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tv   Education Secretary Testifies on Priorities  CSPAN  July 11, 2021 1:04pm-3:34pm EDT

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what's new with you still have time to order the congressional directory with contact information for members of conference and -- members of congress and the biden administration. education secretary education secretary miguel cardona -- education secretary miguel cardona to testify about student loan debt and teaching about -- education secretary miguel cardona to testify about student loan debt. >> the committee is meeting today to hear testimony. this is a remote hearing. general rules to avoid unnecessary background noise, keep your my commuted -- keep
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your microphone muted. please stay connected to the platform, make sure you are muted and use your phone to immediately call the actions director whose number was direct -- who was -- whose number was provided in advance. n the chair's absence. in order to ensure the committee's five minute rule is adhered to staff will keep track of time using the committee's timer which -- and we will skip the rollcall so that the secretary can make a hard stop at the appointed time. opening statements are limited to the chair. today we are meeting to discuss
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the department of education budget request and examine the priority to support s to support students, caterers and communities. thank you for being with us today. today we will look forward to hearing your vision to expand access to quality education and help students and schools recover from the pandemic. at the beginning of this administration, you inherited an investigation department that has had four years of moving in the wrong direction. under the trump administration, the department failed to provide meaningful guidance to help students cope with pandemic, they failed to favorably implement the students succeed and they withheld debt relief from hundreds of thousands of students who were defrauded. mr. secretary, under your leadership the biden and hit --
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the biden and harris administration has made progress. in march, the administration advanced the american rescue plan act. this package provided the largest one-time federal investment for k-12 education and our nations history. the greatest resources went to the communities with the greatest need. funding has allowed school districts to reopen safely and re--- and remain open. while others have demanded that schools reopen, we have the rescue act therese -- to secure the resources to allow schools to reopen safely. repair and replace broken ventilation systems. school districts using the
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funding to help students get back on track after the pandemic. the district must dedicate 20% of the funding and support students emotional and social well-being. we will recognize a school department for providing because of these efforts schools violent resources -- filing for the resources they need. as of april, 90 6% of k-8 schools were already opened full-time in person learning. the state superintendent noticed and i quote these resources will help students and teachers remain healthy and safe. at like to now enter the record a letter for these critical lessons. the american rescue plan is also
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helping institutions of better education whether the pandemic -- education. it provided a financial lifeline for institutions probably with devastating enrollment declines. critical investments helping students and institutions to the role of recovery. we must look beyond restoring pre-pandemic status quo that left far too many students behind so we will discuss how the budget request, the american job plan and the family -- and the american family plan will build back a better education system everyone can see. the americans college promise act, the american families plan providing tuition, free community college and reduced cost to students and minority --
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minority serving institutions. also provides historic increase allowing students to get a degree. american jobs plan also includes funding to help schools retrofits this usually outdated including ventilation systems providing community colleges with the best resources in the facilities and technical that an technique -- technical logical infrastructure. today, we are looking forward to hearing from the department budget and today -- and what it will do to confront academic achievement cap -- academic achievement gaps on freezer -- on access to education. i'm pleased to recognize distinguished ranking member of the committee, a gentle lady
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from north carolina for the purpose of making the next statement. >> mr. secretary, america has suffered greatly in the past 15 months. far-reaching government shutdown and turned into permanent state orders. -- permanent stay-at-home orders. this is ground for help, millions of individuals lost their jobs. schoolchildren, if they receive any instruction at all, learn their material staring -- staring at screens for hours everyday. our initial stick was notable. there was so many unknowns at that time. there's more evidence that has become available and they ran their course.
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evidence of the novel coronavirus negligible effect on children proved to levels impossible to ignore. nothing changed. blue state politicians forced children to spend their lives indoors and away from love -- friends and loved ones. the mcgrath's discarded the scientific methods in favor of narrow lyrical interest and their teacher union allies. democrats actions have consequences. low income and minority students suffered disproportionately from school closures. one study estimated the average student learning loss would be 10 months. that number increases to as many as 16 months for students of color. the centers for disease control and prevention reveal a tragic
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mental health deterioration amongst our countries youth. emergency room trips potential suicide attempts children ages 12 to 17 rose 22% in the summer of 2020 and 39% in the winter of 2021. unnecessarily shut down harm to those children and their communities. president biden's bloated budget recognizes the damages democrats shut down policies have done to our children. this proposed solution creates further harm -- farther harm for this generation. mortgages were -- while the secretary would like to focus on all the programs reposed in the president's budget that have no hope of becoming law,
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republicans cannot help but notice the preventable $1 trillion student loan repayment disaster blooming on the horizon. federal student loans have not -- federal loan borrowers have not had to pay back a single penny since march 2020, but the interest rate free september -- interest rate free and september 30. the pandemic is over and we expect the secretary to take ownership of his bureaucracies responsibility to american students and particularly taxpayers. other priorities the department of education are not inspiring the american people's confidence in this administration.
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he is using the application process to the american history and civics education program to promote critical race theory. indoctrinating children is a violation of federal law. critical race theory is contrary to the american ideal of judging people on their character, not their physical appearance. secretary can dharna -- he has -- protecting college students from foreign enemies to influence. this administration is neither open nor closed in the investigation into the donations institutions received from the contract they entered into adversarial foreign forces. china should not be given free reign on college campuses. secretary is working to overturn the guarantee of rights of
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sexual assault survivors and the accused. our constitution guarantees the right to due process. the secretary must protect the students who have survived sexual assault and uphold the ability for the accused to use the same constitutional rights enjoyed. there's a good reason why the word education does not appear in the constitution. the department of education is incompetent. the solution is not more of the same, which is what the president's budget represents. the department of education itself, i look forward to hearing how the secretary will reverse course and empower families to make education the
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system -- education system decisions best needed. i yelled back. >> thank you. without objection, all members who wish, you can submit electronically 5:00 p.m. on july 8, 2021. i will now welcome our witness, miguel cardona. the 12th secretary of department of education previously serving as commissioner of education in the state of connecticut and before that he what that he has two decades public school educator, a hometown of meridian. we appreciate you visiting today and look forward to your testimony and you are asked to limit your orientation to a five minute summary.
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after your presentation, we will move to questions. we will not proceed -- we will now see -- proceed directly with this testimony. >> mr. -- >> mr. secretary. good morning, terry scott. ranking member and distinguish members of the committee. the past year we have had plenty of quantitative data on the effects of the pandemic around the country where there are cases for 100,000 that's more recently a percentage vaccinated. i recently had a conversation with high school students in a high school in new york city. his story stood out to me. he lost his grandmother to covid-19 and his significant other suicide in the last 10
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months. return to school, something that he was looking forward to. he asked me to ensure that he and all students across country would walk into welcoming environments free from judgment with mental health support to address the trauma they experienced. he shared that while he missed a lot academically, he was hopeful that the school could provide the support he needed to catch up and thrive. and that is why i am here today. students like him and others that need more when they return. i am proud to testified -- i am proud to testified about the policies and priorities of the department of education including fiscal year 2022 budget request makes good on president biden's commitment to invest in education. primarily students or public
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with disabilities confront every day in school and in pursuit of higher education and career technical education. the response will ensure that schools reopen for full-time in person learning safely and as quickly as possible. i come to you today with a great sense of urgency. generations of inequity have left far too many students without equitable access to high-quality, inclusive learning opportunities including in our rural communities. sadly, this has become normalized. education can be the great equalizer. it was for me and so many others. it could prioritize and reinvest and what works for all students. we must do more to level the playing field including a strong foundation from birth, improving diversity among the work first,
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creating pathways that work for all students. to that end, the budget proposal calls on congress to invest $103 billion in the department of education program. 41% increase over the fiscal year 2020 one appropriation. the fiscal year 2022 request makes a meaningful down payment for the proposal -- for the biden harris ministration were addressing this. the centerpiece of the proposal, the new $20 billion title i equity grant program that tackles disparities between under resourced schools and wealthier counterparts. our request but the nation on a path to double nurses, mental health professionals in our schools and significantly expand support to increase the availability of wraparound services.
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we also think it's past time for the federal government to make good on its commitment to students with disabilities and their families. the request makes a significant move toward fully funding, proposing a 20% increase of $2.6 billion. according to higher education, our budget proposal furthers the biden harris ministration's work increasing access to affordability. proposal coupled with increased opposed -- with increased american family plan would be the largest ever pell grant increase. helping families of students and it ensures the dreamers may receive pell grant's if they meet the eligibility requirements. it makes college more affordable for low and middle income students and minority serving --
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at minority serving institutions and expanding institutions at native american pacific islanders. the budget also proposes increases for programs to make sure that underserved students can graduate from college. finally, we prioritize efforts and enforce civil rights laws to protect all students and advance equity in the educational opportunity delivery. -- delivery from preschool to college. working together, we can and will learn and grow through this challenging time. i am committed to working with each of you to strengthen our schools and campuses and help provide opportunities, pathways and outcomes for students across the country. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you. making mr. secretary. i will now proceed with questions under committee rule,
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we will now question written -- question witnesses under the five minute rule. commit desk committee members will be asked in seniority order. last week, i had to enforce the rule and although several members did not use all of their time, we still averaged six minutes per member. we have 15 members so if we do that again, that's almost one hour over allotted time. i remind members of is supposed to include both a question and answer so please refrain from beginning answers with a few seconds left because it guarantees coherent answers go past the allotted five minutes. with that, i will begin with the gentleman from connecticut. >> thank you mr. chairman. good morning mr. secretary.
