A Washington Update: May 3, 2019

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. To view the full blog, visit janewestconsulting.com.

Congress is back from a two-week recess and education saw a lot of action this week!

  1. House Subcommittee Marks Up FY 2020 Funding Bill with a 6% Increase for Education!

This week, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) began the FY 2020 appropriations process by moving the Labor/HHS and Education bill through the subcommittee. Her first bill as chair of the subcommittee reveals an impressive high-water mark for education spending, raising the federal investment by 6% over last year.  Lead Republican on the subcommittee, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), noted that he does not think the large increases in the bill will be supported by the Senate or the president and that at best, this disagreement will lead to a year-long continuing resolution or at worst, another government shutdown.  Nonetheless, the bill was passed out of subcommittee and will likely be marked up by the full House Committee on Appropriations next week. 

We will not see the funding levels in the bill for every individual education program until the full committee markup, hopefully next week. However, some funding levels for specific programs have been revealed, including the following for which AACTE advocates:

  • Title II of ESSA is increased by $500 million to $2.6 billion
  • A new investment of $260 million is provided for a Social-Emotional Learning Initiative
  • Student Financial Aid is increased by $492 million to $24.9 billion
  • Teacher Quality Partnership Grants are increased by $10 million to $53 million
  1. House Education and Labor Committee Holds Hearing on Education Equity

This week the Committee on Education and Labor, chaired by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), held a hearing titled “Brown v. Board of Education at 65: A Promise Unfulfilled.” 

Background for the hearing includes two key GAO reports on racial and socioeconomic segregation in public schools and discipline disparities for black students, boys and students with disabilities.

Chair Bobby Scott noted that the Trump Administration is not promoting diversity and equity in education, holding that their policies are moving the country in the wrong direction while segregation grows. Scott specifically criticized the administration’s attempt to delay implementation of a rule to address racial disparities in special education programs and the elimination of school discipline guidance intended to address racial disparities. 

Ranking Republican Virginia Foxx (R-NC) defended Sec. DeVos noting that she was following the letter and spirit of the law and regulations. She also underscored her support for school choice noting the legacy of Brown should be “to empower parents with the ability to choose the right school for their child and eliminate the ability of the state to consign children to low-performing schools with no means of escape.”

  1. New Resources for Educators

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Jane E. West

AACTE Education Policy Consultant