I am thrilled to announce that AACTE’s contact lists for state policy makers in each state and the District of Columbia have been updated and posted in the AACTE Resource Library (accessible to AACTE members only!). In addition, links to these lists can be found on the AACTE Advocacy Center’s State Advocacy page and on AACTE’s State Policy and Legislation page.
These documents are an AACTE member benefit to support you in your state-level advocacy work. Use them to find key state policy makers–for example, legislators for authorizing and appropriating education funds, state department of education contacts, and even your governor’s education staffer.
Just a quick reminder to AACTE state chapters across the country: Friday, July 27, is the application deadline for the 2018-19 AACTE State Chapter Support Grants.
This year, a total of $40,000 is available for state chapter activities, and $10,000 is available to support chapter capacity and development, as described in the request for proposals.
As the focus of Congress turns toward accumulating “wins” for members to use to get re-elected, the appropriations process has taken an unexpected turn – work is getting done.
As I have shared with AACTE members in recent Federal Update webinars, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL, chair of appropriations in the U.S. Senate) and Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ, chair of appropriations in the U.S. House of Representatives) committed to seeing the appropriations process return to “normal” this year–and that commitment is coming to fruition. By the end of June, the Senate had moved all 12 appropriations bills through subcommittee and full committee, and the House is on track to do so by the August recess.
On June 22, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) moved its Fiscal Year 2019 bill through markup. Despite the FY19 increase of $18 billion for nondefense discretionary funds from the deal made earlier this year, the House FY19 Labor-H bill received no additional funds (the Labor-H bill contains about 32% of the nondefense discretionary funds found across all federal agencies).
Given this challenge, it was a pleasant surprise to see that the programs that AACTE advocates for receive level funding or a small increase:
On June 6, while AACTE members and partners were on Capitol Hill advocating for educator preparation as part of AACTE’s Day on the Hill, Association President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone was testifying before the Federal School Safety Commission at a listening session at the U.S. Department of Education.
The Commission, tasked with quickly providing meaningful and actionable recommendations to keep students safe at school and headed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is composed of the leadership of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Last week’s meeting was the fourth since the Commission’s inception in March of this year and the first public listening session.
AACTE is pleased to offer the State Chapter Support Grant Program for the 2018-2019 academic year, directing member dues toward supporting the development of AACTE state chapter initiatives and relationships. Applications for the grants are now being accepted through AACTE’s online submission site.
For the current funding cycle, the AACTE Board of Directors has allocated a total of $50,000 for the grant program, of which $40,000 is for “Chapter Activities” and $10,000 is for “Chapter Development.”
In the late evening of March 21, the text of the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus was released. Coming in at 2,232 pages, the bill includes items well beyond funding of the federal government’s discretionary programs, at a total cost of $1.3 trillion to fund the government through September 30, 2018.
The U.S. Senate passed the measure in the first hour of March 23, sending the package to President Trump for his signature; later that same morning, the president tweeted out a veto threat. With members of Congress headed home or attending the funeral of a colleague, if the president vetoes the measure, the government will shut down.
On February 12, President Trump released his Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget request to fund the federal government. Similar to the previous request, this plan cuts 29 education programs while carving out space and funds for new programs focusing on choice opportunities.
In a press release from the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Betsy DeVos lauded the request for “expanding education freedom for America’s families while protecting vulnerable students.”
According to the Department’s fact sheet, the president’s education budget features six major themes:
- Providing better choices for more families to attend a high-quality school.
- Supporting high-quality special education services to children with disabilities.
- Creating new and alternative pathways to successful careers for students.
- Promoting innovation and reform around STEM education.
- Implementing school-based opioid abuse prevention strategies.
- Making the Department more efficient while limiting the Federal role in education.
Despite all the action in Washington, DC, this month, AACTE will not be offering a February Federal Update webinar – instead, please catch it live at the AACTE 70th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.
In fact, I am thrilled that this year you have two opportunities to catch my Washington Update: Thursday, March 1, 3:45–4:45 p.m., and Saturday, March 3, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
As you plan your session schedule for the AACTE Annual Meeting, don’t neglect your advocacy skill development! Please join me Friday, March 2, at 2:00 p.m. for “Putting Advocacy to Work.”
In this speed-dating-style session, I will run the clock while you circulate through your choice of introductory mini-sessions led by experts and professionals. There will be four time slots during this hour-long opportunity, each beginning with a few minutes of commentary by the leaders, and then opening for questions and discussion. Move from table to table to learn how to start off: