Posts Tagged ‘federal issues’

Public Schools Week Honors Achievements of Schools, Students and Educators

The members of the Learning First Alliance (LFA) will host Public Schools Week, March 25-29, 2019, to show the great things happening every day in public schools–and show the potential for greater things.

This second annual event encourages school leaders to invite community members, lawmakers, parents and others to visit and see the wide array of programs and high-quality opportunities offered, honor students’ accomplishments and see the joys and challenges of teaching and learning in public schools.

“Public education is the foundation for students’ success, the growth of communities, and our nation’s future,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, executive director of the National PTA and 2018-19 chair of the Learning First Alliance, a coalition of 12 national education organizations representing more than 10 million parents, teachers, administrators, specialists, school board members and teacher educators. “Public schools educate 90 percent of our nation’s students and are providing talented professionals for jobs in the corporate and public sectors as well as the military. It’s vitally important that we have a strong system of public schools across the United States.”

U.S. Department of Education Announces Process for TEACH Grant Reconsideration

As the U.S. Department of Education is engaging in negotiated rulemaking on the TEACH grants, the Department announced that it is opening a process for reconsideration of conversion. TEACH grant recipients study to teach in a high-need field and commit to teaching in a high-need school in their chosen field for 4 years. Recipients have an 8-year window in which to complete these 4 years of service. If a TEACH grant recipient does not complete this service, the grant funds received convert to Direct Unsubsidized Federal Loan. For those TEACH grant recipients whose grant(s) were converted to loan(s) and who met or are meeting the TEACH grant service requirements, a reconsideration can be requested.

The Department shares the following on its webpage:

If you met or are meeting the TEACH Grant service requirements within the eight-year service obligation period, but had your grants converted to loans because you did not comply with the annual certification requirement, you can request reconsideration of those conversions.

AACTE Welcomes New Director of Government Relations

AACTE announces the newest addition to its staff, K. Ward Cummings, director of government relations.

“We are delighted to have Ward join us at AACTE,” said President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone. “He brings a wealth of policymaking experience and legislative expertise that will help further advance our advocacy work on both the national and state levels.”

Before joining AACTE, Cummings was a policy adviser for the Committee on the Budget in the U.S. House of Representatives, a senior legislative adviser to U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, and director of intergovernmental affairs in the Maryland State government. He is the co-creator of the Congressional Negotiation Program, a collaboration between Harvard Law School and the Partnership for a Secure America to teach negotiation, conflict resolution, and coalition building skills to senior Capitol Hill staffers. He is a board member of the Rosenthal Fellowship, a program designed to provide international affairs graduate students with Federal government occupational experience.

Advocacy PreCon in Louisville will focus on “A Return to Discourse”

As you prepare for AACTE’s Annual Meeting, I would like to highlight a new opportunity for attendees— an advocacy preconference! Preconferences happen on Thursday, February 21, and this one is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Join members of the AACTE Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy as well as other colleagues in the field for “A Return to Discourse: A Foundation for Effective Advocacy.”

The Institute of Education Sciences Releases First Look at IPEDS Winter 2017-18 Data

Early last month, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education Statistics released its “First Look” at the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) winter 2017-18 data collection. This includes fully edited and imputed data and four survey components: graduation rates for selected cohorts 2009-14, outcome measures for cohort year 2009-10, student financial aid data for the academic year 2016-17, as well as admissions for fall 2017.

Would you like to learn about or receive other releases from IES and its component centers and regional labs? Sign up for email updates from the U.S. Department of Education. Once registered, you have the option to manage your preferences to receive only those newsletters and updates that will serve you. Similarly, you can sign up to receive updates at your state level to stay abreast of your state’s Department of Education.

AACTE at the Table for Higher Education Negotiated Rulemaking

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) is moving forward with negotiated rulemaking around a large number of issues dealing with federal student financial aid in the Higher Education Act, commonly known as “Title IV,” and AACTE will be at the table. Last fall, the Department put out a call for nominations for negotiators to be part of a full committee and three subcommittees, and this week announced the list of negotiators, which includes 18 AACTE member institutions.

