James McManus (undergraduate social studies education major), Jennifer Bucciarelli (MAT math education major), and Associate Professor Stephenie Hewett represent The Citadel in their visit with Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) at the 2016 AACTE Day on the Hill.
I have been attending AACTE’s Day on the Hill (DOTH) for the past 18 years. It is a highlight event of the year, as it allows opportunity to assess our priorities for advocacy while simultaneously putting advocacy into action. Over time, I have found that some of the best advocacy team members are our education students. I have had the privilege of making DOTH congressional visits accompanied by numerous students over the last 8 years – including both undergraduate and graduate students – and, in every case, the students have added value to the conversations well beyond what might have been obtained by faculty and deans alone.
When planning our Hill visits, we ask students to help us deliver important messages about pending legislation or federal education budgets and policies to our congressional members, and they are very effective in doing so. More importantly, we ask our students to tell their own story: Why did they decide to become an educator? How will new policy changes impact them as practicing teachers and school leaders? What can the federal government do to make a career in education more important to other students at their institution? When students visit and present answers to these and other questions, congressional members and staffers take notice.
Join AACTE next week for two members-only webinars! Learn about the latest developments in Washington to inform your advocacy as well as resources to support you in applying for Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, for which funding was recently renewed in the omnibus legislation.
Teacher Quality Partnership Grants – Are You Ready to Apply?
On April 23, 3:00-4:00 p.m. EDT, we will highlight the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program and how institutions can begin preparing for an anticipated new grant cycle. This webinar will point you to resources developed by the U.S. Department of Education to support you in developing your application. Current grantees have been invited to participate to offer their expertise as you craft your grant proposal. Click here to register.
If you missed AACTE’s March Federal Update webinar, the recording is now available to AACTE members only in our Resource Library.
View the webinar recording and slides to learn about the latest developments in Washington, DC, relating to educator preparation, including the latest on Higher Education Act reauthorization, federal funding, net neutrality, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and more.
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.
The U.S. Department of Education has announced a new round of applications for the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Grant program. Intent to apply is due April 5, and full applications are due May 17.
The new grant competition has two absolute priorities, one competitive preference priority, and one invitational priority:
The U.S. Department of Education has announced additional federal aid for schools and students impacted by recent natural disasters.
To assist schools in California impacted by wildfires, the Department has disbursed $2 million in Project SERV funds to the California Department of Education. The funds will help fund portable classrooms, substitute teachers, mental health services, and transportation for displaced students (along with substitute bus drivers).
The U.S. Department of Education has announced it will redirect $22.9 million in unspent funds to provide assistance to institutions that have been affected by the 2017 series of severe hurricanes: Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
According to the announcement, the Department “will provide $5.4 million to students through the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant Program, at 285 colleges and universities, including 277 postsecondary schools located in Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” Additionally, the Department plans to provide $17.5 million by means of the Federal Work Study program.
As we await a spring thaw, things are heating up in Washington as Congress continues tackling a crowded agenda. With a March 23 deadline to pass an omnibus funding the government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018, advocacy abounds to fund educator preparation programs. In addition, the process for Fiscal Year 2019 kicked off with the president releasing his budget request to Congress on February 12, launching Congress into its appropriations process.
With Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization moving in the House and a bill rapidly approaching in the Senate, what might the final bill look like? Will it be bipartisan? Will the process continue or devolve as the election year unfolds? Aside from HEA, will you pay more for Internet access, or will the joint resolution to address the rules change move forward under the Congressional Review Act? Join AACTE’s Deborah Koolbeck to learn about these and other important topics by signing up for the March Federal Update webinar – an exclusive AACTE member benefit.
Congressional briefing panelists (L–R) Jane Bray, Jennifer Robinson, Mario Santos, Lisa Fischman, Danielle Riley, and Qualyn McIntyre. Photo courtesy of Megan Shearin, Old Dominion University.
A well-attended congressional briefing February 14 highlighted the positive impact of Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants in schools around the country, aiming to inspire lawmakers and staff to continue supporting the program as they reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) and determine appropriations for federal spending.
In a packed Senate hearing room, the Valentine’s Day briefing presented testimony about how TQP grants have catalyzed improvements to educator preparation programs as well as to the schools and communities they serve. Dean Jane Bray of Old Dominion University (VA) served as moderator for the panel discussion.
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.
Did you miss the January AACTE Federal Update webinar? The recording and slides are now available in AACTE’s Resource Library – a free, member-exclusive benefit! Catch up on all the latest developments in Washington, DC, as Congress works through a packed and polarizing agenda this month. Feel free to share these resources with colleagues at your institution who might also be interested in viewing.
Remember, there will be no February Federal Update webinar (we will resume again in March!), as you’ll have the opportunity to attend two Washington Update sessions in early March at AACTE’s 70th Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. You’ll also want to attend Deborah Koolbeck’s “advocacy speed-dating” session March 2, where you can participate in your choice of five mini advocacy trainings:
The clock is ticking on what appears to be an imminent federal government shutdown, unless a last-minute deal is struck on a short-term funding solution (continuing resolution) through either next week or February 16. Republicans and Democrats are facing off on numerous issues.
What’s causing this logjam? Challenges range from settling on a legislative fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, increasing defense spending, deferring some healthcare tax provisions, extending the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and raising spending caps (aka “a budget deal”). What’s also coming in February is the need to raise the debt ceiling. Looking forward, we could see more action on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act through the spring.
Did you miss last week’s Federal Update webinar? AACTE members can log in now to view the recording here.
An overcrowded agenda is staring down members of Congress as they prepare to leave for the winter recess. Items such as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), tax reform, a budget deal, disaster relief, and CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) are items requiring policy makers’ attention before they leave Washington. In the midst of this activity, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce introduced the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act,” which is the House Republican bill that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act.
On Friday, December 15, members of the U.S. Congress unveiled a conference report on tax reform, resolving differences between the House and Senate bills.
Full text of the conference report, which is nearly 1,100 pages long, can be found here. For those who want to go into the weeds, a joint explanatory statement, which describes current law, the House and Senate provisions, and what is in the conference agreement, can be found here.