Author Archive

Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE

Federal Disaster Aid Going to Schools, Students Affected by Wildfires, Hurricanes

The U.S. Department of Education has announced additional federal aid for schools and students impacted by recent natural disasters.

To assist schools in California impacted by wildfires, the Department has disbursed $2 million in Project SERV funds to the California Department of Education. The funds will help fund portable classrooms, substitute teachers, mental health services, and transportation for displaced students (along with substitute bus drivers).

More Aid Available to Students at Hurricane-Affected Institutions

The U.S. Department of Education has announced it will redirect $22.9 million in unspent funds to provide assistance to institutions that have been affected by the 2017 series of severe hurricanes: Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

According to the announcement, the Department “will provide $5.4 million to students through the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant Program, at 285 colleges and universities, including 277 postsecondary schools located in Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” Additionally, the Department plans to provide $17.5 million by means of the Federal Work Study program.

Missed the Washington Update at AACTE’s Annual Meeting? We’re Back Online in March

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As we await a spring thaw, things are heating up in Washington as Congress continues tackling a crowded agenda. With a March 23 deadline to pass an omnibus funding the government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018, advocacy abounds to fund educator preparation programs. In addition, the process for Fiscal Year 2019 kicked off with the president releasing his budget request to Congress on February 12, launching Congress into its appropriations process.

With Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization moving in the House and a bill rapidly approaching in the Senate, what might the final bill look like? Will it be bipartisan? Will the process continue or devolve as the election year unfolds? Aside from HEA, will you pay more for Internet access, or will the joint resolution to address the rules change move forward under the Congressional Review Act? Join AACTE’s Deborah Koolbeck to learn about these and other important topics by signing up for the March Federal Update webinar – an exclusive AACTE member benefit.

NCTQ Brief Calls for Closer Tracking of Teacher Supply, Demand

To keep members informed, AACTE regularly monitors and reports on the activity of the National Council on Teacher Quality that could affect educator preparation programs. Visit our NCTQ resource page for additional information.

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has released an analysis and set of recommendations for states to track teacher shortages and surpluses.

Congressional Briefing Highlights Impact, Importance of TQP Grants

Congressional briefing panelists (L–R) Jane Bray, Jennifer Robinson, Mario Santos, Lisa Fischman, Danielle Riley, and Qualyn McIntyre. Photo courtesy of Megan Shearin, Old Dominion University.

A well-attended congressional briefing February 14 highlighted the positive impact of Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants in schools around the country, aiming to inspire lawmakers and staff to continue supporting the program as they reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) and determine appropriations for federal spending.

In a packed Senate hearing room, the Valentine’s Day briefing presented testimony about how TQP grants have catalyzed improvements to educator preparation programs as well as to the schools and communities they serve. Dean Jane Bray of Old Dominion University (VA) served as moderator for the panel discussion.

Government Shutdown, DACA, HEA, Tax Reform – Catch Up on the Latest From Washington!

Did you miss the January AACTE Federal Update webinar? The recording and slides are now available in AACTE’s Resource Library – a free, member-exclusive benefit! Catch up on all the latest developments in Washington, DC, as Congress works through a packed and polarizing agenda this month. Feel free to share these resources with colleagues at your institution who might also be interested in viewing.

Remember, there will be no February Federal Update webinar (we will resume again in March!), as you’ll have the opportunity to attend two Washington Update sessions in early March at AACTE’s 70th Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. You’ll also want to attend Deborah Koolbeck’s “advocacy speed-dating” session March 2, where you can participate in your choice of five mini advocacy trainings:

What’s Up in Washington? Join AACTE’s Federal Update Webinar

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The clock is ticking on what appears to be an imminent federal government shutdown, unless a last-minute deal is struck on a short-term funding solution (continuing resolution) through either next week or February 16. Republicans and Democrats are facing off on numerous issues.

What’s causing this logjam? Challenges range from settling on a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, increasing defense spending, deferring some healthcare tax provisions, extending the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and raising spending caps (aka “a budget deal”). What’s also coming in February is the need to raise the debt ceiling. Looking forward, we could see more action on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act through the spring.

2018 National Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

Today, the Council of Chief State School Officers announced four teachers from New Jersey, Ohio, Washington, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) as finalists for the 2018 National Teacher of the Year:

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Amy T. Anderson, 2018 New Jersey Teacher of the Year
A high school American Sign Language teacher at Ocean City Public Schools, Anderson received her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and a master’s degree from Western Maryland College. Learn more

December Federal Update Webinar Recording Now Available

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Did you miss last week’s Federal Update webinar? AACTE members can log in now to view the recording here.

An overcrowded agenda is staring down members of Congress as they prepare to leave for the winter recess. Items such as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), tax reform, a budget deal, disaster relief, and CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) are items requiring policy makers’ attention before they leave Washington. In the midst of this activity, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce introduced the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act,” which is the House Republican bill that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

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