Sen. Murkowski's Education Newsletter for the week of April 12, 2010

The latest Education News you can use in one place.

Notifications for College

On Monday, USED released the following two notifications.  Senator Murkowski thought they might be interesting to you.

Enactment of the Student Aid Provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/GEN1005.html

Launch of 2010 Public Service Campaign-I'm Going: College.gov


Please note also that we are in the process of updating the information available at Senator Murkowski's web page that lists many resources for those looking for financial aid for postsecondary education at https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=FinancialAid due to the passage of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. 


Theft of Personal Identification Information

494 Alaskans will be among those receiving notice that the names, addresses, birth dates, and Social Security numbers of 3.3 million federal student loan borrowers had been stolen from a Minnesota company called ECMC (Educational Credit Management Corp.) during the weekend of March 20-21.  While no bank account or other financial information was included in the lost data, ECMC immediately contacted the police and has arranged with Experian to provide free credit monitoring services to affected individuals.  According to the police report, a safe was stolen that is believed to have contained computer back-up discs containing the information.

The notice will include instructions on how to sign up for the free credit monitoring.  If you are concerned that you could be one of the 494 Alaskans, however, and would like to find out now, you can do so by:

  • Following the secure web link at https://www.ecmc.org/register/Register.do and supplying the requested information;
  • Calling ECMC at 1-877-449-3568. Hours of operation are:
    • Weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET
    • Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET
    • Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
  • Visiting www.nslds.ed.gov, a central database for federal student loans.

According to USED, ECMC "is the designated federal student loan guarantor for Virginia and Oregon. They also provide information and assistance to borrowers whose loans were originally guaranteed by the Higher Education Assistance Foundation (HEAF) and service bankruptcies for borrowers whose loans were guaranteed by guarantee agencies in 25 states".  

ECMC is able to provide information only to affected individuals.  Further information is available at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ecmc-notifying-borrowers-of-data-loss-89299342.html and at http://www.ecmc.org/details/Announcement.html.  

Senator Murkowski takes the theft and misuse of Alaskans' identity very seriously.  She encourages all those who know or believe that their federal student loans were held by ECMC to contact the company to determine if their information has been put at risk, and to sign up for the free credit monitoring being offered if their information was, in fact, stolen.


ESEA Reauthorization Getting Underway

In addition to hearings scheduled by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on the reauthorization of ESEA (http://help.senate.gov/hearings/), staff for HELP Committee members will begin discussions of the following topics starting on Monday. 

  • The Administration's Blueprint
  • School Improvement/Turnaround
  • Accountability
  • Standards and Assessments
  • The Administration's proposal re: Teachers and Leaders
  • The Administration's proposal re: Well-Rounded Education
  • Innovation
  • Safe and Healthy Schools
  • ELLs and Title III
  • Students with Disabilities
  • Special Populations
  • High Schools
  • Data
  • Early Learning
  • Formulas
  • And potentially: Rural Education, Impact Aid, Fund for the Improvement of Education (the earmark title), and Resource Equity.

Senator Murkowski is intent that the reauthorization process should involve the needs and perspectives of Alaskan educators, policymakers, parents, and other involved groups to the maximum degree possible.  If you would like to share your positions/perspectives on these topics with the Senator, you can do so via her webform at https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=EMailLisa/.   


USED Announces Tribal Education Leaders Meeting in Anchorage on April 16th

Many of you who are Alaska Native education leaders may have already heard about the Tribal Leader Consultation USED has set up in Anchorage on April 16th but Senator Murkowski wanted to be sure that all interested parties have this information.  The meeting will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 16th at Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Rasmuson Conference Center, 3600 San Jeronimo Drive, Suite 286, in Anchorage.  Tribal leaders must register to attend the meeting at http://www.edtribalconsultations.org/.  

Specifically, the Department will seek feedback from tribal leaders on the Department's blueprint for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; the Department's Plan of Actions to implement EO 13175 (which directs agencies to develop a plan of actions for providing regular and meaningful consultation and strengthening of government-to-government relationships with Indian tribes); on development of the Department's official consultation policy; and on any other federal education issue that has tribal implications.

USED has announced the following attendees and agenda:

USED Attendees:                  

  • Thelma Melendez ( Assistant Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education)
  • Greg Darnieder (Senior Advisor on College Access, Office of the Secretary)
    Donald Yu (Office of the General Counsel)
  • Jenelle Leonard (Acting Director for the Office of Indian Education)

Interior Attendees:  

  • Tracie Stevens, Senior Advisor to Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk


8:00am - Refreshments and Registration

9:00am - Opening ceremony

  • Tribal elder blessing/prayer
  • American Indian color guard

9:30am - Welcome and Overview of the day with desired outcomes/expectations (ED Official)

Talk about the tribal consultation policy, acknowledging tribal sovereignty issues, update from OIE, ED/BIE partnership; what we have done so far as a result of previous conversations.

10:00am - Open forum or go around the room for input.

10:45am - Break

11:00am - Break-out Session 1

Each break out would consist of: 15 mins - Introduction of lead speaker, background and updates on the topic;  40 mins - Opportunity for    attendees to speak, limit comments to 2-3 mins; 5 mins - Wrap up

12:00pm - Lunch

1:15pm - Break-out Session 2

2:15pm - Break

2:30pm - Review and Next Steps


If you are unable to attend (especially as many of you will be attending the multi-cultural conference on the 23rd), you can provide your comments to the Department via e-mail at TribalConsultation@ed.gov.  Please do consider copying Senator Murkowski or me with your comments.

Bob Walsh, Senator Murkowski's Alaska Native outreach aide, will attend the meeting on her behalf.  He will share what he hears and learns with the Senator and me.  If you attend the meeting, please do take time to talk with Bob about your perspectives and share your comments with him.