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Congress Is Back! Join a Federal Update Webinar

As Congress returns from recess, so do the Federal Update webinars offered each month for AACTE members. This month’s update will be held September 20 and 21.

Each month, I’ll update you on what is happening in Washington, DC, related to educator preparation, and discuss how you can engage in advocacy for the profession. To accommodate a variety of schedules, each set of webinars is offered on consecutive days of the week at different times of the day.

Advocacy Pays Off With a Seat at the ‘Teach to Lead’ Table

You frequently hear AACTE champion the virtues of advocacy—of making your voice heard to help land you a place “at the table” rather than “on the menu.” AACTE staff are practiced at this habit, engaging in regular meetings with key officials at the U.S. Department of Education and elsewhere to share the work of the Association and our membership. I am pleased to share that some of these efforts have paid off with an invitation from the Department to collaborate on an upcoming teacher preparation summit.

The Department invited AACTE and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities to be partners on the summit, scheduled for November 3-4 in Washington, DC, as part of the “Teach to Lead” series focused on amplifying teachers’ voice and role in transforming education and related policy. This event will bring teams of educators together to discuss actionable ideas for collaborative, teacher-led improvements to teacher preparation. We are honored to represent you at the table on this critical issue.

It’s Still Recess! Time to Meet With Members of Congress

Did you know that August and October are great times to meet with your U.S. Representative and Senators? During these months, Congress is in “recess,” meaning members are back home meeting with constituents like you.

Time is running out on the August recess, but it may still be possible to land a meeting with some members of Congress before they return to Washington, DC, after Labor Day weekend. If not, October is coming fast, and now is an excellent time to ask for a meeting—or even work with your institution’s government relations office to invite elected officials to an event you are hosting.

USED Proposes Regulation on State Authorization for Distance Education

The U.S. Department of Education released a proposed regulation last month dealing with institutional eligibility for Title IV funds (federal student financial aid). Comments on the proposal are due by August 24 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

In an effort to address concerns over fraudulent practices, noncompliance with requirements of Title IV programs, and other challenges, the Department is offering this latest round of proposed regulations (the initial work on this began in 2012) on distance education programs with an eye to those that operate in more than one state.

It’s Election Season, But Save Some Attention for Other Matters

As this year’s presidential election promises a tumultuous campaign season, the work of policy development goes on. So while the conventions and tweets capture our attention, the U.S. Department of Education is keeping to its tight timeline for the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), including releasing proposed regulations for public comment (see this recent blog for the latest opportunities).

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.

July Webinars to Offer Updates, Forecast of Federal Activity

Join AACTE Director of Government Relations Deborah Koolbeck for a members-only webinar July 19 or 20 to explore the latest developments in federal policy and what to expect in the weeks and months ahead.

With the national party conventions just around the corner, Congress is scrambling to finish up necessary work before departing Washington until the fall. A critical focus for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations is moving its 12 funding bills through the committee before recess—including the “Labor-H” bill, which funds many programs of interest to AACTE members. This month’s webinars will discuss the fate of these bills and other priorities that unfolded in the final days before the congressional recess.

State Chiefs Urged to Consult Stakeholders — Including EPPs — for ESSA Implementation

The Council of Chief State School Officers has released a new guide for state policy makers to engage stakeholders on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation, and educator preparation providers (EPPs) are among the two dozen groups recommended for consultation. Although the guide indicates that EPP input is required only for state Title II grant applications, it encourages states to “not stop there” but rather engage whatever perspectives best represent the state’s interests. AACTE encourages its members and state chapters to get involved with their state’s ESSA implementation in as many areas and as early as possible.

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