As the focus of Congress turns toward accumulating “wins” for members to use to get re-elected, the appropriations process has taken an unexpected turn – work is getting done.
As I have shared with AACTE members in recent Federal Update webinars, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL, chair of appropriations in the U.S. Senate) and Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ, chair of appropriations in the U.S. House of Representatives) committed to seeing the appropriations process return to “normal” this year–and that commitment is coming to fruition. By the end of June, the Senate had moved all 12 appropriations bills through subcommittee and full committee, and the House is on track to do so by the August recess.
On June 22, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) moved its Fiscal Year 2019 bill through markup. Despite the FY19 increase of $18 billion for nondefense discretionary funds from the deal made earlier this year, the House FY19 Labor-H bill received no additional funds (the Labor-H bill contains about 32% of the nondefense discretionary funds found across all federal agencies).
Given this challenge, it was a pleasant surprise to see that the programs that AACTE advocates for receive level funding or a small increase:
As reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) continues in Congress, AACTE is unveiling a new resource to support members in their advocacy efforts with members of Congress. The TEACH Grant Vignettes, collected in 2017 and 2018, provide powerful narratives on the significance that the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grants have on access and financial assistance for teacher candidates.
Here is a sample vignette from an undergraduate grant recipient at Northern Kentucky University:
The federal appropriations season for Fiscal Year 2019 is kicking into high gear during the month of June, with committee markups of the Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill scheduled in both the House and Senate. On top of that, there is a growing possibility that the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, a problematic bill that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), will come to the floor of the House for a vote in June.
Whether or not you just attended AACTE’s Washington Week, this is a great opportunity to continue growing your advocacy capacity by staying informed – there have been numerous developments in this past week alone! We encourage you to watch the webinar with your students and colleagues, as the content covered in the webinar can help inform their advocacy for the profession.
On June 6, while AACTE members and partners were on Capitol Hill advocating for educator preparation as part of AACTE’s Day on the Hill, Association President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone was testifying before the Federal School Safety Commission at a listening session at the U.S. Department of Education.
The Commission, tasked with quickly providing meaningful and actionable recommendations to keep students safe at school and headed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is composed of the leadership of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Last week’s meeting was the fourth since the Commission’s inception in March of this year and the first public listening session.
The U.S. Department of Education has formally published a notice inviting applications for a new Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant cycle. Interested applicants should notify the Department by June 11 of their intent to apply, with completed applications due 4:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 26.
The TQP grant program, authorized in Title II of the Higher Education Act, is the only federal initiative designed to strengthen and reform educator preparation at institutions of higher education. AACTE has long advocated for this program, which funds partnerships between institutions of higher education and high-need schools and districts to develop master’s-level residency programs or to reform undergraduate preservice preparation programs.
As the midterm election rapidly approaches (yes, even though it’s May), members of Congress are scrambling to tackle as much of their agenda as possible before they leave Washington, DC, to campaign back home. Join AACTE for our member-exclusive Federal Update webinar May 23 to learn about all the latest developments.
How might the elections influence activity at the state and federal level? What is the status of federal funding for Fiscal Year 2019? Has there been progress on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act? What’s the status of DACA? Net Neutrality? Get answers to these questions and more on the webinar with Deborah Koolbeck, AACTE’s senior director for government relations.
It’s been a busy spring in Washington, DC, and there is a lot to stay on top of. For AACTE members, it’s not hard to catch up on the latest developments – just visit our archive of webinar recordings!
The most recent Federal Update webinar, held last week, is available in our archive. These exclusive, members-only webinars are held twice monthly while Congress is in session so that you can stay up to date on federal policy, funding, and other national-level developments related to educator preparation.
AACTE’s Day on the Hill is always an exciting event for me. I love the energy of the group at orientation and the feeling of making a difference when I visit my elected officials and their staff during Washington Week. But anticipating these visits can also provoke some anxiety, which is why AACTE offers a full day of preparation before our Capitol Hill visits.
The orientation day has always prepared us well, but this year’s promises to be even better. The enhanced agenda offers a choice of two tracks with breakout sessions tailored to increase readiness based on your experience and comfort level with advocacy.
I have been attending AACTE’s Day on the Hill (DOTH) for the past 18 years. It is a highlight event of the year, as it allows opportunity to assess our priorities for advocacy while simultaneously putting advocacy into action. Over time, I have found that some of the best advocacy team members are our education students. I have had the privilege of making DOTH congressional visits accompanied by numerous students over the last 8 years – including both undergraduate and graduate students – and, in every case, the students have added value to the conversations well beyond what might have been obtained by faculty and deans alone.
When planning our Hill visits, we ask students to help us deliver important messages about pending legislation or federal education budgets and policies to our congressional members, and they are very effective in doing so. More importantly, we ask our students to tell their own story: Why did they decide to become an educator? How will new policy changes impact them as practicing teachers and school leaders? What can the federal government do to make a career in education more important to other students at their institution? When students visit and present answers to these and other questions, congressional members and staffers take notice.