Rutgers students advocate on Capitol Hill for financial aid

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As Congress weighs budget proposals that would significantly cut student aid and other discretionary spending, 15 students from Rutgers in Newark, New Brunswick and Camden urged federal legislators to maintain the current level of student aid funding.

The students traveled on Tuesday to Washington, where they headed to all 14 New Jersey congressional delegation offices to put a human face to the need for continued funding of federal aid programs.

Prosper Delle, at Rutgers University-Newark sophomore, shared with U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J. 11th District), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, that without the Pell Grants and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants he receives, he would have to take on more debt to earn his degree.

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“These grants help make it possible for me to go to college,” said Delle, a public administration major who immigrated to the United States from Ghana.

Rutgers students benefit from a variety of federal aid programs totaling $400 million, including Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Work-Study, and Perkins Loans and Direct Loans.

More than 17,000 students — one-third of Rutgers undergraduates — receive Pell Grants, which provide $75 million toward their educational costs.

Joe Clark, a sophomore communication major at Rutgers-New Brunswick, stressed that the students are not asking for more funding, but to maintain current levels. He asked a receptive U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) that he and other legislators support the appropriated base of $4,860 for the Pell Grant, which would allow the scheduled increase in the maximum award to $5,935 in fiscal year 2018.

The students also encouraged representatives to restore year-round Pell Grants to give students the opportunity to graduate sooner by taking courses in summer and winter sessions.

While getting to college is key, being able to afford everyday expenses often makes the difference for whether students stay and complete their degrees, said Ini Ross, a junior social work major at Rutgers-New Brunswick, noting that work-study grants help fill that financial need for 3,000 Rutgers students.

“Work-study is a lifeline,” Ross said, adding that students gain valuable work and community experience through the program. “If it weren’t for the Federal Work-Study program, many students wouldn’t be able to maintain their academic schedules. Work-study allows students to not have to choose between textbooks and other essentials.”

The students advocated for Congress to maintain funding of $990 million for work-study grants — which average $1,600 to 675,000 U.S. students — in fiscal year 2018.

Federal role in education has a long history

Federal role in education has a long history



April 26, 2017

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Dustin Hornbeck, Miami University

(THE CONVERSATION) President Donald Trump has directed the United States Department of Education to evaluate whether the federal government has “overstepped its legal authority” in the field of education. This is not a new issue in American politics.

Ever since the Department of Education became a Cabinet-level agency in 1979, opposition to federalized education has been a popular rallying cry among conservatives. Ronald Reagan advocated to dismantle the department while campaigning for his presidency, and many others since then have called for more power to be put back into the states’ hands when it comes to educational policy. In February of this year, legislation was introduced to eliminate the Department of Education entirely.

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So, what is the role of the state versus the federal government in the world of K-12 education?

As a researcher of education policy and politics, I have seen that people are divided on the role that the federal government should play in K-12 education – a role that has changed over the course of history.

The 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

This leaves the power to create schools and a system for education in the hands of individual states, rather than the central national government. Today, all 50 states provide public schooling to their young people – with 50 approaches to education within the borders of one nation.

Public schooling on a state level began in 1790, when Pennsylvania became the first state to require free education. This service was extended only to poor families, assuming that wealthy people could afford to pay for their own education. New York followed suit in 1805. In 1820, Massachusetts was the first state to have a tuition-free high school for all, and also the first to require compulsory education.

By the late 1800s, public education had spread to most states, in a movement often referred to as the common school movement. After World War I, urban populations swelled, and vocational education and secondary education became part of the American landscape. By 1930, every state had some sort of compulsory education law. This led to increased control of schools by cities and states.

As for the federal government’s role, education is not specifically addressed in the Constitution, but a historical precedent of central government involvement does exist.

In 1787, the Continental Congress, the central government of the United States between 1776 and 1787, passed the Northwest Ordinance, which became the governing document for Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota.

The ordinance included a provision encouraging the creation of schools as a key component of “good government and the happiness of mankind.” Just two years earlier, the Land Ordinance of 1785 required land to be reserved in townships for the building of schools.

