, 2021, file photo, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Biden administration is moving to relax the rules for a student loan forgiveness program that has been criticized for its notoriously complex requirements. The Education Department says it will temporarily drop some of the toughest requirements around the program, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which was launched in 2007 to steer more college graduates into public service. "Borrowers who devote a decade of their lives to public service should be able to rely on the promise of Public Service Loan Forgiveness," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. It’s a particular boon for borrowers with Federal Family Education Loans, from a defunct loan program that issued federally backed loans through banks.wftv.com
1st Florida school district gets US cash for virus mask vote
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — (AP) — A Florida school district has received cash from President Joe Biden's administration to make up for state pay cuts imposed over a board's vote for a student anti-coronavirus mask mandate. Alachua County school Superintendent Carlee Simon said in a news release Thursday the district has received $148,000 through a U.S. Department of Education program. Simon says Alachua, where Gainesville and the University of Florida are located, is the first district in the nation to receive such a grant. Ron DeSantis and state education officials have begun cutting salaries paid to school board members in Florida who voted to require masks for students. In Alachua County, the pay reductions so far for four school board members who voted for the mask mandate amounted to $27,000, Simon said.wftv.com
Push for Native American curriculum in schools makes gains
Native American Curriculum A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. The push for curriculum requirements has not been without challenges, with some legislatures deeming new laws unnecessary because Native American history already is reflected in school curriculum. Kristi Noem's administration deleted from their draft recommendations many elements intended to bolster students' understanding of Native American history and culture. The Connecticut legislation makes it mandatory for schools to teach Native American studies starting with the 2023-2024 school year.wftv.com
State mask bans face federal civil rights inquiries
(AP Photo/Brittainy Newman) (Brittainy Newman)The Education Department announced Monday that it’s investigating five Republican-led states with universal mask bans, saying the policies could amount to discrimination against students with disabilities or health conditions. The department’s Office for Civil Rights sent letters to education chiefs in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. The state policies conflict with guidance from the from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends universal mask wearing for students and teachers in the classroom. If the investigations determine that the state mask bans have discriminated against students with disabilities, it could lead to sanctions including a loss of federal education funding. The department said it has not opened investigations in other states where mask bans have been overturned by courts or are not being enforced, including in Florida, Texas, Arkansas and Arizona.wftv.com
Coronavirus: FDA grants full approval of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Monday gave full approval to the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech as the delta variant of the virus continues to drive new infections and hospitalizations nationwide. >> Read more trending newsThe announcement, first reported Monday by The Washington Post, made the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine the first to earn full approval from the FDA. Full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected to allow for more public and private organizations to mandate COVID-19 vaccination, according to The New York Times. Jay Inslee has mandated COVID-19 vaccination for all K-12 and higher education employees, according to KIRO-TV. Nearly 212 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, resulting in 4.4 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.wftv.com
Federal government takes notice of South Carolina's stance on masks in schools
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has sent a letter to South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Department of Education Superintendent Molly Spearman, warning against policies that prevent school districts from requiring masks.news.yahoo.com
US to erase student debt for those with severe disabilities
(AP Photo/Brittainy Newman) (Brittainy Newman)The Biden administration announced Thursday it will automatically erase student loan debt for more than 300,000 Americans with severe disabilities that leave them unable to earn significant incomes. The federal government offers student debt relief for people who are “totally and permanently disabled” and have limited incomes. Starting in September, the Education Department will start erasing student debt for 323,000 Americans identified in Social Security records as being permanently disabled. “This is going to be a smooth process for our borrowers,” Cardona said in a call with reporters. Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, N.Y., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Mass., have called on Biden to erase $50,000 in student debt for all borrowers as a way to jumpstart the economy.wftv.com
States banning mask mandates could face civil rights probes
The agency can launch its own investigations into potential violations, and it also responds to civil rights complaints from parents and the public. He added that states banning mask mandates are “needlessly placing students, families and educators at risk.”The agency’s Office for Civil Rights can issue a range of sanctions up to a total loss of federal education funding in cases of civil rights violations. Ron DeSantis has pressed ahead with a ban on school mask requirements, and the state’s education officials are now weighing whether to withhold salaries of some superintendents that have defied the order. In other states that have barred mandates, leaders say it should be up to families to decide. Protesters who oppose mask mandates have taken to state and local school board meetings in recent weeks, in some cases derailing the meetings.wftv.com
U.S. Department of Education ‘Stands With You,’ It Tells Florida Superintendents Willing to Enact Mask Mandates
Ron DeSantis’ executive order seeking to ban school mask mandates and is ready to help districts directly, the federal agency said in a letter to the governor Friday. The letter also said President Joe Biden’s administration will work with school districts and educators directly if the Florida Department of Education does not distribute federal pandemic aid to the districts. In a separate letter to Florida district superintendents Friday, Cardona wrote that the U.S. Department of Education “stands with you” in enacting universal student mask policies despite the state’s efforts to prohibit them. State education officials have argued the mandate violates a Florida Department of Health rule that helped carry out DeSantis’ July 30 executive order against mandatory masks. Corcoran wrote a letter Tuesday to Broward school officials demanding a response “documenting how your district is complying” with the health department rule.flaglerlive.com
White House Says Florida School Officials Penalized over Mask-Mandate Ban Could Be Federally Reimbursed
The Biden administration sent a letter to Republican Florida governor Ron DeSantis suggesting that any school officials penalized over the state's ban of mask mandates could be reimbursed with federal funds.news.yahoo.com
Feds raise concern about Florida school mask ban, offer direct support to districts
The U.S. Department of Education is “deeply concerned” about Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order seeking to ban school mask mandates and is ready to help districts directly, the federal agency said in a letter to the governor Friday.
U.S. Education Secretary to DeSantis: DOE “stands with educators” on COVID policies
ORLANDO, Fla. — In a letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona vowed to use federal funds to pay educators who have their salaries withheld by the state. The letter, also addressed to Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, cites recent actions by the state to block school districts from adopting policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. DeSantis to reverse order blocking COVID mandates in schoolsOn @WFTV US DOE Secretary Miguel Cardona tells Florida's superintendents the @usedgov "stands with you". In his letter to DeSantis and Corcoran, Cardona emphasized his position that the U.S. Department of Education “stands with educators” who are working to safely reopen schools. READ: Parents sue DeSantis, school districts over not enforcing face masksCardona sent a similarly-worded letter directly to the state’s superintendents, re-emphasizing his department’s support.wftv.com
Biden admin backs Texas, Florida districts on mask mandates
Virus Outbreak Mask Wars GOP In this Aug. 10, 2021, photo, Florida Gov. In a pair of open letters from Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, the administration condemned the orders from Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida which contravene public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But if you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way,” Biden said earlier this month. Cardona's letter makes clear that federal funds can also be used for contact tracing.wftv.com
Education leaders emphasize safety measures during reopening schools summit
The U.S. Department of Education’s National Safe School Reopening Summit included guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with testimony from districts across the country on best practices from operating this year during the coronavirus pandemic. Those five strategies include universal and correct mask wearing, physical distancing, handwashing, cleaning and using testing and contact tracing. The summit also included school districts from across the country weighing in on what’s worked for them this year. There was also a Q&A portion that included questions answered by a spokesperson from the CDC, along with someone from the Department of Education. They tackled questions such as how can schools re-open safely if not everyone is vaccinated?
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 at schools part of Biden administration plans for in-person learning
The states will share $122 billion for K-12 schools, with allocations ranging from $285 million for Vermont schools to $15 billion for California, according to the Education Department. 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.
President Biden, others promote $1,400 direct payments in coronavirus relief 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. “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. In addition to the president, vice president and their spouses, Cabinet secretaries will also be out on the tour.
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
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. 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 President Donald Trump's Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. In introducing Cardona, Biden noted his focus to broaden remote learning across communities in need and ensure schools in his state had appropriate safety gear. 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.