New Survey: Policy Insiders Forecast Biden Education Agenda

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Whiteboard Advisors’ asked policymakers, staff, advocates to predict the timing of K-12 and higher education policy shifts; student loan forgiveness, K-12 testing, and Title IX changes likely, survey finds

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“If the last 12 years have taught us anything, it is that a president can wield significant power in education without Congressional action,” said David DeSchryver, senior vice president and co-director of research at Whiteboard Advisors.

Whiteboard Advisors, a unique strategy consulting, research, and communications firm focused on the intersection of education and economic mobility, today released the latest edition of its Education Insider survey, which asks policymakers, staff, and advocates to predict when and whether the Biden administration will make changes to 14 education policies that do not require Congressional action. Insiders were also asked to identify other education policy issues to watch over the coming year.

Among the highlights from the survey:

  • Changes to State Assessment & Accountability: Seventy-eight percent of Insiders expect the Biden administration to issue waivers and/or guidance to allow states to adjust their approved state assessment and accountability programs within the first six months.
  • Desegregation: Twenty-two percent of Insiders expect the Biden administration to reinstate desegregation guidance within the first six months, while 44 percent expect it during the first year.
  • Student Loan Forgiveness: More than half (56 percent) of Insiders expect the Biden administration to take action to allow forgiveness of some amount of federal student loans for qualifying individuals within the first six months. Twenty-five percent believe student loan forgiveness will not happen at all.
  • Protecting Student Borrowers from Fraud: Fifty-six percent of Insiders predict the Biden administration to propose new "Borrower Defense" rules under the Higher Education Act to provide relief to students who were on the wrong side of institutional fraud or misconduct by institutions benefitting from federal student aid within the first six months, while 19 percent expect it within the first year.
  • Gainful Employment: Thirteen percent of Insiders expect the Biden administration to propose new gainful employment rules under the Higher Education Act within the first six months, and 44 percent expect it within the first year.
  • Sexual Harassment under Title IX: Eighteen percent of Insiders predict the Biden administration to revise the rules for when and how school officials address and adjudicate claims of sexual harassment within the first six months. An additional 24 percent expect the rules to be revised within the first year.

“If the last 12 years have taught us anything, it is that a president can wield significant power in education without Congressional action,” said David DeSchryver, senior vice president and co-director of research at Whiteboard Advisors. “The regulatory agenda will be active and we hope this data can play a small role in informing the discourse.”

Launched in 2009, Education Insider was designed to cut through the noise and provide real-time insights on education policy trends from Congressional staff, federal officials, and other Insiders close to the policymaking process.

With offices in Washington, D.C., Boulder, and Menlo Park, Whiteboard Advisors has a well-earned reputation as a go-to partner for innovative nonprofits, impact investors, and entrepreneurs working to transform the education and workforce landscape. The firm's diverse portfolio of clients, which spans pre-K-12 and higher education, workforce development, and the future of work includes DonorsChoose.org, ClassDojo, General Assembly, JFF, and Code.org.

For more information, please visit http://www.whiteboardadvisors.com.    

About Whiteboard Advisors
Whiteboard Advisors is a mission-driven strategic consulting, research, and communications firm. Our team brings an unmatched understanding of the media, technology, and policy landscapes to bear on designing strategies for high growth companies and innovative nonprofits. From offices in Washington, DC, and Silicon Valley, we create award-winning communications strategies, conduct policy, and market research to help organizations achieve scale and make an impact.

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Thomas Rodgers
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