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i'll allow you to tell the story of your journey through life to get you where it you are today. public higher education, in the classroom teacher, principal, superintendent. your dna is in the heart of the prime of education and we are also proud of you and the state of connecticut and your congresswoman, i'm sure, will double down when she gets the opportunity. we are not here for a walk down memory lane. we are here to talk about the future. this budget having been on this committee 2000 that's since 2007, special -- special education finally impacted. it -- the impact is important for military kids to get
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education their parent wearing the uniform are entitled to, as well as investing in the magnet schools which and connecticut scattered probation anti-segregation of internship breaking down isolation. it is an amazing budget, but i did to spend a minute on an issue that president biden, one of the first executive orders was pushing out payment direct student loan payments, for that moment is fast approaching. in september, yesterday, myself, congresswoman presley, singh said -- senator warren and others sent a letter to the president thanking him for that pause, but obviously there's a lot of moving parts.
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i realize the letter is less than 24 hours old so i'm not trying to put you on the spot. what i hope that you can talk a little bit about the department and hopefully you can get some consideration for pushing out for another three or four months which is what the letter requested. >> thank you. we recognize the impact the pandemic had on borrowers and sending the pause is something we have conversations about. recognize the challenge that it is. today, the pause has saved over $5 billion to borrowers a month. 41 billion borrowers. just yesterday i spoke to a doctor who said the pause helped him make a business. he credited the pause as part of the reason why he was able to do that.
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i recognize that we are continuing regularly to make sure we are touching all different things and i appreciate your sentiment and i recognize the challenge it has been for those who have been thinking about that coming up. we do plan on having information soon to communicate. restarting it right now september 30. in our immediate plans, we want to committee kate the information out there. >> great. we'll thank. the department did move sweet -- the department did move swiftly to protect and we have borrowers from connecticut. thank you for that swift action. one other problem area and, again the last administration butchered public service loan payment which was started in the last four years. one community that is struggling
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with this program is military veterans and active duty who have student loan debts that qualified under the law that was passed back in 2007, but their deployment times, they get forbearance when they are overseas, was not counted toward the 10 year tally to get student loans discharged. myself and other members introduced legislation to fix that problem. there are many other folks who are struggling with this program and i hope that will be one of the areas of concentration, what's already on the books. >> it definitely will be. when we have a system rejecting 90%, it needs an overhaul. i'm very interested in making sure that we provide results so we hired him and his charge is to fix that system. it's not just a loan forgiveness.
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entire student loan crisis needs immediate attention. we provided some relief over two or $3 billion, but there is so much more to do. this is the highest priority for us and we definitely want to work with you and others to make sure you're not missing out on any. we don't want to overlook anyone. this is a high priority for me. they could go on with life and not have this heavy burden of debt holding them down. >> thank you. next will be the gentleman from south carolina. >> thank you chairman. thank you for being with us today. on november 13, 2020, the department of education under the trump ministration published in the register the department
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has authority to implement a range of corrective measures on institutions that violate this program and participation agreement including termination of institutions title participation this -- participation. this was related to an institution failing to report section 100 -- 117 and gifts and donations timely and accurately to address what ranking member regina identified. the chinese government sponsored confucius institute strategically located at resource executions across america. given that many institutions are failing to comply with requirements of section 117 of the higher education act, would you commit to acting on your own authority at holding schools accountable for -- accountable who failed to comply with the law. how will you ensure higher education systems protected them adversarial nations? >> thank you.
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we take these issues very seriously. i commit to making sure the concerns working with you and others make sure we use authorities to ensure appropriate actions look at this further. >> we look forward to full disclosure and the benefit of everyone. more spending may not be the only way to help our students. in new york city, the average spending per student is $37,000 a year but sadly high school graduates, only 6% graduate achieving proficiency in math. how do you recommend to change systems that spend an astronomical amount of money to benefit the students? >> thank you.
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as a lifelong educator, i recognize two things. number one, there has been an underinvestment in education. i recall having, every year, the conversation about having more with less. the students come in with greater need and we have less resources. number two, it's important that we have a good return on investments. for every dollar spent in education so for me it's about ensuring ants -- return on investment for every dollar spent in education. so for me, it's about ensuring and students that needed most and remind everyone an important -- an opportunity gap and access to money for many students, in particular students in urban areas and rural areas but also i think it's important to recognize we have an obligation
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to ensure the funds being distributed. and ensuring they are getting input from different stakeholders. so i recognize your concern and entry will work with states and districts to make sure students in greatest need to the support they need and outcomes that follow. >> additionally, they comprise 24% of the top 100 public high schools and the most recent budget that the administration has, there is a restriction on ability to find charter schools. what will you be doing to address that? give choice. >> the proposal that we have does not cut funds for charter schools. we recognize the role that charter schools play in our country, and for me it's about
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quality schools whether they are charter or traditional schools. >> you say that there is level funding. geewhiz. the other spending is like a 40% increase. we need to be investing. i'm grateful my wife is a former teacher and taught at a charter school so we know what can be given giving our young people a second chance. i want to wish you well and i'm just grateful that the communities i represent have wonderful school boards doing a great job. i yield back. >> thank you. the next gentleman. >> thank you very much. mr. secretary, welcome and i look forward to working with you
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very closely as we proceed with president biden's administration priorities on education. mr. secretary, studies show that preschool -- as chair of the early childhood secondary subcommittee, i am pleased the biden administration provides access to this early learning program. president biden's american families plan forces universal preschool for all three and four-year-old -- all three and four-year-olds. mr. secretary, would you speak to the importance of these proposals and how they further
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benefit children and families across our nation please? >> sure. thanks for this topic turn and he -- sure. thanks for this opportunity. i remember serving as a school principal and we had programs for students as young as three years old and we saw the growth that took place in those two years and then i saw students coming to kindergarten but did not have the benefit of these programs and i can tell you that many of the students had the need for intervention. many of those students did not enjoy school as much as those students who did have the benefit of having quality early childhood programs. you can develop social skills and lunacy -- literate -- literacy skills. we know, studies show, that these students are able to have more success in high school, they are more likely to attend and participate in high-level
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courses and so on. i think, for us it's an investment on any educator that teachers -- that teaches early education. that can't be overstated. i can tell you i've seen where it costs more to intervene because there's not a good foundation. this american families plan proposal that provides pre-k for three and four-year-olds is a great way to make sure our students have a quality education. >> thank you. i think you're nearby your office. i am glad we are returning to normal. we look forward to schools reopening for face-to-face instruction in september.
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also, i will follow, physical year 2022. a critical component of this investment providing these resources to minority students and those others economically disadvantaged. it is long overdue. mr. secretary, as we look forward to reopening schools, children running around and playing in the schoolyard, why are these investments needed now
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? >> thank you. we know the pandemic did a number on many communities, densely populated communities, communities with multi people of color. recent data shows that in april even in those communities where in person learning options were not made available, only 50% of black and brown students took advantage and 40% of asian students took advantage. what that tells us is as much as we think the pandemic is over, was to have work to do to feel -- to build confidence and ensure students get into the classroom. when the students do return, they are going to have not only more academic needs. so these funds are really aimed
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at holding the gaps that are exacerbated. as they said earlier, the mentality rate in those communities was also higher. there is lots of work to do to not only get our students to prepare for learning and make up for what was lost, but to feel better. in those communities, the gap existed for decades. so we have to do more to give our students an opportunity 6 -- an opportunity to succeed. >> thank you. my time is up but i would like to say that the information you share with us, welcome from your -- the information you share with us compared to your predecessor. welcome and congratulations for your confirmation and i look forward to working with you. >> thank you sir.
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>> my time is over. i apologize. >> thank you. next figure, the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. johnson. >> chairman, thank you so much. thank you mr. sec. for being here today. much appreciated. the elementary and secretary -- and secondary education act provides expansive resources and funding for k-12 education. as you know, title i legislation distributes funding to local education agencies to improve the achievement of disadvantaged children. judgment defined themselves in poverty circumstances. a huge impact on learning. the first of fact of diverting funds from higher poverty.
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in this legislation to address these inequities reducing the number, reducing the effect that inflates and allocates institutions to larger districts even though they tend to be in suburban areas with more robust, economic circumstances. while this legislation might not become law,, it looks into this matter further and as such in 2019 the national statistics reported on how the formula affected the school districts. the report stated what we already knew. schools title i allocations based on their location or zip code rather than the actual need of children. i'm curious to know your thoughts on the current formula.
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do you think children should receive funds under the law regardless of geographical location? >> thank you for that question and comment. i wholeheartedly agree with you that they are to help level the playing field and students who need a little extra so in the proposal, we have a slightly -- we have it -- we have an increase in the formula entitled 18, but we are thinking about how to work with partners putting yourself and others where it is needed the most. the pandemic did a number, the story suffered from rural communities was devastating how the digital provide -- the did -- the digital divide prevented access and we know communities were hit harder by the pandemic than others so i managed -- interested in entering funds. go where they are most needed and that's what the president's
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intent was. i understand your commitment to make sure students who needed the most get it and i'm committed to doing that and make sure that happens. >> i appreciate that a look forward to working with you. we watered it down because our colleagues in the senate, a strong bipartisan work and i look forward to working with you on that. as the cochair of the education caucus past the act, this legislation went into effect in light 2019 and alter our system by increasing alignment with in demand jobs and employer engagement so students have opportunities create can you provide an update for the committee on this law and
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funding provided to the students packages the past year and -- past year and a half has supported this opportunity? >> thank you for that. i share your support for technical education having graduated from a technical high school and understanding how we need to evolve and education to make sure that we have pathways into the workforce and that we have partnerships with our workforce partners to ensure that our students have multiple options including two-year, four-year colleges. but also pathways to jobs that exist now. i make -- i'm excited about the opportunity of working with you and look forward to communicating with you, i look forward to having follow-up with you on that. also sharing that this is in alignment of the present -- with
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the president's budget. four point 7 billion discretionary request. we recognize this is where we are going as a country and it is a bipartisan effort that i, i haven't met someone who doesn't think this is something we need to do and do well. i'm excited to work with you and others to make sure all students across the country have great options and pathways. we need to start with early -- we need to start as early as middle school to make sure we are designed for success. >> i appreciate that. i look forward to talking with you offline about that. just looking to see how that may line up with state grants authorized so thank you so much. thank you chairman. >> thank you. next, we have the gentle lady from florida who is a former principal, ms. wilson. >> i'm still a principal.