The role of the federal government in general grew much larger after the Great Depression and World War II, but this growth largely excluded K-12 education until the 1960s. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson included education policy in his vision of a “Great Society.”

In 1965, President Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) into law. This law decidedly changed the role of the federal government in the world of K-12 education.

ESEA doubled the amount of federal expenditures for K-12 education, worked to change the relationship between states and the central government in the education arena, called for equal treatment of students no matter where they reside and attempted to improve reading and math competency for children in poverty.

ESEA was passed with the intention of bridging a clear gap between children in poverty and those from privilege. Title I of the ESEA, which is still referenced frequently in K-12 education policy, is a major provision of the bill, which distributed federal funding to districts with low-income families.

ESEA is still the law of the United States today. However, the law has required periodic reauthorization, which has led to significant changes since 1965. One of the most well-known reauthorizations was President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. NCLB called for 100 percent proficiency in math and reading scores nationwide by 2014, and expanded the role of standardized testing to measure student achievement.

Under President Barack Obama, Race to the Top was established, requiring states to compete for federal grants through a point system, which rewarded certain educational policies and achievements. This resulted in nationwide changes in the way teachers are evaluated, and placed even more emphasis on test results.

In 2015, Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law. This is the latest reauthorization of ESEA, and returns some federal power over education back to states, including evaluation measures and teacher quality standards.

Since the 1980s, a growing trend in the field of K-12 education has been the growth of school choice and charter schools. Every state has its own policy regarding these issues, but during the presidential campaign of 2016, President Trump assured that his administration would provide federal money to help students attend a school of their choice. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has dedicated her career to the cause of school choice.

On April 26, President Trump signed the “Education Federalism Executive Order,” which requires the United States Department of Education to spend 300 days evaluating the role of the federal government in education. The purpose of the order is to “determine where the Federal Government has unlawfully overstepped state and local control.” This comes on the back of a proposed 13.5 percent cut to the national education budget.

It’s not yet known what the results of this study might conclude. But, in my opinion, it may impact ESEA and the current funding structure that has been the norm for over 50 years, dramatically impacting funding for students in poverty and with special needs.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here: http://theconversation.com/federal-role-in-education-has-a-long-history-74807.

Trump rolls out executive order reviewing federal education rules

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert, fresh from attending a signing ceremony of an executive order directing a review of national monument designations, also attended the rollout of a directive to analyze federal education rules impacting states.

Herbert’s day in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday swirled around a theme he has hammered on during his tenure as governor: Vital issues affecting states are best left for states to govern, not some distant government thousands of miles away.

The executive order signed by President Donald Trump directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to take the next 300 days to review — and repeal where necessary — federal education rules where the U.S. Department of Education has overstepped its authority.

“This executive order makes certain that local leaders will be making the decisions about what happens in the classroom. Parents will no longer have to worry about the federal government enacting overreaching mandates or requiring states to adopt a federal curriculum at the expense of local education innovation,” said Rob Goad, a senior education department official.

Afterward, Herbert praised the Trump administration’s willingness to engage governors and other local leaders on issues that have direct impact on the lives of everyday Americans.

“It has been a real encouraging, and practically a desire, for this administration to have governors at the table,” he said.

The governor complained that top-down rules from Washington ignore local and varying needs that are distinct to states and even individual school boards in charge of particular districts.

“Certainly nobody cares more about students’ success in Utah than Utahns,” Herbert said. “That is part of the big lie, the big misunderstanding, is that somehow people in Washington, D.C., care more. They don’t care more; they trust less. They put a lot of strings and mandates and requirements on states.”

Goad said the directive focuses only on K-12 public education and will result in a report that will be made public after White House review.

“The department’s regulatory review task force will manage this process, among other critical regulatory issues, and work with the public to help determine which regulations are inconsistent with federal law,” he said. “One-size-fits-all policies never work, especially for individual students with individual and unique needs. Supporting local control means supporting education better tailored to the students the school serves.”

