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School leaders fret over subsidized meals programs amid coronavirus


With help from Leah Nylen and Michael Stratford

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School officials are growing increasingly anxious over how to keep feeding the nearly 22 million students who depend on subsidized breakfasts and lunches if campuses shut down to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Five universities will see some of their GI Bill funding cut off as part of one of the most aggressive moves ever taken against colleges by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

A House committee chairman wants the Department of Education’s inspector general to probe the agency’s borrower defense policy.

GOOD MORNING. IT’S TUESDAY MARCH 10TH. Please continue to keep your Morning Education team apprised on how the education industry and schools are responding to the latest global outbreak. 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.

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THERE IS NO MEALS ON WHEELS SYSTEM FOR DELIVERING FOOD DOOR-TO-DOOR to low-income students.

Districts where huge swaths of students live in poverty, including Los Angeles and New York City, are holding off on closing in part because of concern about how to keep kids fed. But in the interest of public safety, they may not have a choice but to shut down.

“Schools should be thinking about what they’re going to do if they’re going to close and how they’re going to ensure that their students’ nutritional needs are going to be met,” said Crystal FitzSimons, director of School and Out-of-School Time Programs at the Food Research & Action Center, a nonprofit organization tackling hunger issues.

States can tinker with how to keep delivering meals. Over the weekend, the Agriculture Department, which manages school nutrition programs, said schools that are forced to close can switch to different programs used during summer months. Liz Crampton has more.

BIG NEWS: THE VA HAS MOVED TO CUT OFF GI BILL FUNDING FOR NEW STUDENT VETERANS ENROLLING AT FIVE UNIVERSITIES. The VA cites “sufficient evidence” the schools used misleading advertising or enrollment practices.

The University of Phoenix, Colorado Technical University, American InterContinental University, Bellevue University and Temple University will see the suspension of GI Bill education benefits for new student enrollment. The colleges will have 60 days to challenge the VA’s decision.

The action is one of the most aggressive ever taken by the VA against colleges, but does not affect existing student veterans at those five schools so long as they maintain “continuous enrollment” at their institution. Michael Stratford has the story.

HOUSE EDUCATION AND LABOR CHAIRMAN BOBBY SCOTT WANTS THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT’S INSPECTOR GENERAL TO PROBE BORROWER DEFENSE POLICY, citing questions and concerns over the methodology used to assess so-called “borrower defense to repayment” claims.

— Scott, in a letter to the department’s IG, said he wants answers on whether the department used “accepted statistical principles” when it approved a debt relief methodology Education Secretary Betsy DeVos outlined late last year.

Scott (D-Va.) had already joined Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.) in a written demand earlier this year for documents and information that asserted the department’s formula “incorrectly applies basic statistical concepts and makes unsupported assumptions.”

REPS. ROSA DELAURO (D-CONN.) AND SANFORD BISHOP, JR. (D-GA.) URGED AGRICULTURE SECRETARY SONNY PERDUE TO HOLD OFF ON CHANGES TO THE SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

— “Enacting any such changes during this time will only exacerbate current economic anxiety and unnecessarily increase the burden on the very people who need assistance,” the members of Congress added in a letter to Perdue.

—The USDA should also work with the Department of Education to offer states resources and guidance to determine how students will be able to access critical school nutrition programs before schools shut down to fight outbreaks, they wrote.

FIRST LADY MELANIA TRUMP IS SCHEDULED TO ADDRESS THE NATIONAL PTA LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE today, bringing her in front of one of the country’s largest child advocacy groups.

Trump is scheduled to speak at the Westin in Alexandria at 1:30 p.m.

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY WILL MOVE TO VIRTUAL INSTRUCTION AFTER SPRING BREAK LATER THIS MONTH AND DECREASE THE NUMBER OF GATHERINGS ON CAMPUS as the coronavirus continues to spread, school president Chris Eisgruber announced. Here’s more from Carly Sitrin.