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always a principal. thank you mr. chair and thank you so much secretary for making time to join us. i have so many questions and so many ideas. i'm going to submit them for the record when i run out of time. the past year has disrupted the education of millions of students and a strain on students parents and teachers. my last meeting, i realized that there are 3 million children still missing from our public schools. no one knows where these children are. as chair of the higher education and workforce subcommittee, i held a hearing earlier this year to examine the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on higher education. the historic investment made in our education system including the american rescue plan proved
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that congress can and should more to address long, long-standing inequities and funding imbalances. we can help close this 23 billion racial funding gap that exists between schools -- school districts serving students of color and those serving predominantly white students. access to affordable quality higher education and provide relief to 45 million borrowers who will hold roughly $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. the proposed year 20 budget is an excellent starting point to tackle these generational issues. i do have a few questions. i am concerned about the raging
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mental health issues in our school districts and our colleges and universities and i want to know how will the department of education help and support our school districts with providing additional counsel, nurses, opening up schools safely k-12, teachers and students incentivizing vaccinations, opening colleges and universities safely, a smoother transition between elementary k-12 to college. there's a huge line of demarcation right there. supporting black men and boys has been my life's work. i need to find out.
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as we converse, how to increase education access for black men and boys. research has shown there is proportion of burden on them. also, i was happy to hear you say that student loan, forgiveness of student loan debt and support of moving forward to erase student loan debt was at the top of your agenda. one specific that i wanted to ask you a question about is the student defense through the freedom of information act, roughly 500,000 borrow. under the permanent and
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disability discharge program. the department already knows that -- knows the entities of these borrowers. what steps are you taking to ensure that this relief is taken quickly and easily as possible. i would like to get you to commit to do everything in your power, to expedite this billing. >> thank you, congressman -- congresswoman wilson. your passion, your service. you have one of the best jobs out there. you mentioned so many different important topics. i can assure you this budget and our goals increased aid to advance education access. it expands supporting underserved students. we have to make critical investments in teachers and leaders and mental health support.
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as a student spoke to me said i'm going to need help. i'm going to need access to him and to health support. i experienced a lot. it's on us to make sure we are delivering. the american rescue plan provides funds for that and with regard to your question on total and permanent disability, we restore discharges for borrowers and have -- who have a total and permanent disability. we lowered the reinstatement risk for another 190,000, but i will commit to ensuring that this will continue to be a priority and will continue to work with you and others to make sure we communicate. what we are doing is to prioritize the needs for borrowers who need support. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. next we will have the gentleman from michigan. >> thank you, mr. chairman and
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mr. secretary, thank you for being here. it is very clear from your statements, your history that you have a passion for education and i like that. a passion that wants to focus students on achieving. having said that without the respect, it's similar comments that i made to your predecessor, my good friend betsy devos. the public education, the department of education is set up to fail. it has been set up to fail from the beginning because it was set up to control and you as a classroom teacher minister understands that the creativity of education, the ability to meet the needs of individual students comes at the local level. this sets -- the states are set up in their constitutions and
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responsible to is to promote education so i say this without the respect. i wish you well, but i think the best thing you could do is remove the u.s. department of education from as many areas of controlling what goes on at the classroom level and our teachers level and our states as much as possible. i think it is evidenced by a lot of turmoil taking place in the education world now elective to some of the curriculum. mr. secretary, you proposed grant priorities under the american history and civics education programs area among other things, endorsed 1619 project. as you know, it is becoming a major issue. do you agree that the 1690 -- 1619 project is a curriculum taught in schools? >> thank you for your comments.
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first of all, as an educator i do agree that the innovation and best practices and decisions around what students need is best left to the local districts and state. we don't get involved in curricular issues. we don't recommend mandates. as an educator who has had experience in the classroom building local and state level, i recognize that's where it should be. >> let me just move back to the question. do you agree with the 1619 project as curriculum taught in schools? >> we don't get involved as the federal government and monitoring curriculum in school. i could not answer whether it is being taught in school. what i can tell you is that we don't have a role, but as an educator i will tell you that i have heard from educators and students, parents and students see themselves in the curriculum, they are more likely
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to be engaged and more likely to feel comfortable and a sense of community. schools are providing the windows, mirrors and sliding glass doors. they can see themselves in the curriculum. vacancy others. >> let me jump back in -- they can see others. >> let me jump back in. you and your grant proposal indicated 1619 project, the law prohibits department of education from prescribing direct curriculum and offering a payment of support -- payment of support section 8520 seven of elementary and secondary education act. >> we are not promoting curriculum. we are communicating that
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districts and states of the spots ability do that. we don't also want to be engaged in the politicizing of curriculum. so we recognize our role and we will stay true to our role which is not to engage ourselves in the local curriculum. >> but you have signaled curriculum by the grant proposal that you have there. that's a concern and i would get encouraged -- and i would encourage you to live by the law and not violate it. that is concerned that i think is very important for you to understand and even in interviews you have done in atlanta, you said i am signaling that we need a curriculum and then you changed and said that we need to allow educators to allow -- to allow educators to develop curriculum where students see themselves. i concur with diverse perspectives. the 1619 project is not a diverse perspective. it defames the history of united states, but more importantly the
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department of education by law pet -- is precluded from doing that. mr. secretary, i want to work with you on that, but we will be watching and hope that you will follow the law. i yield back. >> thank you, congressman. >> thank you. the gentleman from oregon -- gentlewoman from oregon. >> thank you for being here to discuss the most important issues facing our nation's children and youth. secretary cardona, i am a champion leading the efforts in helping families, students and educators recover from this pandemic. students, educators and their families recover from the pandemic. there are many critical issues in this jurisdiction. thank you for your commitment to [ inaudible ] and more.
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because of time i'm going to focus on two issues, the importance of the every student succeeds act, title 4a grant, especially helping to close the achievement gap. -- why the achievement gap, especially with black, indigenous and latin -- we know students benefit from the well-rounded education that includes the arts. we talked about that. the student support -- grant program under title 4a of essa is important. they fund safe and healthy students. that includes mental health -- practices. they fund technology. in the president's fiscal year 2022 budget, the title for a grant program received flat funding even though the needs increased. i led a bipartisan title 4a
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bipartisan letter this year, we are recommending $2 billion [ inaudible ]. how will the administration strengthen the access and close achievement gaps and meet the important needs of technology and student health and also how will the department provide technical assistance to states [ inaudible ] to make sure the every student succeeds act is implemented as intended. >> thank you for that question. we share your passion and concern for all students and their enrichment as well as mental health needs. the budget does have 1 billion towards doubling down on the number of school counselors and social workers to address the needs of student and staff. we can't ignore the fact that our educators have gone through trauma. >> indeed. >> we have to go back into the workplace and support learners who have experienced trauma. we have to make surer with
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taking care of the educators, bus drivers, para-educators as well. funds are made available to support innovative programming, whether it be summer programming -- i'd love for this to be a ditto-free summer for students across the country. they are there for innovative programming into the fall, the upcoming school year. educators recognize that we, in order to build that better have to double down on innovation and ensuring that students have access to acceleration, creative programming and in my conversations with educators, visit 10 or 11 different states that be that's what i keep hearing. we cannot go back to what it was before. i anticipate that funding that is being made available to schools is fueling innovation. it's fueling creative measures
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to get students re-engaged in ways that we haven't in the past. that's the charge for educators across the country. i believe we can do it. i look forward to working with you to make sure your goals and hopes for what we want to see out of title 4 come to reality and share some examples of great practices across the country as well. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i know you mentioned student loans. to up on chairwoman's questions, we know student loan borrowers has been saddled with unimaginable debt. i want to mention the public service long-term forgiveness program and repayment plans and student borrowers face the cliff of repayment with the
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forbearance period -- repayment programs in the long term which is the critical part of this question? we need short-term and long-term relief. >> first and foremost, we have to change the culture of what it is. right now it's broken. we have to recognize it needs an overall. borrower defense, making sure that those with total permanent disabilities have the support and relief that they need and deserve. we're communicating regularly with borrowers, haking processes simpler. i remember meeting with borrowers recently, i had a phone conference with them. i was getting frustrated with the level of hoops they had to jump through. that's unacceptable. we need to do better. the charge is really, let's not do incremental change. let's make sure we're servicing our students, borrowers, putting
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them at the center of the conversations, thinking about how policies look from the perspective of the borrower. we need to do better. we need to communicate with them regularly to share what we're doing and listen to see how the experience is going. >> thank you, mr. secretary. as i yield back, i request unanimous consent to enter into the hearing record an yard line that mentions mr. mike scoffeild saying that the challenge of providing school services during the past year were unprecedented, unfortunately, so was the federal funding -- [ inaudible ]. >> thank you, thank you. next we have the gentlelady from new york. >> thank you, chairman scott. secretary cardona, students in rural communities have a higher
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high school graduation rate. those who do enroll in secondary education, they face barriers that make them more likely to drop out. -- untapped economic potential of rural america. in the final fq-'21 bill, i led an effort to secure $10 million to approve grants. the problem is, the department has yet to issue a notice inviting applications for this rural post-secondary and economic development grant program that funds rural students. can you provide an update on the status of the department's efforts to distribute this funding? >> thank you, representative. i share your passion around making sure the students in rural areas get the support they need, to have access like every
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other student. i'm going to ask my staff to reach out to you and your staff to provide an update. >> that would be great. can you commit to working with me and this committee to get things moving on that funding? >> absolutely. >> great. my next question has to do with foreign influence on college campuses. republicans have been leading the fight against the malign activities of the chinese communist party including corrosive influence over america's colleges and universities. the trump administration was the first to trulli hold colleges accountable and uncovered can over $6.5 billion of previously unreported foreign donations to institutions of higher education which have anone mized identities of owners. congressional republicans, china task force successfully highlighted the chinese communist parties' relentless efforts to influence higher education from their recruitment
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of u.s. academics to theft of research and intellectual property at american universities. just over a year ago we learned that the chair of harvard's chemistry department participated in china's thousand towns program and was charged in connection with aiding the chinese communist government. this should concern every american and left unchecked chinese influence on americanple cal puss puts national security at risk. with that in mine, mr. secretary, how does your department plan to hold colleges and universities accountable to their section 117 reporting requirements for foreign gifts and contracts. >> thank you, representative stephanic. this is another issue we share. your concern in making sure that we are looking into this, i can commit we'll work with you and others to listen to the concerns and be swift about communicating where we believe changes need to be made.
