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Posts Tagged ‘federal issues’

Federal Work Study Opportunity for Clinical Practice

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The U.S. Department of Education launched an Experimental Sites Initiative focused on the Federal Work Study (FWS) program. FWS is a need-based federal program that provides part-time jobs to students to supplement the financial assistance received from the Federal Pell Grant program and other aid sources. The Experimental Site Initiative for FWS waives several of the statutory and regulatory provisions, including that which would limit the number of hours a student could work, permitting full-time opportunities. 

With Budget Deal Passed, Congress Hits the Road until September

US Capitol on dramatic sunset gold background

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

The Senate left town yesterday following on the heels of the House bringing the five-week summer recess into full bloom. Congress will reconvene in September, and thanks to the passage of the budget deal, move forward in adopting 12 appropriations bills, including one with education spending. However, obstacles remain. 

Webinar Recordings of July Federal Update Now Available

Did you miss the July 2019 Federal Update webinar? Not to worry! The recording and the slides are now available on the federal page of the AACTE Advocacy Center for AACTE members to access. 

Be sure to sign up for the AACTE Action Alerts to make your voice heard with members of Congress as the appropriations season continues to unfold now that the Bipartisan Budget Agreement for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 has been sent to President Trump for his signature. Review the bill here and listen to the webinar recordings to learn more about its impact on education funding.

The AACTE Federal Update webinars will take a hiatus in August, so stay tuned for the next webinars in September. Remember, AACTE currently offers the update twice each month in the same week; one on Tuesday evening at 5:00 p.m. EDT and one on Wednesday morning at 11:00 a.m. EDT.  Registration details for the AACTE webinars in September will be available soon.

AACTE wants to hear from you! Is there another format that you would like to receive a monthly federal update? If so, please email me at dkoolbeck@aacte.org and let me know what format you recommend. Thank you!

Congress Heads Home with Bipartisan Accomplishment

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Congress is heading out of town—the House leaving today for a six-week recess and the Senate leaving at the end of next week. With the amazing budget deal headed for the finish line, September promises to be full of appropriations bills, including the education funding bill we’ve all been waiting for.

colorful waving national flag of united states of america on a american dollar money background. finance concept

Unbelievable:  Congress and the White House Make a Deal on 2 Year Budget Caps and Debt Ceiling

In a stunning proactive bipartisan move, the Congress and the White House have agreed to a two-year budget deal. This frees up all lawmakers and the president to focus on the 2020 elections without the threat of a government shutdown. Key features of the deal include the following: 

Deal Struck to Raise FY20 & FY21 Budget Caps

Graph showing the increase in non-defense Discretionary Spending caps for FY 2020 & 2021Energized by the need to raise the debt ceiling of the United States by early September, congressional leaders and the Administration struck a deal to raise the discretionary spending caps as established in the Budget Control Act of 2011 on July 22, 2019. In addition, the deal suspends the debt ceiling through July 2021, preventing the debt ceiling from being entangled in the 2020 election campaigning and the associated political maneuvering.

Known as the Bipartisan Budget Agreement for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021, the proposed legislation still needs to pass the U.S. House of Representatives (House) and the U.S. Senate (Senate), both of which intend to take up the measure before the August recess. This sets the stage for the FY20 appropriations process to move forward, although there will be a Continuing Resolution (CR) passed before September 30 to give the House and Senate time to conference their bills. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not moved any of the 12 appropriations bills through the subcommittee and full committee process, and the House has passed 10 of the 12 bills. The House moved the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) bill in a “minibus” that included the Defense bill—reminiscent of last year’s efforts that led to the two bills signed together into law before the end of the fiscal year. While the Senate Appropriations Committee currently intends to move both Labor-H and Defense bills together through their process, it is unclear if this will be maintained based on the budget deal. The deal does specify that the Congress shall avoid an omnibus, a bill that includes all 12 appropriations bills with no stance on minibuses illuminated.

This deal sets the defense discretionary cap at $667 billion for FY20 and $672 billion for FY21 and sets the non-defense discretionary cap at $622 billion for FY20 and $627 billion for FY21. This means we can expect a tight year in FY21 given the small increase of $5 billion over FY20 for non-defense discretionary funding.

For now, the next step to watch is the allocation of funding to each of the 12 appropriations bills in the Senate. The Labor-H bill contains approximately 33% of the non-defense discretionary, but it has never received 33% of the increased funding. The allocation will determine if the Senate keeps any of the increases that the House passed to programs important to the profession, including the Teacher Quality Partnership grant program, the Special Education Personnel Preparation grant program, and Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Registration Open: July 2019 Federal Update Webinar

Capital Rotunda and US flag

As Congress rolls into August recess, what is on the “must do” list for September and beyond? Will a budget deal emerge to raise the caps on both defense and non-defense discretionary funds? Could the government default on its debt, or will Congress raise the debt ceiling? What about the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations deadline of September 30? Is the government going to shut down? Is the Higher Education Act reauthorization in motion or stalled, and what does either one mean for fall congressional activity?

