Posts Tagged ‘federal issues’

Time Running Out to Apply for Debt Relief

At the start of the pandemic, the federal government paused the repayment requirements for most federal student loans. More recently, the Administration announced that it would forgive a certain amount of student debt to eligible borrowers.  Both announcements were meant to help borrowers through economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and regain their financial footing after seeing student debt balloon to over $1.6 trillion. These are unique opportunities that could see thousands of dollars eliminated from your balance. But time is running out.

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.

Congress Passes Legislation to Allow Separation of Spousal Student Loans

In September, Congress passed legislation that permits both borrowers of a joint student loan to apply to the Education Department to have their joint loan split up into two separate loans. President Biden is expected to sign the legislation into law. 

Previously, married couples were able to combine their student loan debt into joint consolidation loans, which would make them both liable for repayment of the loan. Congress eliminated the joint consolidation program effective July 1, 2006, but it did not provide a means of severing existing loans, even in the event of domestic violence, economic abuse, or an unresponsive partner.

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.

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.

Borrowers Can Refinance Federal Student Loans to Benefit from PSLF

Apply by Oct. 31

One of the barriers to a diverse and well-prepared educator workforce is the high cost of college and student loan debt. Research has found that higher debt burdens are associated with students avoiding public service jobs, particularly in the education field. 

To encourage highly qualified individuals to become teachers or serve in other public sector jobs, the federal government created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in 2007, which eliminates any remaining federal student loan debt for those individuals that make 120 qualified payments while working for a qualified non-profit employer.

Civics Secures Democracy Act Reintroduced in the Senate

A bipartisan group of senators and representatives have introduced the Civics Secures Democracy Act, which would authorize an historic investment to support K–12 civic education and American history. AACTE urges members to reach out to their Members of Congress to encourage them to support the Civics Secures Democracy Act through the Action Alert in the AACTE Advocacy Center.

Over the last several decades, civics education in American schools has seen a significant decline. Given the divisiveness in our politics and the lack of knowledge and understanding of democratic principles, norms, and institutions, a robust investment in civics education is needed.

AACTE Applauds Biden Administration’s Decision to Forgive Federal Student Loans

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) announced its support for the Biden Administration’s decision to forgive a portion of the federal student aid debt certain individuals have incurred to attend college.

“The federal government’s decision to forgive a portion of federal student debt is long overdue,” said  AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D. “Many students are overwhelmed with student debt, preventing them from beginning families, purchasing homes, or achieving other life milestones. This announcement is a significant step in helping these students. However, much more needs to be done to help students interested in pursuing a career in education finance their college degree. As a nation, we must address the high cost of a college degree and the low compensation of teachers, both of which have contributed to a nationwide shortage of profession-ready, fully licensed educators.”

Take Action: Support Loan Forgiveness for Educators Act

One of the barriers to a diverse and well-prepared educator workforce is the high cost of college and student loan debt. Research has found that higher debt burdens are associated with students avoiding public service jobs, particularly in the education field.  These barriers are more acute for people of color interested in entering the teaching profession and hinders their ability to stay in the profession.

Senate Appropriations Committee Releases Draft Labor-HHS-Education Bill

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 marked the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark civil rights legislation represents the promise of inclusion and access for individuals with disabilities across our nation. While our country has made significant progress since the law was signed over three decades ago- there is more work to do to live up to the promise of ADA.

Senate Appropriations Committee Releases Draft FY2023 Funding Bills

On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its proposed Democratic fiscal year (FY) 2023 funding bills along with an explanatory statement and summary for each bill. The explanatory statement comes in lieu of a Committee Report and explains the intent behind the funding values and includes an overview and descriptions of each account, list of earmarks, and a programmatic funding table at the end. The Senate bills won’t be marked up, but they will serve as a starting point for negotiations in the fall.

Department of Education Releases New Discipline Guidance for 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.

Time is winding down in Congress as Members prepare for the summer recess. While there is always much to be done- we don’t expect much movement on FY2023 appropriations until the fall.  As always, your voice at the table is imperative to ensuring investments in the special educator and specialized instructional support personnel workforce remain at the forefront.

AACTE President Addresses the Educator Workforce Crisis at NGA Session

As school districts prepare for the 2022-23 school year, policymakers are determined to prioritize comprehensive solutions to address staffing shortages, a long-standing issue exacerbated during the pandemic.

AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone recently shared insight on this topic at a virtual session hosted by the National Governor Association’s (NGA) Community Renewal Task Force. Led by Co-chair and Missouri Governor Mike Parson, the discussion also included Penny Schwinn, Tennessee commissioner of education, and Roberto Rodriquez, assistant secretary of planning, evaluation, and policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education.

New Federal Initiatives Address Pandemic Learning Loss

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, the 87th biennial American Federation of Teachers (AFT) convention is taking place in Boston, where the city will welcome more than 3,000 members and leaders of the labor group. Today, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will address the AFT with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey scheduled to take the stage as well. The AFT convention comes as districts across the nation are beginning to prepare for a return to school in the fall while in the midst of a critical shortage of educators and specialized instructional support personnel. An all-hands-on-deck approach will be needed, which includes comprehensive, full preparation coupled with support from federal, state, and local governments in order to address this crisis.

House Committee Approves Labor-HHS-Education Funding Bill

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.

While I typically break from Washington Update during Congressional recess, I am excited to share that last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill on a 32 to 24 vote.

The bill provides $242.1 billion, an increase of $28.5 billion or 13% above 2022 funding levels. While significant advocacy work to get this across the finish line remains- the Appropriations Committee’s approval marks a great step in securing historic increases for education funding at the federal level. Your voices are being heard!

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