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i commit to working with you and others to make sure we're looking into this. >> are you going to hold the actual colleges and universities accountable for those reported requirements in section 117? >> yes. if there are reporting requirements that need to be followed, we will hold them accountable. >> great. the other proposal i wanted to raise to you is that in the china task force one of the recommendations was to lower that reporting threshold from $250,000 gifts to $50,000 gifts. is that something the department is committed to working with us on? >> we're committed to working with you on making sure that the proposals you put forward are administered and understanding more of the issue and more of the concerns that you have. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you. mr. secretary, we have a number of educators who will be asking questions. gentleman from california is another one of those.
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he was a former teacher. mr. tacano. >> thank you. secretary cardona, welcome. the state attorneys generals have historically been the first line of defense against predatory for-profit colleges. for example, in 2015 then california attorney general kamala harris in coordination with the obama administration's department of education jointly uncovered decades of fraud at corinthian colleges. in secretary devos's final appearance before this committee, she testified that the department would not obey a federal court ruling requiring the department to consider evidence of fraud, states attorneys general brought to the department. secretary cardona, i want to ask you, will you and your
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department comply with federal law and adjudicate borrower defense claims brought by state attorney generals? >> thank you. we look forward to working closely with attorneys general and others to make sure we're defending the borrowers. we're committed to protecting students from predatory practicesal all institutions, period. that will be our focus. we have to be very strong with that. our borrowers right now can't afford to be taken advantage of, especially after the pandemic, or can't be victims of misconduct, in particular, from for-profit institutions. i commit we will be working on that, working closely to make sure we provide relief from the borrowers that are being taken advantage of it. >> with respect to complying with federal law and court rulings, can we expect the department to -- to fall in line with rulings that protect
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students? >> definitely, yes. >> all right. thank you. second, in addition to complying with federal law, how are you working with state law enforcement to ensure that borrowers are protected by -- from predatory for-profit colleges? >> as i said earlier, we're looking at this whole issue as a priority for us. we hired our -- richard to lead the fsa. we're assembling a team who understand the importance of putting our borrowers at the center of conversation and making sure that the policies and regulation and enforcement protect our borrowers. we'll work with our stakeholders, including state leaders and attorneys general to make sure we're hearing information. we're signaling also to the lenders and all institutions that we're monitoring this and we're going to do so with intent
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to protect our borrowers. that will be the messaging you'll be seeing. we're trying to assemble a team in that office. that's a priority for us at the department. >> well, i understand the messaging. i hope there will be action in enforcement and protection. last week, the department of education announced it was adding two new categories of borrow defense claims that would result in 18,000 borrowers who attended the failed for-profit itt technical institute receiving $500 million of debt forgiveness, 18,000 borrowers receiving forgiveness. itt tech lied to them regarding prospects. what will debt relief mean to these borrowers? >> it will mean a lot. it will let them go on and buy their homes, move on with life.
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if you were taken advantage of and you weren't able to finish your degree puts borrowers in a very bad position. i want to be clear, we haven't been sitting idol. we provided relief in borrow defense. we delivered for the 72,000 borrowers that needed that relief. we also approved 500 million in new discharges for 18,000 borrowers who attended itt as you mentioned. we're continuing to push here. we recognize it's a priority. every opportunity that we have to either provide discharges or relief, we will. and we're sending messages, i think we're just not waiting for the loan forgiveness decision to be made, we're doing what we can to provide relief to borrowers who have been taken advantage of we'll continue to do that. >> with the time we have remaining, how does this step fit within the department's overall work to stop
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unscrupulous for-profits from harming students in the first place, not letting them get into debt? s. we'll be monitoring it closely. we're advocating for those who are being taken advantage of. when we talk about equity in access, we need to make sure we stop bleeding and address the issues -- the symptoms that result when we have students taken advantage of. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. i notice that the gentleman from wisconsin has returned. gentleman from wisconsin. >> we never left. i don't think. but that's okay. glad you noticed me. >> okay. mr. secretary, got a question for you. i can never remember a time in my public life in which parents and grandparents are more concerned about curriculum in american education, be it k-12 or universities.
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you issued priorities. you approvingly quoted the professor ibramx, the book how to be an anti-racist. he argued for an anti-racist amendment for the u.s. constitution. he says among other things it should establish a department of anti-racism to monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. today it seems like everybody is racist, monitor public officials, his proposed amendment would require the department of anti-racism to preclear all local, state and federal policies. mr. secretary, do you think this is kind of a radical proposal or kind of inconsistent with where we should be going? >> i want to comment that for me, it's really important that think reiterate at every opportunity i have that the federal government doesn't get involved in curriculum.
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i think it doesn't prescribe, nor does it mandate. curriculum is left to the state and locals. quite frankly, it is more political than it is program. i want to make sure i make that clear every chance i have. >> it kind of concerns me a little that you quote this guy. i just read a little bit about what he's got in there. do you understand that's rad ral and outside the mainstream or should be outside the mainstream? >> again, the focus for us is really giving districts and states the opportunity to select and to think about educating. i'll be very frank with you. you're an educator, right? i trust educators across the country to make decisions on what their communities need. we have local boards and state officials for that reason. it's really not the federal government's role to determine what gets taught. >> i'm glad you think that way. you can understand why it concerns people to have the secretary of education kind of
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quoting positively this professor's ideas. do you have any comment on that? i mean, you mentioned him. you mentioned him approvingly. do you realize how radical and kind of out of touch this guy is? >> i realize educators across the country understand how to create a sense of community using curriculum. but i also don't want to miss the opportunity for educators to pro-actively communicate how important it is to provide diverse perspectives. as an educator, when we bring curriculums in and they can city other students and stories of different cultures, it gives them an awareness of the world they're walking into. they're better prepared, sir, for life when they have a well-balanced curriculum.
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i trust that policymakers at the local level have that in mind. >> a little while back -- we're running out of time here, i and 18 of my colleagues wrote on june 10th a letter regarding anti-semitism on college campuses and the significance of president trump's executive order. are you familiar with the letter? are you familiar with the letter? >> yes, thank you. my staff has the letter, yes. >> okay. are you familiar with executive order 13899 combatting anti-semitism? >> yes. >> do you want to -- can you publicly commit here to enforcing title 6 in line with executive order of 13899? >> i commit to looking into it more and working with you to make sure we're combatting
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anti-semitism. prejudice of any kind has no place in our schools. as educators and leaders we have to make sure we're working together in a bipartisan fashion to ensure our schools are safe from harassment or prejudice. >> i want to ask one more follow-up on past contact. i am an advocate for work centers and workplace choices for peoples with disabilities. i'm afraid a lot of people in washington are going to take steps towards closing these without being adequately familiar with them. i've talked to you before. can you commit to visiting some of these work centers with me or someone else before you make zigs? >> yes. as i sit on the call, i look forward to it. i enjoy visits. that is on my list of places to visit to learn more about the issue. thank you, sir. >> if i get to go along. thank you. >> gentleman's time is expired. mr. secretary, we have another
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educator, former college professor, dr. adams from north carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, ranking member, for holding this meeting and thank you secretary cardona. good to see you again. i am an educator as scott has said, life-long, 40 years on a college campus but also training, working with young people who are going out into teaching. i'm also the mother of an elementary school principal. thank you for your testimony. thank you for being an educator. the national center for college students with disabilities in north carolina collect information and conduct research about provisions for individuals with disabilities at campuses across america, provide technical assistance and information to those seeking aid and spoke to the department of ed about the current status of college students with disabilities. they work hard to support
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students. they are concerned that it won't receive the funding that they need to operate. i did send you a letter, secretary cardona, but because you are here, i want to take the opportunity to ask you about an update regarding funding for the nccsd. they have examined the predatory behavior of for-profit colleges as well. you talked a little bit about that, but i want to clarify i'm only referring to for-profit institutions, which prey on students and if you can explain just a little bit more about how you want to oversee this, as well as speak to the letter that i sent you or what we can do to make sure that these government organizations continue to operate. >> thank you, congresswoman adams, and thank you to your daughter serving as a school principal. not an easy time to serve as a school leader.
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i know across the country families and students are counting on the leadership of our school principals to make sure schools are safe and welcoming places for them to learn. with regard to the letter, i'm going to ask my staff to follow up with your staff and you to give you an update on that. i can tell you, though, that protecting our borrowers is a priority. especially for-profit institutions who prey on selling dreams and never delivering. they end up with greater debt and no credential, degree, that can help them in the work force. i recognize the challenge they have. we want to make sure we're working hard to support those students and keep them at the center of the conversations. i look forward to working with you and others to make sure we stop those.
