• AACTE 70th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD

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Deborah Koolbeck

Director of Government Relations

November 2016 Federal Update Available

Did you miss this month’s AACTE Federal Update webinar? You can now view the webinar recording and slides through the federal page of the AACTE Advocacy Center. While you’re there, you can also explore the many resources that we have compiled or created for you to advocate on the federal and state levels.

In the November webinar, I covered the results of this month’s election, reviewed the composition of congressional leadership, and looked ahead to the activities expected during the next Congress with an impact on educator preparation. I also provided a very high-level review of the final rule for teacher preparation program regulations. Lastly, we discussed critical advocacy needs such as seeking cosponsors for a bill in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and engaging at the state level on the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Announcing AACTE’s New Advocacy Center

Today, we are pleased to launch the online AACTE Advocacy Center to support your work in both federal and state advocacy. Please take a moment to visit the new center and explore the resources you’ve requested!

In this one-stop center, you’ll find downloadable advocacy guides, important hyperlinks, and an assortment of other digital resources. Want to catch up on the latest Federal Update webinar or blog post? Looking for contact information for your state legislators or tips on setting up a meeting with your representatives? Give us a visit!

Coalition Objects to Final Teacher Prep Regulations

On October 20, a coalition of higher education, PK-12, and state-level organizations released a statement citing concerns about the final teacher preparation program regulations released last week by the U.S. Department of Education. AACTE is one of nearly 30 organizations signing on to the statement.

Among these organizations’ concerns about the new rule are that it will decrease the likelihood of every student having access to a fully prepared teacher, disadvantage programs serving the communities that most need well-prepared teachers, and impede progress toward increasing the diversity of the teaching profession.

Oct. 25 Webinar to Discuss ESSA Title II Guidance From Dept. of Ed.

NOTE: This webinar has been postponed until further notice.

The U.S. Department of Education released guidance (see PDF) for the implementation of Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in late September. I’ll discuss the guidance and its implications in a free webinar for AACTE members October 25 at 4:00 p.m. EDT.

As you might recall, Title II of the new law is focused on recruiting, preparing, and retaining high-quality teachers, principals, and other school leaders. With many allowable uses of funds for both state and local education agencies to engage in, it is vital that educator preparation be at the table with opportunities and options in hand to support the workforce pipeline of the profession.

Time Sensitive: Action Required by Oct. 23 for TEACH Grant Eligibility

On Friday, September 23, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to the presidents of certain institutions that are eligible for TEACH grants, announcing a change in eligibility requirements. If you are at one of these institutions, a response must be filed with the Department within 30 days of the letter – meaning by October 23.

Previously, institutions could offer the grants if their programs held either (a) specialized accreditation awarded through a Department-recognized agency or (b) state approval plus a requirement of at least 10 weeks of full-time preservice clinical experience and pedagogical course work. The letter (see PDF) explains that effective September 22, the Department no longer recognizes any national accreditor for educator preparation programs, eliminating option (a) as a qualifier for eligibility.

Congress Is Back! Join a Federal Update Webinar

As Congress returns from recess, so do the Federal Update webinars offered each month for AACTE members. This month’s update will be held September 20 and 21.

Each month, I’ll update you on what is happening in Washington, DC, related to educator preparation, and discuss how you can engage in advocacy for the profession. To accommodate a variety of schedules, each set of webinars is offered on consecutive days of the week at different times of the day.

It’s Still Recess! Time to Meet With Members of Congress

Did you know that August and October are great times to meet with your U.S. Representative and Senators? During these months, Congress is in “recess,” meaning members are back home meeting with constituents like you.

Time is running out on the August recess, but it may still be possible to land a meeting with some members of Congress before they return to Washington, DC, after Labor Day weekend. If not, October is coming fast, and now is an excellent time to ask for a meeting—or even work with your institution’s government relations office to invite elected officials to an event you are hosting.

USED Proposes Regulation on State Authorization for Distance Education

The U.S. Department of Education released a proposed regulation last month dealing with institutional eligibility for Title IV funds (federal student financial aid). Comments on the proposal are due by August 24 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

In an effort to address concerns over fraudulent practices, noncompliance with requirements of Title IV programs, and other challenges, the Department is offering this latest round of proposed regulations (the initial work on this began in 2012) on distance education programs with an eye to those that operate in more than one state.

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