These questions and more will be explored in this AACTE member exclusive webinar. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end. This webinar will be recorded and posted on the AACTE Advocacy Center federal page.

Register today!

July 30, 2019      5:00 – 6:00 p.m. EDT                      

July 31, 2019      11:00 a.m. – 12 noon EDT            

Note: Like the Congress, AACTE Federal Update Webinars is taking an August recess. Watch for the blog post announcing the September Federal Update Webinars for dates and times. 

Testifying Before Congress, VCU Education Dean Urges ‘Immediate and Innovative Action’

Andrew Daire, Ph.D. testifying at the U.S. House

This article and photo originally appeared in VCU News and are reprinted with permission

Andrew Daire, dean of the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, testified at the U.S. House Wednesday about how VCU is working to prepare high-quality, dedicated classroom teachers and encouraged Congress to support similar initiatives across the country.

“Immediate and innovative action is required to address the challenges in high-needs and low-performing schools with families living in generational poverty and disparities in student learning outcomes,” said Daire, testifying before a joint U.S. House Education and Labor Committee subcommittee hearing on “Educating our Educators: How Federal Policy Can Better Support Teachers and School Leaders.”

“The challenges faced by many of our schoolchildren, and in many of our schools, are not average and will not be met with average efforts,” Daire said in his prepared testimony. “We need to be bold and aspirational in our desires and efforts to address these challenges.”

Congress is in for a Long Summer

Early morning traffic near the U.S. Capital
Congress came back to Washington this week with a boatload of work to do in the short few weeks before the next recess, in August. It could be a long hot summer.

First up: Budget and Funding

When Congress left for July 4 recess, the House had passed almost all of the 12 required funding bills and the Senate had not begun with any of the 12 bills. September 30 marks the end of the fiscal year; without the new spending bills signed into law, a government shutdown will be in the offing. With Congress scheduled to be in recess most of August, the pressure is on.

The holdup is the budget—or the overall spending cap, which the House, the Senate, and the White House must agree to pass. While the House adopted its own budget caps, they are higher than those that the Senate or the White House will accept. Added to the mix is the pending need to raise the debt ceiling (this is the borrowing limit for the federal government, which routinely needs to be raised to avoid default). Thus, the pressure is on from three corners: budget, FY 2020 funding bills, and debt ceiling.  These three dire needs are in the mix together and there is an effort to wrap their resolution into one package—possibly before the August recess. Learn more.

Senate Confirms New Higher Education Leader for Department of Education

Day on the Hill: A First-Time Attendee’s Perspective

Participants from Washington Week meeting with officials
During Washington Week 2019, I participated in AACTE Day on the Hill and advocated for the education profession for the first time. As a recent graduate of The Citadel’s school counselor program, I was eager to learn what our government is currently doing for the field of education. I also thought about what I could bring to the discussion from different perspectives. My career in education started later than most. After serving four years in the active duty Air Force, I joined the Air Force Reserve and began my master’s in school counseling. This would allow me to share my viewpoint as an educator entering the workforce, as well as a working professional from outside the education world.  

Being a new educator, the first idea I wanted to present was restructuring the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to make it easier and better fit the needs of those in the profession. Most people outside of education do not know that school counselors are required to have a master’s degree, which puts an even greater student loan burden on them. For new educators like me, informing congress that current programs are either broken or do not fit the entire education picture is important. I feel that congress may be overlooking the levels required for the different types of educator preparation.

What Should Educators Keep an Eye on in Washington this Summer?

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Congress is headed out of town today for the week-long July 4 recess next week.  Check your local July 4 parades and picnics—Members of Congress often show up there and it is a great time to connect with them!

 What Can we Expect When Congress Returns July 8?

  • Congressional Schedule
    The Congress returns July 8 for about four weeks. Then they head into the August recess.  They will be back for about four weeks in September. This equals about 27 legislative days left before the October 1 beginning of the FY 2020 fiscal year. Conventional wisdom holds that the closer we get to being all consumed by the next election, the less Congress will get done. Time is short, but there are always surprises!
  • Appropriations
    Once again, we may be facing a government shutdown in October. Before that time all 12 appropriations bills must be completed, and some action on the debt ceiling must be taken. (The debt ceiling is when the government is about to exceed its borrowing authority and thus, must increase the amount it can borrow, in order for the government to continue to function.) This is a tall order with only 27 legislative days.
  • Higher Education Act
    The Senate HELP Committee has been working for months on a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Yet the long-awaited draft has yet to materialize.  The big hold up appears to be how colleges and universities should respond to allegations of sexual assault on campus—a provision housed in Title IX of federal civil rights law.  In fact, HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA) asked a bipartisan group of six senators to meet to try to resolve this issue. 

What Should We be Watching in the Federal Agencies?

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