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY ALSO ANNOUNCED IT HAS CANCELLED CLASSES FOR THE REST OF THIS WEEK. The university also said it was suspending in-person classes from March 16 to at least March 30. The school will move to “distance and other alternative learning options.

A BROAD GROUP OF EDUCATION ORGANIZATIONS AND LABOR UNIONS HAS COALESCED AROUND A NEW SET OF PROPOSED STANDARDS FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS dubbed the Unifying Framework for the Early Childhood Education Profession.

— “As a result of the nation’s failure to adequately invest in high-quality child care and early learning over the years, children are not getting what they need; families are paying more for child care than for housing, if and when they can access that care; and the workforce is paid so little that nearly half live in families that depend on public assistance,” the group declares.

The plan sets out salary recommendations, suggestions for degree and certificate completion programs and proposes creating “three distinct and meaningful designations” for workers: Early Childhood Educator I, II, and III”.

AN ANTITRUST SUIT TO ALLOW STUDENT-ATHLETES TO GET PAID “would redefine college sports as we know them,” a lawyer for the NCAA told an appeals court on Monday.

The NCAA is trying to ward off a lawsuit in California that could result in colleges offering players pricey enticements, like graduate school scholarships, computers or iPads for educational use or chances to study abroad.

— A federal judge ruled last year that the NCAA’s restrictions on player compensation violate the antitrust laws.

— That decision would allow colleges to offer student athletes internships with Nike or cars to drive to class, Seth Waxman, the NCAA’s lawyer told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Leah Nylen has more.

ANY SCHOOL IN NEW YORK STATE WHERE A STUDENT TESTS POSITIVE FOR THE CORONAVIRUS WILL SHUT DOWN FOR A MINIMUM OF 24 HOURS, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared as the coronavirus scare affects growing numbers of institutions.

The 24-hour period will be used to clean the school facilities, begin investigating the individual case and determine whether an extended closure is necessary, Cuomo said. Cuomo said a formal rule is forthcoming and will be issued jointly by the State Education Department and Department of Health. POLITICO’s Nick Niedzwiadek has the story.

AT LEAST TWO DOZEN NEW JERSEY SCHOOLS ARE CLOSING FOR A PARTIAL DAY, FULL DAY OR MULTIPLE DAYS TO BEGIN PREPARATIONS FOR A POSSIBLE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK, reports POLITICO’s Carly Sitrin.

— “Schools make their own decisions. They have their own policies around closures or dismissals,” state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said at a press conference.

THE FLORIDA SENATE HAS PASSED LEGISLATION THAT WOULD PERMIT COLLEGE ATHLETES TO SIGN ENDORSEMENT DEALS and profit from their name, image and likeness starting in 2021.

POLITICO’s Andrew Atterbury reports the proposal, which was crafted to give the NCAA and other groups time to reach an agreement on a national policy, was adopted on a 37-2 vote.

If the legislation passes the House and is signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida would join California and other states that have adopted their own rules on college sports, cranking up heat on the NCAA to change its policies.

RIVAL NEW JERSEY POLITICAL FIGURES SAY THEY’VE STRUCK A DEAL TO CUT PUBLIC EDUCATOR HEALTHCARE COSTS, in a bid estimated to save a combined $1 billion a year.

The deal between New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and the New Jersey Education Association could reframe Trenton’s debate about pension and health care reform.

The state would create a new health care plan, known as the New Jersey Educators Health Plan, that would replace most of the current policies under the New Jersey School Employees’ Health Benefits Program. POLITICO’s Ryan Hutchins and Katherine Landergan have the story.

British charities preparing to feed children if schools shut over coronavirus: The Guardian

People can’t ‘ignore suicide anymore’: Effort wants hotline number on school IDs: The Detroit News

White House invites top Wall Street executives to meet amid economic fallout from coronavirus: The Washington Post

Georgia’s Fulton County closing schools Tuesday after teacher tests positive for coronavirus: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The complexity of closing a school: Chicago families, educators search for answers, child care after coronavirus case: Chalkbeat



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