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>> the covid-19 pandemic has underscored the disparity and opportunities for different segments of our population. i've got a two-part question. you can briefly discussion the department's plans for addressing the disparities in low-income institutions and the plans for addressing disparity in students loan default. >> we know in higher education, the impact of the pandemic has disproportionately affected students of color. in many cases these students are not returning back because they have to work another job to make ends meet or take care of basic needs at the home. i recently was in michigan and i spoke to a middle-aged student who wanted to return to school but the cost of books was too high. and we know that in the family plan, the funds for increasing pell can help with some of those
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factors. we know that protecting borrowers from misconduct is another way we can help students get back in. in the american rescue plan, $40 billion went to higher education. half of that needs to go to students in greater need. there are efforts under way to make sure we're getting the numbers back up and reengaging the students. we want them to have the opportunity to succeed. those efforts really need to be targeted toward those students that we lost. we know it's disproportionately black and brown students. the president is also very big on ensuring that they have the funding they need to continue their efforts to recruit and retain students so they can find success as well. >> thank you very much. i've only got 17 seconds, but i'll send you my question. it has to do with taking a look
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at the connection between culturally responsive education student the achievement. we'll send that on to you. if you can give us a response, we'd appreciate it. chairman, i'm going to yield back. >> thank you, thank you. next is the gentleman from georgia, mr. allem. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, great to have you today. both of my parents were educators. i learned a lot around the kitchen table every night. and so i know a little bit about what you're up against. you know, we've talked about the american rescue plan being necessary to re-open schools. i've got to 2e8 you, what do you say to tens of thousands of educators like those teachers in my district and certainly your state, i congratulate you on getting that open, who successfully put their students first and re-opened schools last fall long before the american rescue plan was enacted. >> well, like you, we worked
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really hard to -- there day one. mrch 12th i think we shut the schools down in 2020. we worked with the health departments to safely re-open schools with mitigation strategies. >> we did that. >> not all schools are built the same. not all districts have the same resources. the ventilation system in one school was antiquated, hasn't had the attention it needed. ppe needs, additional staffing where we had classes of 20 or 30, we had to limit class sizes. >> i don't understand the inequities. in my district, we prioritize school construction and things like that. other districts i see, i wouldn't want my child to attend those schools.
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moving on, many teachers have made tough choices but, you know, families across the country have made a lot of sacrifices, too. and in this everyday learning environment, you acknowledge in your testimony that learning the loss is going to be an exceptional challenge, maybe five to nine months of learning during the pandemic, those minority students may have lost up to a year of learning. i'm afraid we have a generation of students who have been put at a tremendous disadvantage. parents want their schools to ramp up the skills for jobs like cyber security, engineering, health care, to compete with china. yet the department is preoccupied with pushing civics grant programs that have also dln cited like critical race theorists who have promoted divisive theology. secretary cardona, are you aware of the outcry and frustration
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right now among parents with the state of education in america? i mean, this is going to be like the next grass roots movement of this country and i feel it. what are you hearing? >> this is more about politics than programming. there was a very minor reference to an example that included that. what we have focused on, as you mentioned, and cte, that's where we're going. we need to modernize and evolve our high schools and middle schools to make sure that we're addressing what was called earlier a gap between high schools and two-year colleges so that students have access to good career technical education, to those jobs in cyber security that you mentioned. we have to work more closely with the work force. our agency, let me be very year, our agency have been focusing on that since day one. we'll continue to focus and we're not going to get districted. >> there's a tremendous disconnect between the business community and education
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community. that gap needs to be closed. i want to enter into the record a polling result that shows overwhelming support for school choice, both public and private school choice. this recent polling shows it's highly bipartisan, when asked 675% of survey respondents supported school choice, allowing families to choose a menu of options. 75% of republicans, 61% of democrats surveyed said they support school choice. in your testimony, you said that you're committed to reversing funding inequities. there's nothing more inequitable than a wealthy parent being able to send their child to any school they want with outdated education policies telling low-income parents they can't have the same opportunities. mr. secretary, will you commit to working with congress to pass
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legislation to give every child in america to attend the school that best suits their needs? >> thank you, congressman. i fully support.notion that every school across the country should provide high-quality education. while i understand choice, parents should have choice. it should never come at the expense of a local school. the choice shouldn't be because one school can't meet the need of the learners. we have to make sure that all schools can meet the needs of learners and not have a system of winners and loser. >> yes, but until that is achieved we need to give the students the choice or we're going to lag behind. thank you, mr. secretary. i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you. next is the gentleman from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you and thank the ranking member for have this hearing and hosting the secretary. mr. secretary, thank you so much for your service and your insights. i have two areas i wanted to
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question you about. first is work force development in teaching. trying to attract the best and the brightest in a career, as we've heard from my colleagues, mr. adams, mr. takano, mr. allem. post-pandemic we look like the trend may be heading into the wrong direction, particularly in areas like the one i live in in the san francisco bay area, high-cost areas, it's a real challenge. $43 state say they have significant shortages in science teachers, 42 states in math and, of course, all states have significant shortages when it comes to special education. pre-covid i was out at a disadvantaged school, middle school, spent a day there. i asked the principal before i
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left what was it she needed the most? she said, well, there's a lot but behavioral health, particularly for my teachers. the kids need more counseling with all that we're learning about neuroscience and stress, deploying those assets and funding those assets would help my teachers a lot. this was a school where teachers left frequently, both young ones and older ones. i very much appreciate your commitment in the budget, your comments and testimony about this issue, but how do we help you and engage on attracting the best and the brightest into the teaching field and keeping them there and having them compensated appropriately? >> thank you very much for that question and acknowledging the needs. doing it from the perspective of an educator, i appreciate you sharing that comment from the educator. first and foremost, we need to make sure we respect the profession. i think they're saying that people, just because you went to school doesn't mean you're an
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educator. our educators are dealing with so much, dealing with mental health needs, dealing with a country that's divided that we're unifying again. we recognize that. like that young man i spoke to at the high school in new york, they're coming back after a pandemic and many of them are facing loss, many of them are facing job loss for their family members. and we need to make sure we restructure the schools and provide that social and emotional well-being and support they need, making sure we provide mental health access to our students. that's how we heal together. the academics will come when the students' bandwidth for learning is increased we make sure students aren't hungry, make sure students have emotional needs met, and that we're doing everything we can to meet them where they are. the plan asks for that and the plan also supports the teachers in in doing that. the american families plan, for example, provides about $9 billion and ensuring that we
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have certification for those hard-to-teach and hard-to-reach areas, the shortages in special education, there's title 1 funding to increase pay for teachers who are working very hard to support our neediest learners but are underpaid compared to peers in other professions. there's a commitment from the president to lift up the profession, respect the profession, make sure teachers have the tools they need to be successful so our students can be successful. >> terrific. another statistic, i believe from your department, that the profession is 20%, on average, paid less than comparable fields with comparable education which to me sounds not as dramatic as it really is. at least in expensive areas like the bay area. i want to talk to you a little bit about -- the last point, though, also your commitment to community schools, investing in
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community, a very important challenge. representative thompson and i some years ago worked successfully to get funding on family engagement centers. all the indications are that that really helps in schools with achievement cap. i also want to talk about the exponential research that we're getting on cognitive development, neuroscience, impact of stress in communities, families engaging. i want to talk a little bit about making sure your department is current with all of this. this includes, of course, coming out of the pandemic, a wonderful opportunity. the kids are challenged right now as they develop, even though we know what stress does to kids' brain development. >> thank you. i've always felt that our practice sometimes doesn't connect with the research as much as it should. this is an opportunity for us to really make sure we're following the science, especially around how students develop emotionality, how that impacts
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learning and then our community schools, the intent it the here is to make sure we're taking care of basic needs. if a student is hungry, they're not going to be as able to learn. if they're worried about housing insecurity. we have to connect with them better. >> thank you, mr. chairman. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you. next is the gentleman from indiana, mr. banks. >> thank banks. >> thank you, mr. chairman and mr. secretary for being with us today. as you know the trump administration modernized the reporting process for large gifts and contracts from foreign countries to the department. as my colleague mentioned earlier, the department issued a report in october of 2020 revealing universities had failed to report $6.5 billion in gifts and contracts from foreign
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sources, including china, and opened 19 university investigations. a simple quick question to get started for you, has your office of general counsel briefed you on this report? >> i have been informed of the concerns, yes. >> have you been briefed in detail on this report? simple question. >> no. >> okay. will you commit today that you will request a full briefing on this matter from your office of general counsel? >> yes, i will. this is important to us also and we want to look into this matter. we want to work with you and others to make sure we're addressing this. this is a major concern across party lines. >> i appreciate it. nearly a decade ago the fbi warned that hostile foreign actors use colleges and universities to spread propaganda, steal intellectual
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property and recruit for espionage. the chinese communist party knows that american universities are home to government-funded national security research and use chinese student and scholar associations to collect our sensitive information and send it back to beijing. in january president biden withdrew a trump-era proposed regulation that one of the established requirements for student in exchange visitor program certified schools to disclose agreements with confucios institutes. how does the biden administration propose to protect our sensitive research from our greatest adversaries? >> thank you. we recognize your concern. we look forward to working with you to make sure we hear your concerns and take that into account as we move forward.
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>> so you don't reject my question? you say you don't reject my question? >> i understand you have concerns about that. i commit to working with you and others to make sure we're listening to your concerns and communicating our plans to address that. >> we'll be following up soon with that. >> thank you. >> i want to yield the rest of my time to ranking member fox. >> thank you, mr. banks. mr. chairman, i'd like to correct the record regarding the public service loan forgiveness, pslf program. we all agree that pslf is an extremely complicated and flawed program. my democratic colleagues are not shy about placing blame on the previous administration for all the problems with this program. however, the previous administration just happened to be in office when the key ten-year mark for this program was hit. i'd like to remind everyone what we learned during the previous hearing on the subject of the
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program. glo found zero evidence that the previous administration was to blame for the problems with this program. the record must be corrected. rather, the real issue the program was narrowly constructed in the statute. had we worked together in a bipartisan way to craft this legislation, this program would look much different than it does today. so when looking for someone to blame for the denial of 99% of applicants, democrats should look in the mirror. mr. secretary, i want to say to you if you try to fix this program without coming back to legislation, i will be very concerned about that because i fear you will be doing what the republicans have been accused of doing, and that is you will not be following the law. and i am very concerned about
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that. i have another question to ask you. i'm very pleased you're here today. i want to discuss oversight responses to letters and other congressional inquiries. lots of members on both sides have asked this question. congress has the responsibility to oversee the implementation of the law if it passes. while i appreciate your agency has responded to some letters, not all letters have received responses. will you agree to require your staff to respond thoroughly and quickly to inquiries from members of this committee? >> yes. >> thank you. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you. the next is gentleman from new jersey, mr. norcross. >> thank you, chairman. i very much appreciate this
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hearing and, secretary, great to have you here. looking forward to the 15th of july to see how we're doing things in south jersey. i want to shift the focus away from the previous questions to one of safety. after coming out of a pandemic we certainly know how important that is. according to a june 2020 report, about half the public school districts in this country need to replace multiple building systems. 41% of them need hvac. we know coming into a pandemic how dangerous spreading germs can be for not only students but all people. one of the key components make sure they have a safe space. how is the department going to address the --
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[indiscernible] >> my experience in connecticut put ventilation on my radar really early. we recognized that in order to safely reopen schools in the almost daily meeting we had, we had to include osha officials and folks whose job it is to look at occupational safety. i can assure you that moving forward, educators across the country are taking into account air quality and making sure that the systems that in many cases have been neglected receive the proper maintenance and upgrades they need in order to circulate air and make sure schools are safe for our students and our educators. in our handbook, this covid-19 handbook, the second one, we have guidance on best practices and what states and districts should be doing. there are funds in the plans for
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k-12 infrastructure, part of the american jobs plan, to upgrade and build new public schools where needed, making sure that our schools are healthy places for students to learn and places for educators to work, which includes community college upgrades as well. i don't want to leave out our higher education institutions who are also looking at those same issues. in resources it's there. in guidance and best practices, there are resources there and we look forward to working with our local and state partners to make sure they have what they need to be successful. >> i'd like to enter into the record a letter from the american federation of teachers along with 14 others talking about exactly what we have here. >> no objection. >> thank you. second question, secretary of education is incredibly
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important. what is the background you have relevant at each level to education? the narrative in this country is in order to make it, you have to go to a four-year college. we know that's not the same for every kid. we have recognized and talked about how children are different, their needs, their desires, their aspirations. how are you going to push the narrative that education is more than just a four-year college? and we need those, but we also need carpenters, electricians. how is it when we talk about financial support and student debt that every child, no matter what they choose as their career, is important and can expect that sort of support that we're doing. >> thank you, congressman norcross. having graduated from a technical high school where i was learning the automotive
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trade for four years, then having the influence of a phenomenal teacher. it's important to name them publicly. mrs. ransom said, miguel, you know you might want to consider a career in education. you're using your art to speak. you might want to be an art teacher. so i went to four-year college, but i recognize the value of vocational education and career technical education. i can tell you we need to evolve our schools better and change the culture. it has very old school mentality. we need to change that. our schools need to evolve so that the workforce needs today are met. to four-year schools too because students may want to advance their education. we have to change the culture and change the narrative.
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we do that by creating quality programs. i can tell you in connecticut the running joke was, if you're a welder who knows how to code, you're set. you're not going to have debt. you're going to have people knocking on your door to hire you and you're going to be making a very, very good salary. i've seen it. we have to work together to make sure not only that we're changing the narrative, but that we're providing good pathways for students with jobs that exist now, that are vacant now. we have to connect our prek through 12 schools to colleges. >> thank you. i want to give a shoutout mr. morita, my seventh grade teacher. i yield back. >> gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. keller. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, for
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being here today. when we look at the outstanding student debt, it's quickly approaching $2 trillion. president biden has made it clear that forgiving student debt is a top priority for the administration and it's also my understanding that you agree with the goal. while the narrative surrounding the student debt crisis leads one to believe the swaths of borrowers are saddled with debt. according to an analysis by the brookings institute, households with graduate degree had 56% of standing student debt despite making up 25% of adults aged 25 and older and having a median income between $72,000 and $111,000. the analyst estimated that forgiving $10,000 in federal
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student debt, as president biden has been advocating, would cost about $373 billion. mr. secretary, how does the department justify forgiving the debt of the highest earning households at the expense of hardworking taxpayers of which the vast majority do not hold a college degree? >> thank you for sharing your perspective. i can assure you making sure we provide targeted relief is a priority for us. there have been students who have been taken advantage of by misconduct of institutions. >> excuse me. we're not talking about -- we're talking about the amount of debt the administration wants to forgive and the fact that forgiving this debt is going to impact higher earners at the expense of households with the
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majority of the people do not hold a college degree. my question is, how does the department justify forgiving the debt on a higher income household regardless of what the other institutions are. they need to be held accountable. i don't know how we're justifying, the department is justifying forgiving the debt on the higher earning households. >> thank you, congressman keller. we haven't made a decision on loan forgiveness. i was referring to the importance we were going to place on making sure that students get a good return on investment. >> and that happens with all educational institutions. they need to be treated the same. would you agree whether it's proprietary or not for profit,
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they need to be treated the same, would you agree that's a fair statement? >> i agree, yes. >> we can talk about return on investment and the metrics for which we measure success for students. i think regardless of whether it's a proprietary institution or nonprofit or public institution, it should be the same. i'm glad we agree on that. >> i do agree with you on this. again, this overhaul that i talked about is really more about making sure we're looking at things wholistically, that students are getting a good return on investment, that the pathways we provide them are going to lead to meaningful careers. i know that historically we've seen some gross examples of misconduct toward students and we want to be very clear that we're going to be monitoring that more closely and we want to protect our students and our borrowers. >> i hope that we're going to monitor all institutions more
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closely. do we have that commitment? i'd love to work with you on that. >> definitely. i hear you. as a first generation college student, i can tell you that it's really important that we're monitoring and supporting our learners, that they're getting a good return on investment no matter where they go. we really want to make sure we keep the student at the center of the conversation. >> i appreciate that. i thank you for that. i yield the balance of my time to dr. fox. >> thank you, mr. keller. mr. secretary, following this we sent a letter regarding a report analyzing the true value of the student loan portfolio, to which your staff responded with a heavily redacted copy of the requested document. since then you've largely ignored our request for a copy of the unredacted document.
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will you promise today to provide the unredacted report to the committee by the end of the week? >> we'll continue to work with you and others to share what we have. we stand by our report and the work of our agency. we're not thinking about using a report that doesn't have the decades of tweaking that our report does to get the numbers that we have. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. next, we have on the screen the gentleman from new york, mr. morelli. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this important hearing today to discuss the budget priorities for the department. thank you very much, mr. secretary, for being with us and for your long service to the country. you're in connecticut. not quite new york, but close enough. i want to start by sharing a quote from a very good friend of mine, sherry johnson, on the
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impact the american rescue plan will have on our students. as referenced from the rochester city newspaper titled "nearly 400 million of federal aid coming to rochester schools," these dollars will take care of those pandemic needs and allow school districts to use budgets to get school districts ramped back up for full in-person student instruction. mr. chairman, i'd like to submit that article for the record without objection. mr. secretary, i'm encouraged by the department's administration of arp and the department recently published a description of state arp plans. what's the department's plan for ensuring state plans are consistent with the laws? >> thank you. we have a critical point in our country's history to make sure that the resources that are being provided, unprecedented resources, go where they're supposed to go, to the
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classrooms, to the schools that need it quickly and that the funds are being used to promote innovation but also to address the inequities exacerbated by the pandemic. we've had over 100 calls already to make sure those plans follow the expectation of promoting equity and addressing the inequities that were exacerbated. we're going to continue to work with states to make sure that the maintenance effort requirements are happening and we're working closely with our states and our governors, who have been great. i think we all recognize this moment we have in our country's history to build back better. the resources are there, the urgency from the president is there and now we have to make sure we match it and the funds go towards the students that need it most. >> thank you very much for that. you mentioned earlier i believe the individuals with disabilities education act, which as you know has not been
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funded at the promised appropriations levels in the past. special education classes, you know better than most, for each children continue to escalate not only in new york but everywhere else and accelerated during the pandemic. as i join my colleagues in including funding for students with disabilities, it's crucial we receive support from across the government. tell me a little bit about how you see the budget plan to increase funding for students who desperately need it and how the department will continue to lead in that regard. >> i started in the beginning saying every number as a face, every number has a story. the calls that i received from parents whose children have autism who were sitting at home outside of their routine, outside of the tools for learning they were accustomed to, not being able to see their teachers, the impact it had on
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those students was significant. i remember telling the parents that, you know, we want to make sure children are safe, we want to get them back in as quickly as possible. and that was in march of 2020. we have a responsibility to make sure that we double down and provide the support, especially for those students who are most significantly impacted, students with disabilities who require that additional support. so the proposal, which includes 15.5 billion for fiscal year 2022 and i.d.e.a. part b brings it up to 14.6% of i.d.e.a. it's critically important. those dollars will go toward additional teachers for those students who have been sitting in front of the laptop and we know the laptop won't meet their needs, for student who is require occupational therapy and physical therapy in their
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schooling that didn't have access to that. i hope we have the support on that, because these students can't wait any longer. >> thank you for that. if i could quickly switch topics a little bit, students have experienced significant trauma in the last year, especially true for students in economically distressed communities. research shows an increase in gun violence during this time period. according to a 2019 study, students that adopt a trauma sensitive approach report many positive outcomes. i just wonder how are states and districts using funds to support students across the spectrum? >> happy to send the information in writing. >> terrific. i yield back. thank you. >> mr. secretary, we have a lot of teachers on the screen. the gentleman from north carolina is a physician but he taught at medical school, as i understand it. dr. murphy?