Herbert said the executive order will help get the education system back in the hands of state and local control.

“The closer we are to the student, the better chance we have of getting the best results,” he said.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper and president of the Utah Taxpayers Association, said any move toward repealing federal regulations on education mandates to the states is a good one.

“it will enable us to reform education our way, the Utah way, instead of the federal government’s,” he said.

Stephenson said Utah is among the states in the nation that receive very little in federal education funding, but it is held to the same standards as other states.

“I question whether it is worth the money we are getting,” he said.

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Ohio Gives Up Federal Charter Grant Funding for Poorly Rated Sponsors

The Ohio Department of Education is declining $22 million in federal charter school grant money, saying some organizations that authorize charter schools are rated too poorly to qualify.

The decision to give up federal funds comes as Ohio charters are facing increased scrutiny, including from former U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich who is on a speaking tour this week to criticize charter schools in the state.

To receive federal funds to expand charters, sponsors—school districts, public agencies and non-profit organizations that authorize charters—are supposed to be rated “effective” or “exemplary.” Only five out of 65 sponsors received “effective” ratings and none were deemed exemplary in the fall, according to the Associated Press. See a list of sponsors and ratings by the Ohio Department of Education.

The Ohio education agency sent a letter earlier this month to the U.S. Department of Education, explaining that the state plans only to use $49.4 million out of $71 million granted in 2015 for charter expansions.

“While these numbers are lower than originally projected, we think the increased level of accountability will bolster the grant’s purpose of creating high-quality community schools,” states the letter by Steve Gratz, senior executive director of the department’s center for student support and education options.

As Ohio turns away some funding, states might see more charter grants in the future. President Donald Trump’s federal budget proposal would add $168 million, up from the current $333 million in the grants program.

In recent years, Ohio has been working on oversight for charters. In 2015, David Hansen, the state’s school choice director, resigned after admitting he left out the failing grades of online charter schools when evaluating sponsors. See an Education Week story about online schools’ attendance audits.

The Ohio department now is using a stricter rating tool for charter sponsors, which it touts as “most comprehensive sponsor evaluation systems in the country” on its website. With failing ratings in the fall, 21 were in line to possibly lose their oversight power, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Still, there is a push for more accountability.

Kucinich, who is a former Cleveland mayor and two-time candidate for president, is on a five-city tour this week to give speeches about charter schools, saying they are taking funding away from traditional public schools and pushing for changes to the state’s charter law, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He also said he is exploring the possibility of filing a lawsuit to change the funding for charters, according to WOSU Public Media

Local media and observers say Kucinich might be speaking about charter schools to garner attention for a possible run for governor, but he has not confirmed that speculation during his tour.

Ohio also got attention earlier this month when school-choice advocate and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited a traditional public school in Van Wert, Ohio, alongside Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, who has been critical of DeVos.

Contact Sarah Tully at [email protected].

Conservatives Embrace, Progressives Deride Trump’s Order to Scale Back Federal K-12 Role

Charles Barone, director of policy for Democrats for Education Reform, said no one needed an executive order to signal that Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would be backing away from  “all kinds of things when it comes to the federal role in education.” He said barely a week ago they announced they were moving away from federal oversight of the student loan industry. He charged the administraton with putting the interest of lenders above students and their families. 

“That’s like rooting for Darth Vader in a crowded showing of the Star Wars series,” Barone said in an email. “It’s hard to imagine it will get even more brazen than that, but I guess anything’s possible.”

DeVos and department employees will have 300 days to study regulations and guidance issued by the Obama administration to “confirm if they’re consistent or inconsistent with federal law,” Rob Goad, a senior White House advisor on education, told reporters Wednesday morning.

The order directs DeVos to modify or repeal any regulations and guidance where “D.C. has overstepped its legal authority,” Goad said.

Lindsey Burke, director of Education Policy Studies for the Heritage Foundation, said the move was necessary and overdue. 

““It is long past time to review the regulations and red tape that are handed down from Washington that burden the day-to-day operations of local schools and the teachers who teach in them,” she said via email.