The full committee will cover issues around accreditation and innovation, and the subcommittees will advise the full committee on the following issues: faith-based entities, distance learning, and TEACH grants. The first committee and subcommittees sessions will take place next week, January 14–18.

In addition to AACTE member participation, I will be representing the Association and its members on the TEACH grant subcommittee. Negotiators also include a number of AACTE partners. To see the full list of negotiators for the full committee and each of the subcommittees, along with the supporting materials, visit the U.S. Department of Education website.

Would you like to learn more about the law that establishes the processes around negotiated rulemaking? Review the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990, or read a five-page summary of the negotiated rulemaking process.

Educators hope that ‘Year of the Teacher’ could be first of many

This article and photo originally appeared on Cronkite News and is reprinted with permission. 

A record 1,800 teachers were on ballots across the country this fall, and the National Education Association estimates that as many as 1,100 of them won their races. 

Not a perfect score, but good enough for educators to boast that what they have been calling the Year of the Teacher could be just the first of many such years. 

“Educators stepped out of their classrooms and into the public realm to run for the legislature and they did it fearlessly, and they did it in a way that made all us proud of them,” said Joe Thomas, Arizona Education Association president.

Learning First Alliance Issues Joint Statement on Federal School Safety Commission

AACTE and fellow members of the Learning First Alliance issued a joint statement on December 19, 2018 that emphasizes the Federal School Safety Commission should help schools provide mental health resources to prevent violence. LFA members said the federal government should focus its next steps on resources and training more mental health specialists to ensure safety of students and school staff:

A new federal report misses a high-profile opportunity to bring leadership and resources to social-emotional and mental health needs in K-12 schools, the Learning First Alliance, a coalition of 12 major national education organizations that represents 10 million parents, teachers, administrators, school counselors, specialists, teacher educators, and school board members, stated in response to recommendations by the federal Commission on School Safety, led by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Simply talking about the need for something to be done without creating the ability for schools to have the tools to reach more students in need avoids a core responsibility.

AACTE Response to the Federal School Safety Commission Report

AACTE President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement on December 20, 2018 regarding the latest Federal School Safety Commission report:

On December 18, 2018, the Federal School Safety Commission released its final report, outlining the background of its work and providing recommendations for action across three broad areas: 1) prevent, 2) protect and mitigate, and 3) respond and recover. While AACTE appreciates the effort of the current Administration to explore the critical issue of school safety, the report raises significant concerns and poses further questions.

The Commission’s report talks about the social-emotional and mental health needs of our K-12 students; however, it does not address capacity building for schools to have the tools to reach more students. The recommendation to rescind the current guidance on school discipline, created to combat the disproportionate suspension and expulsion of students of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ youth, is also highly problematic and contrary to our Association’s values of equity and inclusion. AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone testified before the Commission and joined others in strongly discouraging the use of federal funds to arm teachers as a solution to ensure school safety, yet the report does not eliminate the option of training and arming school personnel with firearms.

U.S. Department of Education to Help with TEACH Grant Conversions

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced that it will allow TEACH grant recipients who met or are meeting their TEACH grant service requirements and had their grant converted to a loan to have this conversion reconsidered.  While there are no details yet, the TEACH Grant webpage states that the Department will share its process for reconsideration by January 31, 2019. This is available only for those recipients who were meeting the requirements and had their loans converted due to noncompliance with the certification requirements.

During the course of the year, stories have arisen of TEACH grants being erroneously converted by the servicer, FedLoan. While the Department is moving into negotiated rulemaking on the TEACH grants starting in January, it is taking action in the meantime to change processes to protect recipients. In addition to reconsideration, the Department is also making a universal annual certification deadline of October 31, starting in 2019.

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