higher education
New bill to take on college sexual assault

House lawmakers are renewing a bipartisan effort to toughen federal oversight of how colleges respond to campus sexual violence.

Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) introduced a bill Thursday to broaden federal authority to levy fines against colleges that fail to protect the civil rights of students in sexual-assault cases.

The bill, similar to one they sponsored last year, also would require colleges to survey their students on sexual violence every two years, increase the maximum penalty (to $100,000, from $35,000) for each violation of a campus-safety law known as the Clery Act and create a “private right of action” to facilitate civil suits when students are harmed by safety lapses.

Other provisions would require more public disclosure of federal investigations of colleges concerning campus safety and civil rights issues, raise funding for federal enforcement and expand requirements for colleges to notify students about their rights under the Title IX anti-discrimination law.

The bill’s prospects in the GOP-led House are unclear. There is also a bipartisan measure on campus sexual assault pending in the Senate.

— Nick Anderson

national education
Chicago schools chief resigns amid probe

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s schools chief resigned last week amid a federal investigation into the school system’s $20 million no-bid contract with her former employer, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett had been on leave since the federal investigation became public about six weeks ago. She had been chief executive of Chicago Public Schools since 2012.

Her resignation means more leadership turnover for the 400,000-student school system, one of the nation’s largest. The city has had four schools chiefs since Arne Duncan resigned in 2009 to become U.S. education secretary.

— Emma Brown

$5,100

Amount of money that middle- and upper-income families can receive in Nevada if they pull their children out of public school, to be used to pay for tuition at private and parochial schools or to cover home-schooling expenses. Advocates consider the new voucher law to be a model.