The executive order “delivers on [Trump’s] commitment to ensure education decisions are made by those closest to students,” Goad said. “President Trump has reaffirmed his commitment to getting the federal government out of the way.”

Text of the executive order, released Wednesday afternoon, said the review of regulations would focus specifically on “the curriculum or program of instruction of any elementary and secondary school and school system,” “school administration and personnel,” and “selection and content of library resources, textbooks, and instructional materials.” 

The review will focus specifically on the Department of Education Organization Act, the General Education Provisions Act, and the Every Student Succeeds Act. 

Republicans in Congress throughout the Obama administration complained about what they saw as inappropriate executive overreach into state and local education decisions.

In particular, they criticized waivers granted from the strict accountability standards in No Child Left Behind and the Race to the Top grants, which required or incentivized states to adopt the Common Core State Standards, implement tough school turnaround plans, or tie teacher evaluations to student test scores, among other education reform proposals.

“The administration is correct to recognize that education is a state and local issue and that federal intervention has greatly exceeded Washington’s share in the funding of education,” Burke said. “The federal government funds just 10 percent of all education spending, yet is responsible, by some estimates, for more than 40 percent of the regulatory burden on states. This is a welcome review of that burdensome arrangement.”

A heavy federal role was supposed to be largely wiped out by ESSA, which contains an entire section of prohibitions — including banning the Education Department from mandating any state’s curriculum. It specifically says the department can’t dictate decisions on the Common Core, one of Trump’s top education targets on the campaign trail.

(The 74: Trump’s Education Paradox: Return Schools to Local Control – By Expanding Federal Power?)

Goad said the executive order “goes a step beyond ESSA by having a comprehensive review of all the guidance and regulations issued by the previous administration.”

Outside of the general K-12 education programs covered by ESSA, the department is also responsible for implementation of a host of education initiatives, including those serving students with disabilities, and enforcement of student privacy and civil rights protections in schools.

The Trump administration already repealed one major K-12 education guidance, the “Dear Colleague” letter from the Education and Justice departments requiring schools to allow transgender students to use locker rooms and bathrooms matching their gender identities.

(The 74: After Reported Opposition, DeVos Defends Ending Transgender Protections to Friendly CPAC Crowd)

“I don’t see how they could enforce much of anything even if they wanted to given how sparsely they’re staffed at the moment,” Barone said. “I think I speak for many in saying we really look forward to reading the report and that it’s a bit surprising that they want to take the time to put it all on paper. That’s a piñata everyone will want a swing at.” 

(The 74: Meet the 9 New Staffers Tapped to Fill Key Roles in Secretary Betsy DeVos’s Department of Education)

Proposed cuts create concern for education leaders – Petoskey News

Several K-12 school districts and higher education leaders around Northern Michigan show some concern over President Donald Trump’s proposed education spending cuts for the upcoming year.

According to the 2018 blueprint budget titled “America First,” it was recommended that more than 20 educational programs at the K-12 and college levels be either eliminated or reduced.

The proposed budget shows eliminations for programs that help with teacher development, programs that grant money to college or university students with exceptional financial need and the before and after school 21st Century Community Learning Centers program that offers enrichment to rural and inner-city schools.

The draft budget shows a $1.4 billion increase toward public and private school choice funding but cuts the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program and others.

The 2018 budget is ultimately in the hands of Congress.

K-12 education

Brian Pearson, Gaylord Community Schools superintendent, said his greatest concern with the proposed federal education budget is the elimination of Title II funding that is used by public and private schools.

He said Gaylord uses the funding for work-embedded instructional coaches for teachers and for professional development like the district’s annual curriculum camp.

“Both these initiatives were cited in our recent AdvancEd accreditation report as having a significant impact on student achievement,” Pearson said in an email. “If Title II funding were to be cut and/or reduced, schools will need to find the resources in the general budget to offset the expense or cut programs.”

Pearson is also concerned with equity between schools within the current U.S. House of Representatives version of the school aid budget, where it eliminated what is known as 2x funding.

“The 2x formula was established to close the funding gap between the higher- and lower-funded districts,” Pearson said. “Gaylord Community Schools receives the state minimum of $7,511 per student compared to several schools (primarily downstate) that receive well over $8,000. Although the 2x funding formula will not eliminate the funding gap, it does represent a move toward fairness.”

Rick Heitmeyer, Vanderbilt Area School superintendent, said he is disappointed in the amount of money the budget dedicates toward school choice in the president’s proposed budget.

“I am disappointed in the amount of money going toward ‘school choice’ because there is little evidence to show that ‘schools of choice’ has been used correctly — toward academics — or that it has had a positive impact,” Heitmeyer said in an email.

Like Pearson, he said his school would also be impacted by cuts to Title II funding.

“The Title II funding we receive is key in maintaining effective programming for our staffs so they can be on the cutting edge of instruction and assessment in their classrooms,” Heitmeyer said. “All of the federal funding we receive has strings attached to it — and sometimes the additional work required seems frustrating and monotonous.”

However, he said, federal money allows each school to offer “professional learning opportunities that our staffs may otherwise not receive.”

Katy Xenakis-Makowski, Johannesburg-Lewiston Area Schools superintendent, said the district sees a larger impact from education cuts at the state level compared to federal budget cuts to education.

Higher education

Cameron Brunet-Koch, North Central Michigan College president, said the school is most interested in the potential restoration of the federal Pell Grant.

“That could be done with the current dollars if they don’t cut the Pell surplus, which is one of the things that they are talking about doing,” Brunet-Koch said.

She said the Pell program that aims to help low-income students has not been available to students all year for several years.

“Our summer enrollment took a tremendous dip the moment year-round Pell went away and so restoring the full Pell would be a priority,” Brunet-Koch said. “And I have some concerns about some of the other programs that most likely will go away.”

She said students also depend on other programs like work studies that are in jeopardy.

While NCMC doesn’t deal with federal TRIO Programs or the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) that both help students from disadvantaged backgrounds, she said the programs are especially helpful to larger schools.

“It would be my hope that they would find additional dollars to support dual enrollment programs for our high school students either providing those dollars to colleges who provide the instruction or to the high schools who pay for their students to be involved with dual enrollment,” Brunet-Koch said.

Tom Quinn, president of Kirtland Community College, said in an email the changes will eliminate funding for the Federal Supplemental Education Grant. However, funds will roll into Pell funding, he said.

“There is not enough information at this time to fully understand the longer-term impact of these changes, but we believe it will not be overtly harmful to Kirtland students,” Quinn said. “The Pell Grant is student need-based funding. Because of a variety of issues, including our rural location, economic and income factors, our students typically qualify for a high amount of aid.”

He said the school is “somewhat hopeful the majority of our students will continue to receive essential funds necessary to help them pursue their educational goals.”

Federal funds for Dual Language Immersion program ‘mismanaged …

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal funds for the state’s Dual Language Immersion program, among them grants awarded by the National Security Agency, were “mismanaged” by the Utah State Board of Education, a new state audit says.

The review, conducted by the Office of the State Auditor and released Monday, said the State School Board failed to monitor program activities, school staff “were improperly paid with federal program funds,” and federal funds were used for purposes that were not allowed.

The Dual Language Immersion program was created by the Utah Legislature in 2009. The program is intended to help students learn academic content while acquiring another language. For instance, students receive math, science and social studies instruction in target languages such as English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Portuguese, German or Russian.

In addition to state appropriations, the Utah State Board of Education receives federal grants to expand the program to offer more languages. The state board receives federal grants from the Department of Defense’s Language Flagship sub-awarded by BYU and a number of STARTALK grants awarded by the NSA.

Specifically, the audit found that 57 percent of state expenditures between July 2013 and January 2017 from a federal STARTALK grant were “unallowable,” according to the audit.

Grant money was used to pay for “alcohol, parking fines, lift tickets, office decorations and other unnecessary expenditures,” the audit states. While the total amount of the questionable costs is not specified, it was part of a total of $50,648 of “known questioned costs,” according to the audit.

STARTALK grants are awarded by the NSA for several languages deemed of “critical need,” according to the website of the University of Maryland’s National Foreign Language Center.

“STARTALK’s mission is to increase the number of U.S. citizens learning, speaking and teaching critical need foreign languages. STARTALK offers students (K-16) and teachers of these languages creative and engaging summer experiences that strive to exemplify best practices in language education and in language teacher development,” the center’s website states.

In a written response to the audit, Scott Jones, deputy superintendent of operations, wrote that the “board concurs with the questioned costs reported for the (Language Flagship) grant,” noting that “the amount agrees to the board’s internal review.”

“We would also like to perform a reconciliation between the questioned costs identified by this report for the STARTALK grant to the amount actually drawn from the grant to determine if we concur with the amount reported.”

Overall, the audit found a lack of proper oversight of the program, a lack of accountability on the part of the State School Board and local education authorities who receive funding, and inadequate monitoring of program activities.

Jones wrote that the state board “agrees that organizational setup of this program is not ideal and does not promote a clear delineation between responsibilities of the state and those of the local education agencies. Similar state and federal grant programs currently managed by the (Utah State Board of Education) are not organized or managed in the same fashion as the Dual Language Immersion program.”

“At the time of the organization of this program with state dollars, it was a pilot, and it does not appear that when federal funds were added to program that they were classified as such,” Jones continued. “Additional funds increased the size of the program, and adequate funds were not retained at the state level to properly administer the program.”

The state auditor’s office has recommended that the State School Board require that local education authorities maintain and provide to the state education officials “appropriate supporting documentation for grant expenditures and reimbursement requests,” and that reimbursements be granted only after “thorough review of supporting documentation.”

Jones, in the letter outlining the agency’s response, wrote that the staff is developing contracts, or memoranda of understanding, with each public school authority that offers the Dual Language Immersion program.

The documents will outline the responsibilities of the state, program directors and local education authorities.

“Allowable costs and activities will be clearly outlined for all participating (local education authorities),” the letter states.

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

Marjorie Cortez

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Mississippi Department of Education audit reveals mismanagement of federal funds

Police officers in Rome, NY, went the extra mile to give back to their community, helping one in need.

Federal funds for Dual Language Immersion program ‘mismanaged,’ audit says

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal funds for the state’s Dual Language Immersion program, among them grants awarded by the National Security Agency, were “mismanaged” by the Utah State Board of Education, a new state audit says.

The review, conducted by the Office of the State Auditor and released Monday, said the State School Board failed to monitor program activities, school staff “were improperly paid with federal program funds,” and federal funds were used for purposes that were not allowed.

The Dual Language Immersion program was created by the Utah Legislature in 2009. The program is intended to help students learn academic content while acquiring another language. For instance, students receive math, science and social studies instruction in target languages such as English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Portuguese, German or Russian.

In addition to state appropriations, the Utah State Board of Education receives federal grants to expand the program to offer more languages. The state board receives federal grants from the Department of Defense’s Language Flagship sub-awarded by BYU and a number of STARTALK grants awarded by the NSA.

Specifically, the audit found that 57 percent of state expenditures between July 2013 and January 2017 from a federal STARTALK grant were “unallowable,” according to the audit.

Grant money was used to pay for “alcohol, parking fines, lift tickets, office decorations and other unnecessary expenditures,” the audit states. While the total amount of the questionable costs is not specified, it was part of a total of $50,648 of “known questioned costs,” according to the audit.

STARTALK grants are awarded by the NSA for several languages deemed of “critical need,” according to the website of the University of Maryland’s National Foreign Language Center.

“STARTALK’s mission is to increase the number of U.S. citizens learning, speaking and teaching critical need foreign languages. STARTALK offers students (K-16) and teachers of these languages creative and engaging summer experiences that strive to exemplify best practices in language education and in language teacher development,” the center’s website states.

In a written response to the audit, Scott Jones, deputy superintendent of operations, wrote that the “board concurs with the questioned costs reported for the (Language Flagship) grant,” noting that “the amount agrees to the board’s internal review.”

