Author Archive

In the States: Addressing Students with Disabilities Services and Educator Shortage

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

Office of Civil Rights Comes to Agreement with Fairfax County Public Schools (VA) Over Students with Disabilities Receiving Services

On Wednesday, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced they have come to an agreement with Fairfax County Public Schools after the district failed to provide thousands of students with disabilities with the services required under law during the pandemic. “I am relieved that the more than 25,000 students with disabilities in Fairfax County will now receive services federal law promises to them, even during a pandemic, to ensure their equal access to education,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon said in a statement.

The OCR investigation found that during the pandemic, Fairfax County Public Schools, the largest school district in Virginia, reduced its special education instruction and “inaccurately informed staff that the school division was not required to provide compensatory education to students with disabilities who did not receive a [free appropriate public education] during the COVID-19 pandemic because the school division was not at fault.”

House Judiciary Committee Request Interview with Top Department of Education Advisors

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

The countdown is on for Congress to pass a fiscal year (FY) 2023 package before the 117th Congress ends at the end of this month. As you will recall, the government is currently operating on a continuing resolution. Essentially what this means is the government is operating on last fiscal year’s funding levels through December 16. At that time, a budget or another continuing resolution must pass or the government will shut down. While its widely reported that the four corners have not yet agreed on top line numbers, many believe a budget will pass before the 118th Congress begins, even if that means working up to Christmas Eve. Stay tuned!

Where Do the 118th Congress and Student Debt Relief Stand?

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

It has been a busy week in Washington with Members returning after the mid-term elections and the new freshman class of Members arriving on the Hill for orientation. Speaker Pelosi made the momentous decision to step down from Democratic leadership. Speaker Pelosi is a historic figure, having become, at the time, the most powerful elected woman in U.S. history when she assumed the Speakership in 2007. The decision to step back from leadership paves the way for a new generation of Democrats to rise in the ranks; Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Caucus Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) are viewed as the heirs apparent to the “big three” — House Democratic Leader, House Democratic Whip, and Democratic Caucus Chair. In remarks to her colleagues on the House floor, Speaker Pelosi recalled the first time she saw the Capitol, saying “I will never forget the first time I saw the Capitol.[…]The Capitol is a temple of our Democracy, of our Constitution, of our highest ideals[…] Indeed, American Democracy is majestic — but it is fragile.” Thank you Madam Speaker, for your years of dedicated service to the Republic.

In the States: Halting the ‘Stope-Woke’ Act, Striking for Increased Academic Pay

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

Florida Judge Blocks “Stop-WOKE” Act for Colleges

A federal judge on Thursday halted a key piece of the “Stop-WOKE” Act, blocking state officials from enforcing what U.S Chief District Judge Mark Walker called a “positively dystopian” policy that restricts how lessons on race and gender can be taught in colleges and universities.

Mid-Term Election Results: What This Could Mean for Education

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

On Tuesday, voters across the nation headed to the polls to cast their ballot in the highly anticipated 2022 mid-term elections; with millions more participating in early voting or vote by mail. We will not have final results in the Senate until at least December 6t and House results continue to trickle in, but please take a read below for an analysis on where things stand today and what this could mean for education policy.

In the States: Ohio Stakeholders Address Critical Shortage of Educators, Update on Local Politics

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

recent Enquirer analysis of state data found educator resignations in Ohio nearly quadruped from 2019 to 2021, in addition to there being five times as many retirements. State and local education leaders met to address the teacher shortage crisis late last month during a series of solutions-centered meetings.

The first event, hosted by Miami University, took place at the Voice of America Learning Center in West Chester Township. University leaders and officials from the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Higher Education were in attendance along with 100 additional stakeholders in education, business, and government.

Important Work Continues While Congress on Recess

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Department of Education logoWe have finally made it to mid-term election week. Congress remains on recess until after the elections, but important work continues. It is my hope that by the end of the week we will have the complete results of the mid-term elections and I will provide an analysis on the makeup of the 118th Congress in our next Washington Update.

