• AACTE 70th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD

Author Archive

Deborah Koolbeck

Director of Government Relations

House Appropriations Committee Rejects Amendment to Restore TQP Grant Funding

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations marked up the FY17 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) funding bill. This was the last of the 12 appropriations bills to be marked up by the full committee prior to the congressional recess.

During the markup, members of the committee submitted 32 amendments seeking to restore or increase funding to programs, clarify language, or repeal policy riders. Of key interest to educator preparation is an amendment offered by Representative David Price (D-NC) to restore funding for the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, the only federal grant program designed to reform and strengthen teacher preparation across the nation. (See our fact sheet for an overview of the TQP grant program.) The son of two teachers, Price spoke passionately of his support for the TQP program and the work of grantees to strengthen teacher preparation. Unfortunately, this amendment failed, but the chairman of the subcommittee, Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), committed to further conversations on the matter as the appropriations process unfolds.

White Papers Explore Higher Education Funding Directions

The National Commission on Financing 21st Century Higher Education released a set of white papers earlier this month exploring aspects of the fiscal issues facing higher education. Designed to guide policy and funding decisions, these papers (and another six still in development) provide a revealing look at the state and national funding landscape for institutions.

The commission, a project of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, has been working since 2014 on policy and funding recommendations for the United States to reach the goal of 60% of the labor workforce having a postsecondary degree or credential by 2025. Currently, the nation is not on target to meet this goal and faces numerous related challenges, from high school graduation rates and access to higher education to workforce underdevelopment. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, other nations are meeting or surpassing the United States in postsecondary degree and credentialing rates.

‘Third Space’ Urban Teacher Residency Offers Transformative Lessons

Last month, AACTE held a briefing in Washington, DC, on the Teacher Quality Partnership grant program. Titled “Investing in Solutions,” the briefing featured several grant recipients from New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia in order to showcase the program to congressional staff and members of the higher education community. One of the featured grantees, New Jersey’s Newark-Montclair Urban Teacher Residency (NMUTR), shared lessons and best practices published in the recent book A Year in the Life of a Third Space Urban Teacher Residency: Using Inquiry to Reinvent Teacher Education. I invited the book’s authors, Monica Taylor and Emily J. Klein of Montclair State University, to highlight some of these lessons for Ed Prep Matters:

TIME SENSITIVE: New TQP Grants Available; Priority Focus on Tribal or Rural Populations

The U.S. Department of Education has announced a new competition for the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program. After consultations with tribal communities and officials, the Department has designed this grant cycle to focus on improving the outcomes of students in tribal and rural populations.

For this competition, the Department expects to award three to five grants averaging $1 million each. Interested parties have until June 22 to submit their notice of intent to apply; completed applications are due by July 7.

Comments Submitted? Here’s What’s Next

Today, AACTE submitted its comment on the U.S. Department of Education’s supplemental notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) for distance education programs in teacher preparation. If you have not yet done so, you have a few more hours–until 11:59 p.m. EDT, May 2–to share your perspectives on this proposal. See our resources here for guidance.

What’s Next?

After the deadline, AACTE will do some analysis to see what kind of responses were submitted and by whom.

Comment by May 2 on Proposed Regulations

It is time again to make your voice heard in the latest request for comments on the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulations on teacher preparation programs. The deadline to submit comments is Monday, May 2.

On April 1, the Department released a supplemental notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) affecting the implementation of the proposed teacher preparation program regulations for “distance education” programs. The Department seeks additional feedback on questions raised about these programs in some of the nearly 5,000 comments received on the initial NPRM last year.

AACTE stands ready to help you respond to this request for comment!

Webinar, Template Letter Available for Responding to Teacher Prep Regulations

Did you miss my webinar last week on the U.S. Department of Education’s latest action on the proposed regulations for teacher preparation programs? Don’t worry—you can view the archived slides and webinar recording online. You’ll get an overview of the supplemental notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) released April 1, along with some of the concerns and unintended consequences that could unfold. The webinar also reviews how to submit to the Federal Register.

In addition, we have posted a template letter for you to personalize and submit in response to the request for comment from the Department by the May 2 deadline.

U.S. Department of Education Seeks New Comments on Regulations for Distance Teacher Preparation Programs

On April 1, the U.S. Department of Education published a supplemental notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) regarding teacher preparation programs provided through distance education and addressing TEACH grant eligibility for students enrolled in those programs. This notice reopens public comment on the proposed teacher preparation regulations put forward in December 2014, but only in relation to the stated topics. All comments are due by May 2.

In this NPRM, the Department is considering how states would report on teacher preparation programs provided through distance education, particularly when students in multiple states are enrolled in the same program. The second area of concern is how TEACH grant eligibility would be determined for students in those programs that are available in multiple states.

New Action on Proposed Regulations on Teacher Preparation Programs

While we were convening at the 68th AACTE Annual Meeting, the U.S. Department of Education made its next move on the proposed regulations on teacher preparation programs. The Department sent the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a supplemental Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) focused on the distance education portion of the proposed regulations. OMB will review the supplemental NPRM prior to publishing it in the Federal Register.

We won’t know exactly what information the Department is seeking until the supplemental NPRM is issued. We also don’t know how long the comment period might be—but it could be as short as 30 days, so we will need to be ready to respond.

New ESSA Resource Available, Negotiated Rule Making Announced

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released a new document of frequently asked questions (PDF) on the transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) from the No Child Left Behind Act.

While this 17-page document does not answer every question, it provides key hyperlinks and covers a range of topics, from state flexibility to requirements under different sections of the law. The Department will continue to update the document in the coming months.

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