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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE

Applying for Federal Research Funding? View On-Demand Webinars From IES for FY18

The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences (IES) has released a series of on-demand webinars to assist prospective grantees in completing applications for the Fiscal Year 2018 grant cycle.

Some webinars provide viewers with general guidance on the grant application process, while others are more specific to particular grant programs. After viewing a webinar, potential applicants can e-mail IES with any questions they might have that weren’t addressed during the webinar.

In addition to the general-topic webinars, the IES archive currently contains information on five grant opportunities; another five are said to be coming soon. Each webinar’s archive includes a video recording, PowerPoint slides, and a transcript.

Advocacy Group Releases Budget Response Opposing Trump Proposal

Last week, the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) released its annual “Budget Book” analysis of the president’s federal spending proposal and its impact on education programs. This year’s report presents detailed narrative, charts, and tables illustrating concerns about President Donald J. Trump’s proposed cuts to education funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. CEF highlighted the findings at a Capitol Hill briefing featuring practitioners from several states and various education sectors.

At the briefing, panelists from Missouri, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and New Jersey all urged for education spending to be increased. Several speakers noted that even “level-funding” a program amounts to a cut when factors such as cost-of-living and other inflation-related expenses are considered, and they advocated for funding increases to permit at least the continuation of current programming.

CEF Deputy Executive Director Sarah Abernathy pointed out that education-related expenses account for only 2% of all federal spending – far short of the 5% called for in CEF’s “Five Cents Makes Sense” campaign. She highlighted components of the report, which called the president’s education cuts “devastating” and noted that the budget is more than $6 billion below FY 2010 education spending levels, proposing cuts that are far deeper than in any of the previous five administrations.

House Hearing Witnesses Stress Privacy Protections for Student Data While Ensuring Researchers Maintain Access

An education subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing June 28 on “Exploring Opportunities to Strengthen Education Research While Protecting Student Privacy.” Throughout the hearing, hosted by the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, witnesses stressed the need to maintain a balance between safeguarding sensitive student data and allowing researchers access to information that evaluates performance and determines best practices.

Anonymizing the data in order to maintain student privacy was a top concern for the panelists, but Nathaniel Schwartz from the Tennessee Education Department noted that guidelines outlining proper procedures for doing so are lacking at the federal level, leaving states and districts to determine how best to handle the data.

Federal Task Force Identifies Over 150 Ed. Regulations for Review; Comments Due Aug. 21

The U.S. Department of Education’s Regulatory Reform Task Force has released a progress report identifying more than 150 regulations and 1,700 pieces of guidance for review, and now the public is invited to comment on the items by August 21.

The task force, which originated from an executive order signed in February by President Donald J. Trump to reduce regulatory burdens, will now further review the regulations and guidance and develop recommendations on whether to repeal, modify, or keep them.

Washington Week 2017: What to Expect

AACTE’s Washington Week is just around the corner! From June 4-7, we’re offering a robust series of activities for faculty, students, state chapters, and partners under the theme “Diverse Perspectives, Deep Partnerships, One Profession.” Whether you’ll start the week at the Holmes Summer Policy Institute or the State Leaders Institute or plan to join us midweek, you certainly won’t want to miss the grand finale June 6-7: AACTE’s Day on the Hill, our premier advocacy event.

What can you expect at Day on the Hill? First, you should know that it’s actually 2 days long – one full day of advocacy training and orientation in the hotel, followed by a day of meetings on Capitol Hill. You can download the draft agenda here.

NCTQ Offers Mixed Reviews of Undergraduate Secondary Teacher Prep

Today, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released the second installment of its now-segmented Teacher Prep Review, this time grading undergraduate programs preparing secondary teachers based on a document review of their admission standards, content requirements, and field experiences.

Out of the 717 programs reviewed across the country, the new report says “adequate” content knowledge requirements are in place in approximately 81% of programs for candidates in the sciences and in 65% of social studies programs, while nearly all programs provide adequate preparation for English and math teachers. About three quarters of the evaluated programs require subject-specific methods courses, and less than half of those require student teaching in connection with that course work.

Sydney Chaffee of Mass. Named 2017 National Teacher of the Year

AACTE congratulates 2017 National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee, who teaches 9th-grade humanities at Codman Academy Charter Public School in Boston, Massachusetts. (See AACTE’s press release issued today.)

Chaffee, who has been a teacher for a decade, earned her bachelor’s degree in women’s history and writing from Sarah Lawrence College (NY) and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University (MA).

TEACH Grant Sequester Cuts Continue; Maximum Award Down to $3,724

In an announcement on the Federal Student Aid website, the U.S. Department of Education has outlined cuts to this year’s award amounts for TEACH Grants, reducing grants by 6.9% for the year that started October 1, 2016.

This cut, which brings the maximum TEACH grant award down from $4,000 to $3,724, is due to the federal budget sequester. (See this helpful FAQ on what sequester means for the federal budget, or this report from the Congressional Research Service for much more technical information.) Along with other sequestration-mandated cuts in federal funding, the TEACH grants have undergone reductions since 2013 ranging from 6.8 to 12.6%. An e-mail to financial aid administrators last year spelled out the most recent cuts.

Apply by April 24 for Federal Grant to Support Development of Teachers of ELL Students

The U.S. Department of Education is now accepting applications for a new grant competition to support the development of educators serving English language learners (ELLs). The deadline to apply is April 24 (note that the Department requests a notification of intent to apply by March 13, but this is not required).

Grant funds awarded under this competition will go to consortia of higher education and state or local agency partners for the following purposes:

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