“We would also like to perform a reconciliation between the questioned costs identified by this report for the STARTALK grant to the amount actually drawn from the grant to determine if we concur with the amount reported.”

Overall, the audit found a lack of proper oversight of the program, a lack of accountability on the part of the State School Board and local education authorities who receive funding, and inadequate monitoring of program activities.

Jones wrote that the state board “agrees that organizational setup of this program is not ideal and does not promote a clear delineation between responsibilities of the state and those of the local education agencies. Similar state and federal grant programs currently managed by the (Utah State Board of Education) are not organized or managed in the same fashion as the Dual Language Immersion program.”

“At the time of the organization of this program with state dollars, it was a pilot, and it does not appear that when federal funds were added to program that they were classified as such,” Jones continued. “Additional funds increased the size of the program, and adequate funds were not retained at the state level to properly administer the program.”

The state auditor’s office has recommended that the State School Board require that local education authorities maintain and provide to the state education officials “appropriate supporting documentation for grant expenditures and reimbursement requests,” and that reimbursements be granted only after “thorough review of supporting documentation.”

Jones, in the letter outlining the agency’s response, wrote that the staff is developing contracts, or memoranda of understanding, with each public school authority that offers the Dual Language Immersion program.

The documents will outline the responsibilities of the state, program directors and local education authorities.

“Allowable costs and activities will be clearly outlined for all participating (local education authorities),” the letter states.

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

Marjorie Cortez

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President Trump Threatened to Withhold Money From Sanctuary Cities. They May Not Lose That Much

President Trump has called for certain federal grants to be withheld from cities that do not report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities, known as “sanctuary cities.”

But the standoff may cost the cities less money than originally thought.

On Friday, the Department of Justice sent letters to nine jurisdictions citing specific types of grants that may be cut, many of which are directly related to law enforcement.

Each of the nine letters, which went to the state of California and major cities like New York and Chicago, cited a specific grant that compels them to work with federal authorities on immigration violations. “Failure to comply with this condition could result in the withholding of grant funds” or “suspension or termination of the grant,” the letter warned.

But a TIME examination of the eight grants cited in the letters — one of which is repeated in letters to the city of Chicago and the surrounding Cook County — found that many do not come with large price tags by government standards.

Each grant lists, in general terms, how the locality will use the money. Chicago, for example, stated in 2016 that it would use the funds “to purchase equipment and support overtime patrols. The project goal is to increase essential law enforcement services.”

The Chicago grant is one of 1,010 outlays known as “Byrne JAG” grants that were issued to localities in fiscal year 2016. Another 56 were issued to states, for a total of $264 million. But threats to withhold these grants, which date back to the Obama Administration, appear to contradict Trump’s executive order to spare grants which are “necessary for law enforcement purposes.”

At the same time, many legal scholars argue that it is unconstitutional to dangle any other type of federal grant as a condition for compliance with a matter of law enforcement, in large part thanks to Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion on the Affordable Care Act case. As constitutional law scholar Noah Feldman noted, Roberts concluded that “Congress can’t create a funding condition that is unrelated to the original funding purpose.” In other words, it might be difficult for the Justice Department to make receiving education grants dependent on whether a city reports undocumented immigrants to federal authorities.

Instead, some experts surmise, what could be at stake are other grants issued by the Justice Department that are less explicitly related to law enforcement. For example, there are 25 programs issued by the department’s Office on Violence Against Women and others devoted to juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. While no official in the Trump administration has specifically cited these programs, last week’s letters state that failure to comply with federal immigration law could make states and localities ineligible for all grants from the Office of Justice Programs, which oversees both law enforcement grants and those like the ones mentioned above.

Should sanctuary cities choose not to comply, many predict a protracted legal battle before a single dollar is withheld from a grant, many of which are determined by formulas and aren’t otherwise subject to discretion. In the interim, it remains unclear exactly which programs the Trump Administration is willing to attempt to deny cities that do not cooperate.