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>> thank you, mr. chairman and welcome mr. secretary. i appreciate your service and your dedication to helping our students. i'm going to talk about two topics and ask you to talk about those. we talked a lot about crippling student debt. you know, that's now a big, big issue. in fact, from the acta i'm looking at statistics that show that noninstructional spending at colleges and universities from 2016 to 2017 exceeded the gross domestic product of 121 countries. we're talking about root causes why this is. so in my opinion, rather than pouring more debt on this nation, we need to see why our colleges and universities are spending more. i look back at my alma mater. i'm looking at statistics that show that 46% of their costs is
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on administrative cost. let's look at why student debt is so much. i believe the federal government exacerbates the problem. it's continuing to increase federal student aid has enabled them to increase their rates, confident that congress will cushion those. how do we get more bang for the buck? how do we cut the excess going on in so many colleges and universities? >> thank you for your question and for your concern. i share with you the importance of making sure we have a role and ensuring a good return on investment for our learners and ensuring that colleges are utilizing funds to support students. i recently visited a school in michigan where i spoke with a student who is struggling with the cost of books. the books i think for that semester were $600, separate
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from the tuition. i also want to encourage universities and colleges to make sure they're looking at the needs of students and providing support in areas that our students need. the traditional student is no longer the traditional student, right? we have parents who are going to college to get different scales or maybe they didn't go after high school but they didn't want to close the door on that dream and they're going back now and they might have children. colleges are serving more of a greater role in many cases than they have in the past. so they might have child care centers there. they might have assistance for students who are dealing with hunger and making sure those basic needs are being met. i recognize the importance of a good return on investment, but i also recognize that colleges are serving students in ways they haven't traditionally in the past. >> yeah, i know. i was on a full scholarship undergraduate and i held two jobs to help with that stuff. yeah, i went hungry. i had a lot of lean cuisine
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meals. there's a lot of bloat that goes on and we need to address that. thank you for your comments. let me turn to one issue that's hotly debated now in the country. that's critical race theory. obviously our nation has had a difficult history of slavery and subsequent discrimination. that said, we also have a very proud history of eradicating slavery, ending legal discrimination and fighting to overcome racism. we have made what i believe is undervalued progress since our troubled beginnings. we continue that fight today. however, critical race theory has a fundamental effect now on the way young children and students view this nation's history. i'm going to ask you this not as secretary of education, but as an american. how do you think the history of our country should be taught, in other words, understanding that we still have far to go, should our history be one taught from
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the vantage point of victimhood or vindictiveness or should it be one of achievement and progress? >> certainly achievement and progress. i'm proud to be an american. i'm proud of serving in this role. i'm an example of the american story, right? but i think we can do that while also being honest about some of the things we're not proud of. i don't think our educators across the country, i don't think it's an issue with them. they understand how our students learn. they understand how important it is to make sure that curriculum is handled there. i feel very strongly about this, that when done well, it builds community, it builds pride in our country when it can be done well. i trust our educators across the country to get it done well. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i appreciate your time. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you.
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the gentle lady from pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, for being here with our full committee. it's good to see you. before i start my question, i just want to note my profound disagreement with my colleague who just spoke about the place of critical race theory in our schools, but i'll move onto the topic of school infrastructure and specifically the physical environment that our students learn in. i am located, my district is located in the lehigh valley of pennsylvania. we hope to welcome you in the not too distant future to our area. we experience educating funding disparities just like districts all across the country. one of my urban low income
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school districts in the lehigh valley has four schools that were built in the 1800s, around the time when president grant was in office. many schools do not have central air-conditioning and many of these old buildings have simply reached their electrical capacity. they can't add air-conditioning. it seems to me that it's really hard to expect students learning in a school that was built two centuries ago would find the same type of fulfillment in the ability to learn from going to school as students attending wealthier schools. not to prolong the discussion of my own district, but let me just say right adjacent is the parkland school district, where their brand new high school -- it was built in 1999. it seems like yesterday. it's a highly rated public
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school and has every possible advantage and comfort that could possibly be imagined for the students and teachers. that's right next door to the allentown school district that i just referred to. i'm happy the biden proposal american jobs plan includes $100 billion for school infrastructure and new construction projects. what i'd like to hear from you is how would the funding in the jobs plan and the reopen and rebuild america schools act, which by the way i cosponsor, help districts like the one in my hometown upgrade their old school buildings and build new schools where necessary? >> thank you for the question. you or i would not buy a car without air-conditioning. as a matter of fact, if the option to go into a workplace on a hot muggy day without air-conditioning, if the option existed to go there or work from home where you do have
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air-conditioning, you would and i would likely go to a place that's a little bit more comfortable. so why do we allow it to be normalized that our students are in classrooms, 20, 30 students without air-conditioning and that's been normalized? the president gets it. the american jobs plan provides funds and through the families plan and the american rescue plan there's an opportunity here not only to upgrade our systems but to make sure our learning environments are conducive to learning and to learning the way learning should be. it's not sitting in rows facing forward. it's students engaging with one another. sometimes these classrooms in older schools are really small and tight and not conducive to got pedagogy. this is our opportunity to build it better and build schools where we would want to send our own children. every school across the country deserves that. the budget and the plans promote that. we need to make sure we're being creative and assertive about
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making sure our students get the same opportunities for their learning as we would want in our workplace. >> we know that a great deal of research has shown that high quality school facilities improve students' academic achievement, reduce student and staff absences. i was fortunate to visit a brand new elementary school in their parkland district where that more modern high school is located just recently. it incorporated all kinds of creative learning spaces for students. it was the kind of place i would want to go. it's not just about comfort. there's not a single person on this committee that doesn't believe that young people and students are the future of our country and we have to do everything we can to help them learn. i'm really appreciative of the commitment of this administration to ensure that not only is the quality of the education good and the teaching staff and so forth, but that the facilities are conducive to good
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learning. with that mr. secretary, thank you so much. i feel like i could talk to you for an entire afternoon if i had the opportunity. >> thank you. they are inextricably linked. >> thank you so much. >> mr. secretary, we've got another educator dr. miller meeks who is an of tht will ophthalmologist. >> i have a masters in education, but that may make me less qualified to ask a question. secretary cardona, thank you very much for being here. i think the wonderful example you showed to young people can do. i grew up in south texas with no air-conditioning and somehow that made me the resilient
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individual that i am, as are you. thank you. >> thank you. >> i also left home at 16 and started in community college. my question is about community colleges. i think they're indispensable to local communities and they provide education at lower costs than four-year institutions. i support each student to be able to choose the best post secondary path for them to reach both their academic and career goals. i also believe states themselves should be able to run their education systems in a way that makes the most sense for that state. president biden would have us believe that mandating that community colleges be free is in fact the answer to the complex problems of both access and affordability in higher education for all students. we have great community colleges in my home state of iowa and in my district, but nationwide community colleges still face a number of challenges like long wait lists, low graduation rates and low transfer rates to four-year institutions. mr. secretary, do you believe
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that community college in every state, all community colleges are equipped to handle the expected influx of students attending on the promise of a free college education and will we be able to effectively meet all the students' needs? if not, how can you defend the president's budget request to send over $100 million to make community college free for all? >> to me, the challenge of meeting the demand for community college is one that i'll accept. if we have a situation where our community colleges have more people that want to sign up, than they can take, that tells me there's a thirst for this and that's only going to have a benefit for our economy, our communities. graduates graduate with a 21% increase in income potential.
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that's good for the community. will it require focus on new challenges? definitely. however, it's about time we realize as a country that we need to provide more opportunities for college access, we need to provide opportunities for students to get skills for higher paying jobs that are there waiting for them. i do believe this is the right step for our country and i recognize it will come with challenges, but those are challenges that i accept. >> already we know in our k-12 system that it has very mixed results. we know we lag behind in reading and math regardless of the facility. how can you ensure that the mixed results in k-12 would not be carried over into two additional years at a community college? >> thank you. as an educator, as a principal,
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as an assistant superintendent, we've been underfunded to the point where it's become normalized. what this $20 billion investment in title i to focus on addressing those achievement disparities with the funds that are being aimed at cte to make sure that we have good pathways that are engaging our learners, providing good s.t.e.m. programming, ensuring we have good class sizes and support for students with disabilities. i expect there to be an improvement in our k-12 programming and outcomes. we're going to get back from this pandemic and we're going to improve outcomes in the k-12. i didn't take this position to keep the status quo. >> i apologize. my time is limited, but speaking of the pandemic and i would say that we send more -- spend more per student than any other country and have mixed results.
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the director of the cdc raising concerns about reports that teachers unions put political pressure on the biden administration to reopen schools. the reason this is important is because in chose closing school rate of depression and suicide among students has escalated, 31% increase in mental health issues. do you agree it's appropriate for teachers unions -- >> happy to have more conversation with you on this or even submit in writing. i do believe that the health needs of the students must be taken into account, not only as we make decisions about reopening but as we think about the fall. >> both the mental health issues and also the exercise of teachers unions on health decisions i think is something we should be focused on as well.