In the States: A Look at the Southern Region

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

States and districts around the country continue to scramble to fill teaching positions with fully certified, profession ready educators. A recent analysis from the  Southern Regional Education Board of 2019-20 data in 11 states found roughly 4% of teachers — which could be up to 56,000 educators — were uncertified or teaching with an emergency certification. By 2030, the number of uncertified teachers or those teaching with an emergency certification is expected to balloon. The Southern Regional Education Boards projects that upwards of 16 million K-12 students in the Southern region of the country could be taught by an unprepared or inexperienced teacher. While the pandemic certainly exacerbated the problem, it is not new and has steadily gotten worse over the last decade. For example, in Texas school districts’ reliance on uncertified new hires increased significantly over the last decade. In the 2011-12 school year, fewer than 7% of the state’s new teachers — roughly 1,600 — didn’t have a certification. By last year, about 8,400 of the state’s nearly 43,000 new hires were uncertified.

In the States: Facing the Teacher Shortage

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

Fairfax County Considering Recruiting Teachers From Barbados to Address Shortage

This week, leaders in Virginia’s largest school system, Fairfax County Public Schools, announced they are working with Barbados Ministry of Education to explore the possibility of recruiting teachers from Barbados to address its staffing shortage. Interested candidates would be required to have a Virginia Department of Education-approved degree and course transcripts. They will also have to qualify for one of the state’s alternative routes to getting a license, and would have to apply for an official statement of eligibility document from the state before applying for jobs in the county.

Senators, Department of Education, and Supreme Court Focus on Students with Disabilities

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Department of Education logoWhile Congress is on an extended recess leading into the mid-term elections, work behind the scenes continues. Washington Update typically breaks with Congress, but you can expect to see updates coming to your inbox leading up to the mid-terms.

NCES Releases Alarming Data on School Staffing

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Department of Education logoOn Friday, Congress passed a short-term spending measure that keeps the government funded at its current levels through December 16 and averts a government shutdown. Now is the time to flex your advocacy muscles — tell your story and encourage your Members of Congress to advocate for and support the highest possible investments in the educator workforce and pipeline in the final FY23 spending bill.

In the States: Spotlight on Discriminatory Practices and Teacher Shortage

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

Arizona: Peoria Unified School District to Remedy Discriminatory Harassment of Students

This week, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the resolution of a complaint of racial harassment filed against Peoria Unified School District in Arizona. Following an investigation, OCR determined that the district failed to address harassment of students on the basis of race, color, and national origin, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its implementing regulations.

Congress Addresses Book Bans and Teacher Union Negotiations

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Department of Education logoThis week, Washington, D.C. welcomed more than 2,000 in-person participants and 1,500 virtual attendees for the annual National HBCU Week Conference. This year’s conference focused on the work the federal government is doing to meet President Biden’s executive order that directed federal agencies to increase their engagement with HBCUs. Under the order, federal agencies must submit plans each year that describe how they are working to increase HBCU participation in their programs. The conference also comes as a group of Florida A&M University students announced they are suing the state’s university system in federal court alleging that the HBCU has not been receiving its fair share of funding for years.

In the States: Updates on Local School Districts in Iowa and Wisconsin

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

DOJ Settles with Cedar Rapids Community School District

Last week, the Justice Department announced a settlement agreement with Cedar Rapids Community School District in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A Department of Justice investigation found that the district “inappropriately and repeatedly secluded and restrained students with disabilities as early as kindergarten,” leading to hundreds of hours of instructional time lost.

Department of Education Releases Plans, Grants for Safer Communities

Department of Education logo

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

This week, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden launched their “Road to Success Back to School Bus Tour.” The tour kicked off in Tennessee with a visit highlighting ways states and districts are recruiting and preparing qualified, profession-ready educators into the classroom. Later in the week, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff joined the Secretary in Pennsylvania with visits highlighting how community schools are helping students recover academically and get the mental health supports they need, celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, and raise awareness about the Administration’s actions to provide debt relief to millions, including teachers and administrators through Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

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