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Classes canceled today after Texas college shooting

With help from Michael Stratford and Nicole Gaudiano

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.

Two women were reportedly killed and a toddler wounded during a campus shooting at a Texas college, authorities said. Classes are canceled today and Wednesday after the attack at the Texas A&M-Commerce campus near Dallas.

The head of the House Oversight Committee is threatening Education Secretary Betsy DeVos with a subpoena, in an effort to compel her testimony to lawmakers next month.

— President Donald Trump is expected to tout school choice and his administration’s Education Freedom Scholarships proposal tonight at his State of the Union address.

GOOD TUESDAY MORNING, IT’S FEB. 4. I’m taking all bets on how extensive Trump’s anticipated comments on school choice will be at tonight’s State Of The Union address. Any takers? Here’s your daily reminder to send tips to today’s host at jperez@politico.com — and also colleagues Nicole Gaudiano (ngaudiano@politico.com), Michael Stratford (mstratford@politico.com) and Bianca Quilantan (bquilantan@politico.com). Share your event listings with educalendar@politicopro.com. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @Morning_Edu and @POLITICOPro.

ANOTHER CAMPUS SHOOTING ROCKED THE HIGHER EDUCATION COMMUNITY ON MONDAY, when initial reports said an attack killed two people and wounded a third at the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus located roughly 65 miles northeast of Dallas.

The university said there were three gunshot victims at the Pride Rock campus residence hall. The third victim was taken to the hospital for treatment, the university said, as officers were stationed throughout campus and at key gathering points, for the safety of the campus community.

A campus alert to shelter in place was lifted later Monday afternoon. Authorities said classes are canceled through Wednesday. Here’s more from the Dallas Morning News.

DEVOS IS THE TARGET OF ANOTHER CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENA THREAT, as House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) blasted the secretary’s time campaigning for Trump.

In a letter to DeVos on Monday, Maloney wrote that she had invited DeVos to testify last month about “critical issues facing the Department,” including oversight of federal student loans, policies on campus sexual harassment and assault and protections for students at for-profit colleges.

Maloney slapped at DeVos’ travel to Iowa and Pennsylvania this week, where she was campaigning for the president during an Iowa caucus-night offensive and headlining a “Women for Trump” event with Vice President Mike Pence. DeVos was scheduled to be the star attraction at the Butcher Block Steakhouse in Cedar Rapids on Monday.

“Ignoring — or defying — requests for congressional oversight in order to spend your time campaigning for President Trump is an abuse of your position as Secretary of Education,” Maloney wrote.

“It’s Groundhog Day all over again!” Education Department spokesperson Angela Morabito responded. “Democrats in Congress are grandstanding for political points while the Department continues to get work done. We will continue, as we have been, to comply with all lawful oversight requests.”

Look ahead to Feb. 7: That’s Maloney’s deadline for DeVos to confirm whether she’ll appear before the committee on March 3, “or if the Committee will need to consider compulsory process” to demand her appearance.

TRUMP’S ADDRESS TO A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS TONIGHT is expected to dwell a bit on school choice.

Be sure to catch up on this refresher from Michael and Bianca. The president, on the eve of an expected acquittal in his impeachment trial, is expected to urge Congress to pass a $5 billion tax credit proposal championed by DeVos. The proposal hasn’t gained much traction in Congress.

— “The president will address a range of issues facing working families, from ensuring that every child can get a great education, to supporting America’s parents as they manage the demands of working jobs while raising children,” a senior administration official told reporters, speaking on background. “He will call on Congress to empower parents with school choice.”

REMEMBER THE COMPANY THAT CREATED A FAKE STUDENT LOAN EXPERT NAMED “DREW CLOUD”? Well, it’s now been accused by the Federal Trade Commission of misleading consumers.

LendEDU, which runs a website that compares student loan refinancing options and other products, has agreed to pay $350,000 to settle allegations that its rankings of financial products were deceptive and that it touted “fake positive reviews” of the website, the FTC said Monday. Michael has the story.


The agreement replaces one of the information-sharing accords that the Education Department unilaterally canceled with the bureau in September 2017 — over the objections of then-CFPB Director Richard Cordray, who was appointed by President Barack Obama.

— Richard Hunt, CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association, called the agreement “a positive step by the Department of Education and CFPB to help all student loan borrowers.” But Seth Frotman, head of the Student Borrower Protection Center and former top student loan official at the CFPB, said Monday’s announcement “does nothing to help the millions of borrowers being ripped off by their student loan company because the CFPB continues to leave a trillion dollar market unchecked.”

ONE TO WATCH: HOUSE DEMOCRATS WANT DETAILS ON THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT’S PARTIAL DEBT RELIEF FORMULA. House education Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) joined Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) in a written demand for documents and information that asserts the department’s formula “incorrectly applies basic statistical concepts and makes unsupported assumptions.”

— “The importance of this formula for hundreds of thousands of borrowers demands the Department be as transparent as possible and provide comprehensive data and methodology information to the public,” Scott and Trahan wrote.

HERE’S AN UPDATE to the Education Department K-12 spending analysis story we reported earlier this year.

Senators want the department to expand its planned analysis of federal K-12 education spending to include dual and concurrent enrollment programs and early college high schools.

In a letter to DeVos that was co-signed by 17 colleagues, Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) asked the department to examine how school districts are using federal funds through the Every Student Succeeds Act to support access to college in high school programs. Nicole has more.

KEEP THE SAT/ACT ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENT, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA TASK FORCE SAYS. Bianca writes that the task force, in a long-awaited report, found standardized test scores at UC are “better predictors of first-year GPA than high school grade point average, and about as good at predicting first-year retention, undergraduate grade point average and graduation.”

IN FLORIDA, the state Senate Education committee backed legislation that would give graduate students a break on fees for things such as financial aid and athletics. POLITICO’s Andrew Atterbury has more.

Barbara R. Snyder is the new president of the Association of American Universities, effective this fall. Snyder has served as the president of Case Western Reserve University and was also executive vice president and provost at The Ohio State University. Snyder will succeed Mary Sue Coleman, who has served as AAU’s president since 2016 and is retiring this year.

— Students learn more from teachers who have higher grading standards, and teachers with higher grading standards improve their students’ performance in classes, a new report from the Fordham Institute concludes.

— Confusion over what data schools can provide for 2020 Census: Associated Press

— School tip lines were meant to stop shootings, but uncovered a teen suicide crisis: NBC News

— The top watchdog at Chicago Public Schools will resign from his post amid an investigation into his conduct: Chicago Sun-Times

— GPA or SAT? Two measures are better than one: James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

— We’re all high-schoolers now: In the age of social media, we have the largest mobs in the history of mankind: The Spectator

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