Giving Compass' Take:

• Carolyn Phenicie, writing for The 74, predicts some of the education issues Congress could face this year, including revamping federal higher education policy and public school infrastructure.

• What can we expect from a more diverse Congress? What issues can philanthropists support best?

• Read about these promising changes in education spending for 2019. 

A new Congress [was] sworn in this week, with dozens of new, more diverse members helping to propel Democrats to control of the House, while in the Senate, Republicans slightly expanded their majority.

Underneath the larger political fights and battles over pending policy, there’s much to be done on federal education policy even if it doesn’t attract the same spotlight.

Here are six issues that could come before Congress this year:

  1. ‘Groundhog Day’ on higher ed: In the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Chairman Lamar Alexander has a ticking clock to accomplish his long-held goal of remaking federal higher ed policy. He announced in mid-December that he’ll retire at the end of his term in 2020.
  2. Infrastructure week, for real? Many of America’s schools are sorely in need of an upgrade. Advocates will be looking for “an explicit role” for public schools in any infrastructure package, said Noelle Ellerson Ng, associate executive director of policy and advocacy at AASA, The School Superintendents Association.
  3. Focus on discipline and students with disabilities: Scott and several Senate Democrats introduced new legislation to ban the seclusion and limit the physical restraint of students to incidents when it is necessary to protect safety.
  4. Long-lingering reauthorizations: In the education space, experts who spoke to The 74 mentioned several long-on-the-books K-12 laws that could be in line for a reboot.
  5. ESSA changes: The Education Department has set a March 1, 2019, deadline for states to change their ESSA plans for how they’ll rate schools in the 2019-20 school year.
  6. Optimism for charter school grants, headwinds for private school choice: Though some Democrats at the state level campaigned on cracking down on school choice, experts don’t expect that skepticism to affect federal politics.

Read the full article about education predictions for a split Congress by Carolyn Phenicie at The 74