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thank you so much. mr. chair, i yield back my time. >> thank you. the gentle lady from georgia, ms. mcbeth. >> thank you, chairman scott. thank you very much for convening this hearing and thank you so much secretary cardona for your excellent work. we're grateful for everything that you're doing. we've watched as covid-19 has really made a devastating impact on the entire nation. it was a year that we saw all of our adult children and i'm sure they were pretty upset but many of them having to move back with their families and we saw graduations cancelled and virtual classrooms becoming the new normal. when i talked to constituents, it was clear. i spoke with them over and over
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again during the course of that time. even though we passed this historic relief, hard working families deserve a break and we know our students deserve a break. that's what i've heard. my question comes to you about the american rescue plan, which invested billions into relief for higher education. we know this is historic relief legislation really sought to bolster and strengthen and in some cases improve our education system. i've heard from educators throughout my district and we did a lot of webinars hearing from them. in fact, ron wade who was the fulton county school district chief talent officer, he recently stated that each elementary school will get a literacy coach and another literacy related staff member. all this is because of the funding we appropriated for the american rescue plan. these resources are especially
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critical, of course, for black and latino students, whose learning was actually three to five months behind at the beginning of the school year and could be up to six to 12 months behind by the end of this school year compared to the four to eight months for white students. secretary cardona, plans for the use of the american rescue funds that were due on june 7th, can you share additional data or information on the impact the american rescue plan funding has had on the improvement of resources to support our students, especially for vulnerable student groups? thank you. >> thank you for that and for acknowledging the challenges that are out there, but also the fact that the american rescue plan is providing relief. and i love how you termed -- you know, some say, well, look at
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the money here. no. we're talking about a literacy specialist for kids that are behind. the money translation to people that are going to help children be successful whether that's in literacy or in their mental health needs because of what they just experienced. we have 35 plans submitted. the other 15, we're working on getting them in. we're having communication with all the states. we're working with those states and we're confident we're going to get them very soon. we've been in communication with those states, over 100 calls, webinars with 550 groups of stakeholders. so it's really given us the opportunity to engage and partner with school communities and states on how to build back better. we're seeing summer school programs expanded to include enrichment opportunities for
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students who would be stuck at home during the summer. we see extended day programs in the fall for students who have an opportunity to engage with their peers after having been locked in their homes for a year and a half because the pandemic was rampant in their communities. we have additional support personnel to assist students as they come back and we anticipate they're going to need more support. my biggest fear is that symptoms of trauma get treated like disciplinary issues. so we have to make sure we have more school counselling, social workers, better training for teachers to understand students in a trauma informed school. these funds are critical to making sure we build back better and making sure schools have what they need to reopen and our students can't wait any longer. >> thank you, secretary, for understanding the investments we need to make sure we no longer are dealing with these
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disparities and we are bridging the gap that our students so desperately need and getting them back up on their feet and moving towards a global education to compete globally in the world. thank you so much and i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. next is my colleague from virginia who was formerly an official at liberty university, mr. good. >> thank you, chairman scott and secretary cardona. in 2001 the department of education publish add proposed rule prioritizing the development of culturally responsive teaching and learning and the promotion of literacy skills and grants under these programs. specifically the proposed rule references the "new york times" 1619 project and demonstrating
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aspects of culturely responsive learning. it says the revolutionary war was thought to preserve the institution of slavery in american colonies. do you believe this to be true and should this be taught in classrooms across the country? >> i do believe that our students should be exposed to culturally relevant pedagogy and material, but i would refer it to more as windows, mirrors and sliding glass doors. >> i'm sorry, time is short. could you answer yes or no do you believe that the revolutionary war was fought primarily to preserve the institution of slavery in the colonies? >> i'm not going to comment on specific questions regarding -- >> so you will not deny that you believe that? do you believe it should be taught that the revolutionary war was taught to preserve the institution of slavery in colonies? >> i think educators across the country are able to decide how
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they teach our history. >> i'll move onto the next question if you're not going to deny you think that should be taught. professor kendy rote in his book how to be anti-racist and i quote, the only remedy to racist discrimination is anti-racist discrimination. the only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination. secretary cardona, do you believe that discrimination in any form is acceptable and that discrimination should be taught in our schools as an acceptable practice for our children? >> no. >> thank you very much. so you will not support a secretary of education teach any discrimination in our schools? >> we should be promoting community in our schools and i'm confident our educators do that. >> thank you, sir. different phrases are used to describe the radical leftist ideas the d.o.e. is proposing to
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fund with hard working american tax dollars. you called it work. dr. kendy has called it anti-racism but many have known it as critical race theory. one of the concerns many of us have with critical race theory is it tends to view race as predictive. critical race theory adherents share common cause with white spremupremacists supremacists. some states have banned the teaching of critical. does the secretary plan on challenging these states and not to teach material they find objectionable? >> you know it was stated earlier in this hearing that states have the responsibility for deciding curriculum and there is no federal role in that. >> the department of education
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will not challenge actions taken by states not to teach critical race theory? >> i would love the opportunity to finish what i was going to say earlier. >> i would just like a yes or no answer please with a little over a minute to go. -- challenge their intention not to teach critical race theory in those states? >> as i said before, states have the responsibility of providing curriculum. the culturally relevant pedagogy is important for students to feel engaged. i have confidence in our educators across the country to get it right. >> so you will not challenge it legally? >> i think it has become more politicized than it is about programming. >> i'm going to move on. my home state of virginia unfortunately has embraced the biden administration's department of education's policies here and it's proof that that causes all kind of issues. you can just see this past week in virginia's loudoun county the
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board of education there rather than face parental criticism, they shut down public comment, they adjourned the meeting and they actually called the police to come in and arrest parents who gathered to express their grievances for the government and local school officials. i hope that you will not nationalize the culture war that started in virginia and brunt critical race theory with hard earned taxpayer dollars. i have 7 minutes left on my time. i yield back, chairman. >> thank you. the gentleman's time has experienced. next, mr. secretary, is the member you know well, the former teacher of the year, national teacher of the year from connecticut liz hayes. >> thank you so much, mr. chair. thank you, secretary cardona for being here. it is wonderful to see you here today. connecticut is so proud of your leadership. as your representative i can tell you it is a breath of fresh air to sit through this hearing
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and listen to an actual practitioner talk education policy. it is a welcome change. i don't have to tell you how proud the folks are and all of the teachers in connecticut and the parents are to have you here. you inspire us and instill so much confidence. before i begin my questioning, i do want to take a moment to say that we're hearing a lot of comments about the sense of fatigue about any discussions surrounding race and the teaching of race. i'll just say, first of all, secretary, i am just -- your answer to that issue is why you're a teacher. but for those people who are sick of hearing it or talking about it or fatigued by conversations surrounding race, imagine just for a second the people who are living through it every day. i'm a history teacher. i had to teach about the most painful parts of our history. i had to teach slavery to my students. if i were in the class today, i'd have to teach them about the
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january 6th insurrection. there are some things in our history that we just have to face head on, but the role of teachers is to give kids critical thinking skills, not tell them how to feel about certainly events. i admire you. i could take for days about education, but i want to focus my questions around i.d.e.a. this past year has been devastating for educators and special education students. when congress passed i.d.e.a., they promised to cover 40% of the cost of education. unfortunately congress has never fulfilled that promise. a number of students with disabilities served under i.d.e.a. has increased by 25%. the federal government, even with the increases proposed, it would only bring us to about
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16%. i know you described what the plan would do. i have two questions. i'll just ask them right now so i can yield the rest of my time to you. under your leadership, will you commit to continuing these types of investments under i.d.e.a. and being intentional about helping us reach that 40% threshold? and my second question is something i know you care deeply about, diversifying the educator pipeline and infusing the pipeline -- i introduced the state of education jobs act, the teacher diversity and retention act. can we talk a little bit about how this budget will improve teacher partnerships, infuse the pipeline and make sure we have the best people standing in front of our kids who are adequately prepared? >> thank you, congressman hayes.
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it's nice to see you. i appreciate your comment from the perspective of a history teacher. you said it best. that's why i trust my educators. they know what they're doing. they know children. they went to school for this. they're professionals. we can get it right, we will get it right. you're absolutely right about special education. we're hoping to get to 15% of the 40% that was promised, right? exactly. to answer your question, yes, we're going to be aggressive. we're going to make sure we continue to push for the students with disabilities and getting the support that they need, especially post and. i don't have to tell you the impact on students with disabilities, how profound it was and how for some students opening up a laptop and being in front of it for a long time, they can get some, but for students with disabilities, it doesn't really cut it. we need to do more and this commitment is hopefully going to translate into better support
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for our students with disabilities. yes on that, definitely, we want to see that happening more. and teacher diversification, your leadership when you were an educator in waterbury -- the data is like half of the students across the country identify as people of color, yet only 20% of our educators do. we need to do more. there's $100 million to make sure we're getting this right, we're investing in programs that diversify the ranks. i love the grow your own programs, programs that you were a part of, to make sure that our students see themselves as teachers. we need to do more of that. we need to have programs there. we also have to be creative and innovative about how we recruit people of color into the
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profession. so yes i'm very big on that. also when we do it right, there's funding here for that, there's the desire there and there's partners like you that are going to make sure we get it done right. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i'm so proud of you. with that, i yield back, mr. chair. >> thank you. >> thank you. we've scheduled a 10-minute break at this point, but before we break, i want to remind our members that we need to respect each other during the time that someone else is -- during the time with my colleague in virginia, i couldn't quite hear what it was, but obviously it was an inappropriate comment that was out of order, so we want to remind people to respect each other and not let that occur again. at this point, we will have a 10-minute break. as soon as the secretary

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