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Jane E. West

AACTE Education Policy Consultant

What Can Education Advocates Expect from Washington in 2020?

U.S. Capitol

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

Happy New Year!  Welcome to the new decade and the second session of the 116th Congress.  Can we even imagine what it holds for us? One thing we do know – our advocacy on behalf of equity and education will only amplify!

Funding Cycle for 2021: On Schedule?

With the ink barely dry on the FY 2020 funding packages, the budget cycle for FY 2021 is already on the horizon.  The Trump Administration announced this week that it intends to release its Budget Proposal for FY 2021 on February 10, thus getting the cycle moving on time. The release of the proposal will be followed by hearings in House and Senate Appropriations committees and months of deliberation.

Congress Delivers Significant Increases for Education Spending

Diverse students in a circle hugging

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

Congress Delivers a Big Christmas Present – and On Time!

Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate came together to have bipartisan votes in both bodies to pass two packages of funding bills, which will keep all of the federal government running. President Trump has indicated that he will sign the bills today, thus preventing another government shutdown. 

Some key points about the education portion of the bill:

  • It adds $1.3 billion in spending for education over FY 2019.
  • The Department of Education’s budget now totals $72.8 Billion.
  • Virtually no program received a cut in funding and many received substantial increases.
  • The largest increases went to Title I ($450 million) and IDEA Part B ($400 million).
  • Related programs in HHS received large increases as well, for example Head Start has a $500 million increase.
  • A new Social Emotional Learning initiative received $123 million.
  • Many minority serving institutions in higher education received considerable increases including an $11 million increase for HBCU graduate institutions.
  • For the first time in years funding for research on gun violence prevention is provided at $25 million (for CDC and NIH).

Bipartisan Christmas Miracles Come to Washington

Bipartisan agreement

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

Funding Agreement on the Horizon! No Shutdown Anticipated

December 20, a week from today, is the deadline for Congress to pass funding bills to keep the government in business and avoid a government shutdown. After weeks of handwringing, a bipartisan $1.3 trillion deal seems to have been brokered whereby all appropriations bills will be passed in the House and the Senate next week. While no details of the bills are yet available, it appears that one of the breakthroughs was an agreement to keep the amount of funding for the border wall (President Trump’s priority) at the current level of $1.375 billion.

Education advocates are eager to see if any of the significant increases in the House bill will be retained in the final package. All fingers are crossed in anticipation of next week. Learn more.

Congress Postpones Funding Showdown, Heads to Thanksgiving Recess

Colorful waving national flag of united states of america on a american dollar money background. finance conceptThis blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Last Thursday, Congress postponed the showdown over government funding until Dec. 20 and hit the road for Thanksgiving. They are planning some fancy footwork upon return as the impeachment process steams forward and a government shutdown remains a possibility.

Showdown over Government Funding Postponed until Dec. 20

Once again, the Congress has punted on funding the government. December 20 is the new deadline for determining overall spending levels for each of the 12 funding bills and completing them. Funding for education hangs in the balance with the House passed bill including a $5 billion increase, but no such increase in the Senate bill. The budget agreement adopted earlier in the year provides for an increase of about $100 billion for defense and domestic spending for this fiscal year. If Congress cannot agree on new funding levels, this new infusion of funds will be left on the drawing table.

Congress Makes Progress Toward Completing Education Funding Bill

A group of children drawing a hopscotch game on a floor with dollar signs.

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 Still Working to Avoid that Government Shutdown

The current continuing resolution—a bill that keeps the government temporarily funded – expires next week, on November 21. Congressional leaders have been scrambling this week to find a way to keep government funding extended beyond that time, and thus avoid a government shutdown. They appear to be closing in on another temporary funding extension—through December 20—predicated on progress on the big obstacle, which is agreeing on top line totals for each of the 12 funding bills. Since the House and Senate did not agree on those totals before they wrote their bills, there are significant discrepancies which can only be resolved by a House/Senate agreement on one figure for each bill.  This is critical for the bill that funds education, as the House bill is about $5 billion more generous for education than the Senate draft bill.

How Will Impeachment Proceedings Affect the Congressional Agenda?

Capital with STOP barricade

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.

It’s been quite a week in DC.  The most impressive news is having our home team—the Nationals—win the World Series, despite their substantial underdog status. Other than that, the House voted to proceed officially with the impeachment process on a totally partisan basis—and that promises to suck the oxygen out of any sort of Congressional agenda for months.

Are we Headed to a Government Shutdown … Again?

While the Senate made progress on funding bills this week, big hurdles remain. The Senate passed a package of four appropriations bill with a bipartisan vote of 84-9, the first funding bills to pass the Senate. However, Senate Democrats blocked movement on the package of two large spending bills:  Defense and Labor/HHS/Education. They are not happy that President Trump is insisting on funding for his border wall and that the Labor/HHS/Education bill’s spending level is so low.

Congressional Agenda Includes Education Funding and Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

Dollars and coins in glass jar with education fund labelThis 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.

Funding Bills Move in the Senate, but Not for Education

November 21, less than a month away, is the date the government runs out of money.  The ball is in the Senate court, as they have yet to pass any appropriations bills on the floor. Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has teed up passage of the first package of funding bills, which Democrats have said they will support. But that package does not include education spending, which is in the Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill.

Will Congress Find Time to Move on Education and Higher Education Bills?

The United States Capitol building with the dome lit up at night.

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.

November 21 Deadline Looming to Fund the Government:  Will Congress Act?

Just before Congress left town for their 2-week recess, they passed a short-term funding bill to keep the government open, but only until November 21.  As that deadline comes closer, the pressure to act increases. The ball is in the Senate’s court, as the House has passed 10 of its 12 funding bills. 

The Senate is planning to move bills next week, but hot-button issues related to the border wall, homeland security, and abortion will likely crop up, as well as significant funding level differences between the House and the Senate that will likely hold things up. 

Possible outcomes include another short-term spending extension (perhaps through December),

Congress Moves on Short Term Funding Bill, Leaves Town for a Two-Week Recess

Congress Sep 18, 2014:

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.

It’s been a breathtaking week in Washington as minute-to-minute developments unfold in the House’s decision to pursue impeachment of President Trump. Yet, both congressional bodies continue to move on their legislative agendas. The question becomes, how much oxygen will impeachment suck up and will there be any space left for anything else? And remember the Congress leaves town today for a two-week recess, to return with less than 30 legislative days scheduled before the end of the year! Of course, this could change.

Department of Education Seeks Your Comments on “Attracting, Preparing and Retaining” Effective Special Educators

Attract, Prepare and Retain Effective Personnel graphicThe Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has developed an initiative called “Attract, Prepare and Retain Effective Personnel.” They have requested feedback from the field.  Specifically, the invitation states:

“We invite you to share your thoughts on how we can best support States in their work to Attract, Prepare, and Retain Effective Personnel. Sharing your challenges and successes can make a difference for others facing similar challenges.” 

The deadline for submitting comments is September 30, 2019.  Learn more.

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