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House to vote on bipartisan Holocaust education bill


Editor’s Note: This edition of Morning Education is published weekdays at 10 a.m. POLITICO Pro Education subscribers hold exclusive early access to the newsletter each morning at 6 a.m. Learn more about POLITICO Pro’s comprehensive policy intelligence coverage, policy tools and services at politicopro.com.

— The House today is voting on bipartisan legislation to authorize new federal funding to help schools teach students about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.

— A new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality finds improvements in how colleges are preparing elementary school teachers to teach reading.

— Education Secretary Betsy DeVos heads to Missouri today. She’ll tout her efforts to rein in the federal role in education to a local Federalist Society gathering.

IT’S MONDAY, JAN. 27. WELCOME TO MORNING EDUCATION. Drop me a line with your tips and feedback: mstratford@politico.com or @mstratford. Share event listings: educalendar@politicopro.com. And follow us on Twitter: @Morning_Edu and @POLITICOPro.

HOUSE VOTES ON BIPARTISAN HOLOCAUST EDUCATION BILL: The bill, dubbed the Never Again Education Act, H.R. 943 (116), would authorize $10 million over five years in new federal funding to help the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum expand programming to teachers and provide accurate materials for educating students about the Holocaust and lessons about preventing hate and bigotry. The legislation also requires the Holocaust Museum to expand a website dedicated to providing teachers with curriculum materials and other resources for Holocaust instruction — and to boost its professional development and teacher trainings.

— Nearly 300 House members have signed onto the legislation, which is being led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.). The vote comes on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

— A string of hate-motivated shootings and anti-Semitic attacks in recent years have fueled calls in Congress and state capitals for improving instruction about the Holocaust in U.S. schools. Only a dozen states require Holocaust education in schools by law.

— Companion legislation, S. 2085 (116), was introduced in the Senate last July by Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

— An earlier version of the House bill contemplated a grant program run by the Education Department, but sponsors of the bill have since decided the Holocaust Museum is a more appropriate place to house the program, according to an aide.

— The House will vote on the measure today under a suspension of the rules, according to the floor schedule released by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

ALSO HAPPENING IN THE HOUSE THIS WEEK — STUDENT LOAN LEGISLATION: House Democrats are moving ahead this week with a package of bills related to consumer credit reporting, including legislation that would provide new benefits and protections to private student loan borrowers who fall behind on their payments.

— The House is expected to vote this week on the bill, the Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act, H.R. 3621 (116), which would allow private student loan borrowers to “rehabilitate” their defaulted or delinquent loan by making nine on-time “affordable and reasonable” monthly payments. Credit reporting agencies would be required to remove any adverse marks on a borrower’s credit history after he or she completes the rehabilitation. That’s a protection that mirrors the “rehabilitation” benefit that all federal student loan borrowers currently enjoy.

— The legislation, which is sponsored by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), passed out of the House Financial Services Committee last year on a party-line vote. House Republicans have opposed the measure, saying it fails to address underlying issues with rising student loan debt and “is a solution in search of a problem.”

— The House Rules Committee meets today at 5 p.m. to take up the package of bills. Among the proposed amendments is a GAO study of rehabilitation of private student loans by military servicemembers and veterans. The legislation is expected to be on the House floor later this week.

REPORT FINDS ADVANCES IN HOW TEACHERS LEARN TO TEACH READING: More than half of the roughly 1,000 teacher preparation programs examined by NCTQ provided what the group considers to be adequate training that equips teachers with expertise in reading instruction.

— The share of teacher preparation programs earning either an “A” or “B” on NCTQ’s scorecard this year was 51 percent — up from 35 percent when it first began evaluating the programs seven years ago. The group said these highly rated programs have embraced the “science of reading,” meaning they prepare aspiring teachers to teach reading based on scientific research on how students learn to read. (Watch a video on its methodology, or read the full report.)

— Kate Walsh, the group’s president, praised the gains made by teacher preparation programs as “a real shot in the arm” to efforts to combat illiteracy. “The resistance to teaching what is scientifically-based has been so formidable,” she said in a statement. “The scale is now tipping in favor of science, and the real winners here are the students who will learn to read.”

— DeVos responded to the report by blasting colleges’ teacher preparation programs: “When nearly half of our nation’s teaching colleges are teaching future teachers what amounts to junk science, it’s no wonder nearly half of our nation’s low-income 8th graders are functionally illiterate,” she said in a statement. “How can anyone sit by and let this continue? How can even one college continue with a discredited curriculum? We know how to teach kids how to read. We just need to equip teachers with the fact-based, proven science to do it.”

DEVOS TO ADDRESS FEDERALIST SOCIETY IN MISSOURI: DeVos will be at the Missouri state capitol this morning speaking to the Federalist Society’s Annual Missouri Chapters Conference. DeVos will “highlight actions she has taken to attack federal overreach, restore due process, and defend Constitutional rights for America’s students,” the Education Department said. She’ll also tout her plan for a new federal tax credit to promote school choice.

CFPB PUTS NEW LIMITS ON HOW IT REGULATES ‘ABUSIVE’ PRACTICES: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday issued a new policy on how it will go after companies for “abusive” practices against consumers, imposing new restrictions on when the agency will bring those types of enforcement actions under federal consumer protection law.

— The new policy outlines how the CFPB will enforce the Dodd-Frank Act’s prohibition on companies engaging in “abusive” practices, providing a clarification that business groups have long sought. POLITICO’s Katy O’Donnell has more on the new policy.

— Among the changes: The CFPB will focus on going after “abusive” conduct if it concludes that the harm to consumers outweighs the benefits. The CFPB will no longer pursue claims of abusiveness against a company in tandem with claims of unfairness or deception when they all stem from the same conduct. And the agency said it generally won’t seek monetary damages against a company for “abusive” practices if the company has made a “good-faith effort” to comply with the law.

— Why it matters: Some of the CFPB’s major cases against for-profit colleges and student loan companies have involved the “abusive” standard. That includes the bureau’s enforcement action against ITT Tech and its ongoing lawsuit against Navient.

HOUSE DEMOCRATS EYE NEW PLAN TO REVIVE EARMARKS: House Democrats are weighing a return to an earmark-like system that would allow members to secure cash for some pet projects at home, POLITICO’s Ally Mutnick and Caitlin Emma report. But, they note, the idea is already spooking some vulnerable freshmen members who fear the move reeks of the swamp.

— House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) is expected to meet this week with freshmen and swing-seat Democrats to gauge their interest and seek input, according to a Democratic aide. The plan under discussion would be a much narrower and limited version of the politically taboo practice of earmarked spending, according to the aide. It would likely include new rules designed to keep the system in check, such as barring any money from flowing to for-profit businesses.

— Colleges and universities used to rely heavily on pork barrel spending, raking in millions in earmarked funds for things like research projects and infrastructure.

— Senate Republicans last year permanently banned earmarks, though President Donald Trump has previously expressed interest in bringing them back.

— Portraits on campus lacked diversity, so this artist painted the blue-collar workers who ‘really run things’: The Washington Post.

— ‘Demeaned and humiliated’: What happened to these Iranian students at U.S. airports: The New York Times.

— Trump travel ban expansion could affect HBCUs: NPR.

— A virus, fires and protests: The perils confronting college study-abroad programs: The Washington Post.



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