On Friday, April 28, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) extending funding through May 5 to avoid a federal government shutdown. Then working through the weekend, lawmakers reached an agreement on an omnibus appropriations bill (see PDF), which now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for approval to fund the government through September 30.
The omnibus encompasses 11 of the 12 federal appropriations bills, as the remaining one – for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs – was completed last year. Included in the education section, which begins on page 1010 of the omnibus bill, is direction for the U.S. Department of Education to begin the work of offering year-round Pell grants. The Teacher Quality Partnership grants and the Special Education Personnel Preparation program are flat-funded. Title II-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the School Leader Recruitment and Support Grants, and the overall budget for the Institute of Education Sciences are reduced. Details on these areas can be found here.
Why bother engaging in advocacy?
As we say on AACTE’s Advocacy Center: “It sounds funny, but at least where public policy is concerned, it’s true: If you are not at the table, you are probably on the menu. The educator preparation profession engages in advocacy to help shape policy that will affect the field. While AACTE advocates on behalf of the profession at the federal level, your voice as a constituent is also critical – in Washington, DC, as well as in state and local issues.”
UPDATE: The deadline to submit full applications has been extended to June 21.
The U.S. Department of Education has posted an announcement in the Federal Register opening applications for a new set of Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Program grants. The deadline to submit the intent to apply for these grants is May 5, and full applications are due June 19.
It’s a common question: “What is happening in Washington, DC?”
Well, AACTE is happy to fill you in. We offer free monthly webinars to update members on the latest developments on Capitol Hill and beyond that have implications for the educator preparation profession. We even offer the same webinar twice in a row to accommodate different schedules and time zones.
On March 27, the federal regulations for teacher preparation programs were rescinded, along with other regulations (including those for the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, regarding accountability, state plans, and data). Your advocacy and efforts over the last 6 years since this endeavor began have paid off!
Your Title II data reporting and the state report cards are still required by law. Remember, the regulations were on top of what you were already required to do through the Higher Education Act.
Today, President Trump issued a blueprint of his budget request for Fiscal Year 2018 that includes a 13% cut to education spending, eliminating or dramatically reducing funding for several programs of importance to educator preparation.
As with any new presidential administration, this request was issued late in the typical fiscal cycle and is more of a blueprint than a full budget request. This overview articulates priorities, but we will have to wait for details in the full request expected later this year. The blueprint conveys a clear focus on cutting programs, deregulating, and streamlining the federal government.
Your advocacy and that of your colleagues, partners, and students has paid off: A joint resolution to rescind the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations for teacher preparation programs has passed both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and now awaits the president’s signature.
Since the initiation of negotiated rule making in 2011, these regulations have been contentious – even negotiated rule making did not reach consensus. In October 2016 when the final rule was released, a coalition of 35 organizations, including AACTE, signed a statement highlighting concerns with the final product. (For highlights of what the regulations entailed, you can read AACTE’s overview of the final rule or watch our webinar overview.)
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:
On March 2, U.S. Senator Benjamin Sasse (R-NE) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 26 to rescind the federal teacher preparation program regulations. The measure has eight cosponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
This introduction is an important step in the process to have these regulations rescinded using the Congressional Review Act. Already, on February 7, the U.S House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 58 to rescind the regulations. Should the U.S. Senate pass the measure, it will go to the president for his signature.
Two new advocacy guides are now available for download in AACTE’s Advocacy Center. These handy references help you put Twitter to use as a strategic advocacy tool and develop effective relationships with the press.
These guides, available exclusively to AACTE members, join four others we’ve developed to boost your advocacy prowess. Here’s the full list of guides currently available through the federal and state pages of the Advocacy Center: