Posts Tagged ‘federal issues’

Department of Education Solicits Public Input on Amending Section 504

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.  

After 45 years, the Department of Education has announced plans to update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Stay tuned for opportunities to provide feedback to stakeholders on what you would like to see. Take a read for more information on that and more below.

Department of Education Announces Plan to Update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Education announced plans to update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The forthcoming changes will mark the first update to the regulations in 45 years. The Department’s Section 504 regulations were the first set of regulations issued by the federal government that addressed the treatment of people with disabilities through a civil rights framework, rather than through solely a medical or vocational framework. Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public and private programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, including schools and postsecondary institutions.

“While the world has undergone enormous changes since 1977, the Department’s Section 504 regulations have remained, with few exceptions, unaltered,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. “As we observe the 45th anniversary of these important regulations this month, it is time to start the process of updating them. Just as in 1977, the voices of people with disabilities must be heard and incorporated as we engage in that work.”

Reducing Educator Debt

How Educators Can Better Manage their Federal Student LoansAACTE is sponsoring its second Public Policy in Action webinar on May 19 at 1:00 p.m. (EST) to help federal student loan borrowers new to the teaching profession manage their federal student loans and, eventually, to have them forgiven.  

Among the most significant reasons educators to leave the field is low pay and the significant debt they must take on to earn their degree. This is particularly acute for those just starting out, whether it be as a teacher in a K-12 classroom or as a faculty member at a school of education. 

The information in this webinar is critical to help keep profession-ready, highly motivated educators in our nation’s classrooms. AACTE encourages you to share the registration link with those who are on the verge or entering the profession via residency programs or new educators that may be interested. 

In response to COVID-19, Congress passed legislation in 2020 that authorized a “pause” on all Federal loan repayment plans, interest accumulation and suspended garnishment efforts.  This pause is scheduled to expire on August 31, 2022

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) is an underutilized program that forgives the federal student loan debts for borrowers that make 120 qualified payments while working in the public sector, including teaching and other education positions. While the program has been mismanaged over the past several years, the Biden Administration is working to make significant improvements to the PSLF, so that more beneficiaries will see their loans eliminated. This webinar will provide background on the program, explain the planned upgrades, and discuss how federal borrowers could benefit from the program. 

Panelists will include the following:

  • Michael Rose, Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE
  • Rachel Gentry, Director of Government Relations at National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)
  • Michael Yudin, Principal, The Raben Group

Register today
How Educators Can Better Manage their Federal Student Loans
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (EDT)

Washington Update: A Flurry of Activity on Capitol Hill

Capitol building Washington DC sunlight USA US congressThis 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.  

Congress may have been on recess for the past two weeks, but it certainly did not feel like that behind the scenes. There has been a flurry of activity surrounding the President’s FY2023 Budget Request. Education advocates are working diligently to get their appropriations requests to Members — hopeful to see historic increases for education funding making it across the finish line. 

The Debate over Student Loan Forgiveness Continues as the Department Cancels $238 Million in Debt for 28,000 Borrowers

On Thursday, President Biden confirmed  reports that he is considering canceling “some” amount of federal student loan debt. “I am considering dealing with some debt reduction,” The President said in remarks at the White House. “I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction.”

U.S. Department of Education Expands Second Chance Pell Experiment

During Second Chance Month, the U.S. Department of Education announced actions to help incarcerated individuals access educational programs as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader efforts to support reentry, empower formerly incarcerated persons, enhance public safety, and strengthen our communities and our economy. The Department has invited 73 colleges and universities to participate in the third round of the Second Chance Pell Experiment, an initiative first launched by the Obama-Biden Administration to expand access to Federal Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals enrolled in participating programs. The expansion will bring the total number of schools able to participate in the Second Chance Pell Experiment to 200. The Department is also announcing changes to policies to help incarcerated individuals with defaulted loans, including affirming that incarcerated individuals qualify for a “fresh start,” which returns borrowers with defaulted loans to repayment in good standing and allows them to access programs like the Second Chance Pell Experiment. The Department will also allow incarcerated individuals to consolidate their loans to help them exit default in the long term.

AACTE Hosts Policy Briefing to Help Educators Manage Student Loans

How Educators Can Better Manage their Federal Student Loans

AACTE is hosting its second Public Policy in Action webinar, “How Educators Can Better Manage their Federal Student Loans,” on May 19 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).  These public policy events are designed to help members understand critical policy updates originating from Congress or the Biden Administration. May’s webinar is focused on two critical items related to the educator workforce: the potential restart of payments on Federal student loans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. We hope that attendees will also share policy developments related to student financial aid in their states.

An #AACTE22 Recap – Apprenticeships for Teaching: A National Model

Teacher posing in front of class with tablet pc at elementary schoolIn an effort to find a lasting solution to the teacher shortage crisis in the United States, Austin Peay State University (APSU) and Clarksville Montgomery County School System (CMSS) of Tennessee developed and successfully implemented an educator preparation-program called “Grow Your  Own.” Given the program’s success, the Tennessee Department of Education became the first state to establish a permanent model of the program in January of 2020. The Apprenticeships for Teaching: A National Model session of the AACTE 2022 Annual Meeting brought together the pioneers of the apprenticeship program to share their success stories, which could serve as a national model. The speakers included Prentice Chandler, dean of the APSU Eriksson College of Education; Lisa Barron, associate dean and director of teacher education at APSU; and Sean Impeartrice, chief academic officer of CMSS.

Members of Congress Call for Affordable Child Care, Expanded Access to Pre-K

Group of happy boys and girls in kindergarten holding color cardboard shapes and looking at cameraThis 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 was a busy and historic week in Washington as Members of Congress prepare to head back to home states and districts for the upcoming two-week spring recess. On Thursday, the Senate confirmed the Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Justice Jackson is the first Black woman in United States history to serve in such a role. Earlier this week, the National Education Association (NEA) joined a coalition of 27 labor unions calling for the confirmation of Justice Jackson to the Supreme Court. In a statement the coalition notes:

AACTE Participates in STEM Roundtable with Department of Education

STEM education. Science Technology Engineering Mathematics. STEM concept with drawing background. Magnifying glass over education background.AACTE is a member of The STEM Education Coalition whose mission is to raise awareness among policymakers about the critical role STEM education plays in enabling the United States to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century. The Coalition recently participated in a roundtable discussion with Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten and Assistant Secretary of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Roberto Rodriguez on how best to advance STEM education for all students. Meredith Kier, associate professor of science education at the College of William and Mary, represented AACTE at the round table. 

Below is a summary of the discussion:

White House Unveils FY2023 Budget Proposal

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 White House in Washington DC with beautiful blue skyThe Biden-Harris Administration FY2023 Budget Proposal is here and again provides substantial increases for education funding. Your voices are being heard.

 Biden-Harris Administration Unveils FY2023 Budget Proposal

On Monday the White House unveiled the complete version of the Biden-Harris Administration’s full budget proposal for FY2023. The proposal comes just weeks after the President signed into law the $1.5 trillion FY2022 omnibus spending bill, avoiding a full year continuing resolution at the FY2021 levels.

The budget proposal calls for $88.3 billion in discretionary funding to the Department of Education- a $12.9 billion or 17% increase over the 2022 net enacted level.

AACTE Weighs in on President Biden’s Budget Proposal

Word budget in lettern on background of dollar banknotesPresident Biden released his fiscal year 2023 budget proposal this week, which calls for an increase of $15.3 billion or roughly 15% for the Department of Education compared to fiscal year 2022.  AACTE strongly supports the investments in education programs called for by the president, which will make college more affordable for millions of students, help address the teacher shortage that our country faces, and diversify the profession.

Secretary Cardona Issues Call to Address Nationwide Teacher Shortage and Student Recovery

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a nationwide call to action for states, higher education leaders, and schools to tap federal resources and work together to address the teacher shortage and aid student recovery. Today’s announcement builds on President Biden’s call in the State of the Union encouraging leaders to use American Rescue Plan funds to address this critical challenge schools and districts across the country are facing. The call to action coincides with Secretary Cardona’s participation in the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Summit on Improvement in Education in San Diego.

“I have always known that a well-prepared, well-supported, well-compensated, and diverse educator workforce is the foundation for student success. Educator vacancies and other staff shortages represent a real challenge as our schools work to recover, falling hardest on students of color, students in rural communities, students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities, and multilingual learners. That’s why I’m proud that the American Rescue Plan has equipped states, school districts, and colleges and universities that prepare our educators with unprecedented financial resources to help overcome this challenge,” said Secretary Cardona. “Today, I am calling on states, districts, and institutions of higher education to use ARP funds to address the teacher shortage and increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the teaching profession. My team will continue to advise state and local leaders on how they can seize this moment; put COVID relief dollars to work in our schools; and achieve a lasting, equitable recovery for our students.”

Cardona Urges LEAs to Consider Students with Disabilities When Lifting COVID-19 Mandates

Front view of schoolboy looking at camera while sitting at desk in school  against school kids in backgroundThis 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.    

We have received confirmation that the president will release his budget request on Monday, March 28 — signaling the official “kick-off” to the FY2023 appropriations season. Advocates are anxiously awaiting to see the line item requests for the Department of Education and will work diligently in the coming months to secure meaningful investments to address the critical shortage of educators and lack of diversity across the field. Stay tuned for more details to come in next week’s Washington Update.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona Urges LEAs to Recognize the Critical Importance of Supporting Students with Disabilities

This week, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent an eight page letter to school district officials and parents urging LEAs to recognize the critical importance of supporting students with disabilities. The document comes as many districts are rolling back their COVID-19 mitigation efforts following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The letter is intended to help school district personnel and families design learning opportunities for all students, including students with disabilities. The document reviews key strategies, including Leveraging the IEP or Section 504 Processes to Ensure Protections are In Place to Protect In-Person Learning; Continuing Use of Layered Prevention Strategies to Keep School Communities Safe; and Ensuring Students Receive Education and Services in the Least Restrictive Environment.

Congress Condemns Threats of Violence Against HBCUs

happy male african american college student using tablet computerThe House of Representatives and Senate both recently passed resolutions condemning threats of violence against historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). 

Over the past several months, numerous bomb threats have been called in to HBCUs causing the colleges to cancel classes; disrupting campus environments; and increasing anxiety of students, faculty, and staff.  At least 18 HBCUs received bomb threats on February 1, 2022, the first day of Black History Month. Unfortunately, to date no one individual or group has been found responsible for these reprehensible acts. 

As the resolutions (H.Con.Res. 70/S.Res.534) note, HBCUs were established in response to discriminatory practices that excluded Black Americans from pursuing an education in the United States and they educate and produce a significant share of the nation’s Black leaders and innovators.

Leaders Urge White House to Extend Moratorium on Student Loan Repayment

Young male college student holding a sign of student loan

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.  

We are now hearing that the President’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2023 will likely be sent to Congress the last week of March or first week of April. The release of the budget signals the official “kick-off” for the FY 2023 appropriations cycle. Advocates will continue to work diligently to secure meaningful investments to support rebuilding and diversifying the special educator and specialized instructional support personnel.

Top Democratic Leaders Urge Biden Administration to Extend Student Loan Repayment Pause

Top Democratic leaders, including Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) who chairs the Senate education committee, are urging the Biden Administration to extend the moratorium on federal student loan repayments until at least the start of 2023. In a statement, Senator Murray noted the importance of fixing the “broken student loan system” and that borrowers are “struggling with rising costs, struggling to get their feet back under them after public health and economic crises, and struggling with a broken student loan system — and all this is felt especially hard by borrowers of color.”

Capitol Hill Addresses Spending, Student Loans, HBCUs and LGBTQ+ Rights

Graduation hat with diploma and moneyThis 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 the eve of the one-year anniversary of the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, Congress passed a Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Omnibus Spending Bill. The FY22 bill includes increases for education, but not nearly at the level that was originally requested by the Biden Administration. Considerable work lies ahead to secure a robust federal investment to support rebuilding and diversifying the special educator and specialized instructional personnel pipeline.

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