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Deborah Koolbeck

Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE

January 2020 Federal Update Available

Did you miss the AACTE member exclusive January 2020 Federal Update Webinar? Not to worry. It is posted online on the AACTE Advocacy Center federal page, ready for you to watch from the comfort of your home or other convenient location. 

Please keep in mind that February’s update will be offered in person at the AACTE Annual Meeting in Atlanta (February 28-March 1). In fact, the update is offered twice to accommodate the busy schedules of attendees—Friday 10:30-11:30 a.m. and Saturday from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Are you interested in augmenting your advocacy skills while at the Annual Meeting? Attend the AACTE Government Relations and Advocacy Committee’s Preconference: Your Levers of Civic Power: Moving the Gears of Democracy on Thursday, February 27 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm. Registration is required. Link to Preconfernces.  

I am looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta!

Stay Informed with January Federal Update Webinar

U.S. Capital and US flagA new year brings with it the start of the Second Session of the 116th Congress. The 2019 holiday season brought its own gift:  On December 20 of last year, the president signed into law the appropriations bills that funded programs important to the profession—and many programs saw increases.

What can we expect as the Fiscal Year 2021 process begins to unfold? Will the increases remain, are cuts possible? What impact(s) can we expect, if any, from the Impeachment Trial in the U.S. Senate? How will the election affect both appropriations and legislation? In addition, the Census is starting; are you ready to help with the count on campus?  This member exclusive webinar opportunity will cover these questions and also answer your questions in a Q & A session after the presentation.

Please note: there will be no webinars in February. Get your federal update live at the AACTE Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA. Hurry! Registration closes on January 24.

Plan to attend the January 2020 Update

Tuesday, January 28                        5:00 – 6:00 pm               Register

Wednesday, January 29                 12:30 – 1:30 pm               Register

Apply for a NSF Grant Opportunity to Improve STEM

National Science Foundation logoIn a Dear Colleague Letter, Karen Marrongelle of the National Science Foundation (NSF) invites proposals to the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources Program from institutions of higher education that are new to the program. The letter specifically includes the opportunity in the Engaged Student Learning track of “… improving K-12 STEM education through undergraduate preservice STEM teacher preparation …”

Marrongelle heads the NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources , which supports “the development of a diverse and well-prepared workforce of scientists, technicians, engineers, mathematicians, and educators and a well-informed citizenry that have access to the ideas and tools of science and engineering.”

FY2020 Appropriations Bills Released

BipartisanshipAs the Congress rapidly approaches the December 20 deadline for the Continuing Resolution (maintaining federal spending at the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) levels while the next year’s levels are negotiated), agreement was reached, and the two bills were released on December 16, 2019.  

The Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2019 raised the non-defense and defense discretionary caps for FY20 and FY21, and was signed in early August as recess began. Given that the U.S. Senate had taken a stance not to move any bills without the aforementioned agreement in place, their work began in earnest in September. However, the bills were not completed by the end of the fiscal year (September 30), so Congress passed a  Continuing Resolution (CR) through November 21, 2019. With consternation around key issues, including funding for the border wall, another CR was put in place through December 20, 2019. It was unclear if the divisions between both parties and both bodies could be resolved by the new cutoff date, but it appears that the Congress is on target to meet its deadline.

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. 

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