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Deborah Koolbeck

Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE

ACSR Elections: Cast Your Vote by December 13

Vote Now

As the year comes to a close, it is time for AACTE State Chapter presidents and ACSR Liaisons to cast their ballots in the 2019 election for the ACSR Executive Committee.  As a reminder, the state chapters are divided into four regions: West, Midwest, South and Northeast. Annually, the ACSR voting members elect the ACSR Executive Committee Chair-Elect, and two regions elect their Region Representative to serve on the ACSR Executive Committee. This year the South and the Midwest regions are electing new Region Representatives.

Register Today for AACTE October 2019 Federal Update Webinar

United States CapitalRegistration is open for the AACTE member exclusive October 2019 Federal Update webinars. AACTE offers these webinars to you on two different days of the week and at two different times to accommodate members’ teaching schedules and time zones.

Even though one might expect activities to slow down in Washington as the year begins to wind down, plenty is happening that impacts the profession. On October 15, Chairman Scott (D-VA) of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor revealed his proposal for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. What does it look like for educator preparation? Will Chairman Alexander (R-TN) move his bill through the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions? And not to be forgotten is the appropriations process—as the Congress heads toward a November 21 deadline for funding the federal government, what is the outlook? Will there be another short-term Continuing Resolution (CR), or could we see even a year-long CR? Could a government shutdown happen? This webinar will cover these topics, as well as the advocacy steps that you can take to engage in the process, and there will be a Q & A session for you to get your answers to your questions. Register today!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 5:00-6:00 p.m. EDT: Register now.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019   11:00 am-12:00 noon EDT: Register now

Reducing the Violence that Permeates Through Our Schools

The Problem

Student protesting for safer schools

As educators, protecting and nurturing the health and well-being of our nation’s most precious investment—our youth—is always top of mind. Safeguarding their welfare and creating supportive learning ecosystems should be national priorities. Unfortunately, no one piece of legislation, no one initiative, no one activist, or caring teacher can bring that umbrella of safety to every student, everywhere, all the time. What we need to be talking about openly and often across the nation is prevention: training, learning, and preparing. This begins at the federal level with funding to equip our state and local leaders with the tools necessary to create and foster a safe and balanced learning environment for all students.

There are classrooms and schools in this country where teachers are armed with weapons. It is a dark reality, and one that AACTE does not support. Federal funds should not be used to arm teachers. Funds should instead be used to incentivize building  learning communities through supportive training in social and emotional learning, and to prepare profession-ready teachers. Federal money

New Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Recipients Announced

Department of Education logoThe U.S. Department of Education announced its new Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP), grant recipients, funding 31 projects with $20.1 million dollars. TQP is the only federal initiative dedicated to strengthening and transforming educator preparation at institutions of higher education.  Of the 31 grantees, 20 are AACTE members.

The grant program addresses the teacher shortage found across the nation by preparing teachers in high needs fields to teach in high need schools. Grantees focus on either the undergraduate or graduate level, extending clinical practice to a full year or creating a residency program. Graduates receive at least 2 years of induction, which research shows supports teachers in remaining in the classroom after their novice years. In fact, a majority of TQP graduates remain in the profession well after the provided induction and drive transformation throughout their schools and even the school district itself.

For this grant competition, priority was given to those applicants who designed programs to prepare computer science teachers as well as the STEM fields overall, and to those programs taking place in a Qualified Opportunity Zone as designated by the Internal Revenue Service.

AACTE annually advocates for TQP funding through the congressional appropriations process, and supports augmenting the capacity and reach of this grant.

The list of awardees can be found in the Department’s press release.

Register Today: September 2019 Federal Update Webinars

U.S. Capital

As AACTE members and their colleagues return to the classroom, Congress returns to Washington, D.C., after the August recess. It is a crowded agenda for the fall as discussions heat up around the 2020 Census and the election. The U.S. House of Representatives (House) has passed nearly all 12 of its appropriations bills, and the U.S. Senate (Senate) is poised to start the week of September 9, 2019.

This leaves us with several questions:

  • With 15 legislative days before the September 30 deadline, will any of the Senate bills be completed?
  • With a Continuing Resolution expected, will it go through November or December?
  • While the caps were raised for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021, will the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies bill receive a sufficient increase to not only raise the NIH budget by $2b, but also maintain the increases the House appropriated to key programs that support the profession?
  • Beyond funding, what is the status of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act?

These questions and more will be covered in the AACTE September 2019 Federal Update webinars. To accommodate teaching schedules and time zones, this member exclusive update is offered on two different days and at two different times. In addition, the webinar is recorded and will be posted on AACTE’s Advocacy Center’s federal page. Use the links below to register today for the time that works best for you!

Tuesday, September 24, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. EDT

Wednesday, September 25, 11:00 a.m. – 12 noon EDT

Federal Work Study Opportunity for Clinical Practice

Federal Register Website logo

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. 

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!

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. 

AACTE Member Exclusive: June Federal Update Webinars


As we transition into summer in the northern hemisphere, timing for the U.S. Congress gets tight and tighter. August recess looms with a short time frame to wrap up the work on the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations process in September. How many of the 12 bills waiting to be passed will be completed by September 30? How many agencies will operate under a Continuing Resolution? Will there be a deal to raise the caps on non-defense and defense discretionary spending? When will the federal government reach its debt ceiling and how does that impact the appropriations process? And what is unfolding with the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act?

The AACTE June 2019 Federal Update webinars will share the latest on these questions in this members-only opportunity. Plus there is always time to get your questions answered at the end of the webinar, including topics or happenings that were not covered in the update.

We offer the webinar on two different days and at different times to accommodate schedules and time zones, and we will also post a recording on the AACTE Advocacy Center’s federal page so you can stay in the know even if you cannot attend in person.

Register today!

Tuesday, June 18, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. EDT

Wednesday, June 19, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon EDT  

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