Posts Tagged ‘federal issues’

A New Direction for Washington Update

I write to you with news of a change in Washington Update as we start the new year. After 7 years, I will be stepping away from writing Washington Update and the talented Kaitlyn Brennan will be taking over.  As you know, she has been writing with me over the last year. And now it’s time for her to take the helm, as I find time to finish my book, which of course is about policy making. 

I began Washington Update in March 2015. I realized that so much happened so fast in the D.C. policy world that I was having a hard time keeping track. And if that was challenging for me, whose day job involved emersion in the D.C. policy world, it must really be hard for you, whose day job keeps you in another sphere.

Opinion: How UNI and Others are Confronting the National Educator Workforce Crisis

Reversing the Trend of a Declining Educator Workforce is Going to Take a Bold National Strategy

Mark NookThis article originally appeared in the Des Moines Register and is reprinted with permission.

Our nation’s economic prosperity, global competitiveness, and civic vitality rely on a strong educational system. As the leading producer of educators in the state of Iowa, at the University of Northern Iowa we know a highly qualified and diverse educator workforce is critical for preparing each generation to lead their workplaces and communities while serving as role models at home.

Pause on Federal Student Loan Repayments Extended

Young asian college student hold a sign of student loanThe Department of Education announced on December 22 that it would extend the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections through May 1, 2022. 

When COVID-19 began to wreak havoc with the lives of millions of people in March 2020, Congress passed legislation to temporarily suspend federal student loan payments.  In addition, borrowers were not charged interest on their loans and debt collection efforts were suspended.  The pause was extended several times and was due to be lifted on January 31, 2022.

As Congress Heads Home, Unfinished Business Remains

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.  

Build Back Better

Congress Looks to Head Home for the Holidays Leaving Unfinished Business for Next Year 

With the temporary fix to fund the government completed (until February 18) and the debt ceiling extension completed, the one big item left on the agenda for this week for Congress was passing President Biden’s Build Back Better plan.  With the House already having passed the bill, the ball was in the Senate court where Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) had promised a vote before the holidays.  That promise evaporated this week as it became clear that it would be impossible to corral all Senate Democrats to vote yes—a requirement for passage. Even after multiple conversations with President Biden and other Senators, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was unwilling to offer his support for the $1.7 trillion bill.  So reluctantly, Senators turned their attention to other matters, such as confirming Biden nominations and considering strategies for securing support for voting rights reform.

Using American Rescue Plan Funds to Address Teacher Shortages

Smiling teacher and boy giving high five in classroom at school

In March, President Joseph Biden signed in to law the American Rescue Plan Act (commonly referred to as ‘ARP’), which included more than $120 billion to help schools safely reopen for in-person learning. The funding can be used in a variety of ways, including to address the nation’s teacher shortage by placing teacher candidates in K12 classrooms. AACTE created a Toolkit to help members navigate conversations with state or local education leaders about using ARP funding for this purpose.

Action Needed: Urge Your Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Educators for America Act

Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Representative Alma Adams (D-N.C.) recently introduced the Educators for America Act, which would modernize Title II of the Higher Education Act and help ensure that future teachers are profession-ready to enter the classroom. The Educators for America Act was introduced after more than a year of consultations with experts in the educator field and partner organizations.  
Action Needed Now we must use our voice to build support and momentum behind the bill. Urge your representative and senators to co-sponsor the Educators for America Act via AACTE’s Action Center.  

Congress on the Move as the Clock Winds Down

US Capitol with colored sky in backgroundThis 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 Checks Another Item Off The “Must-Do” List

Last week lawmakers in Congress rallied to unite behind a deal that keeps the government funded at its current levels through February 18 __a Continuing Resolution (CR).This is the first in a series of “must-do” tasks before the New Year. The temporary patch keeps the government open, but it could result in federal agencies delaying grant competitions and disbursement of funds.

AACTE Endorses Educators for America Act

On behalf of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement in support of the Educators for America Act, which would update and modernize Title II of the Higher Education Act:

“AACTE enthusiastically supports the Educators for America Act and thanks Sen. Reed and Rep. Adams for their unwavering leadership in support of educator preparation. This comprehensive bill will make robust investments in teacher and other educator preparation programs while alleviating our nation’s educator shortage, diversifying the profession, and providing critical support to our member institutions and their community partners.” 

CNN Cites AACTE’s Issue Brief

Line of diverse college graduates

CNN’s Katie Lobosco recently reported on President’s Biden’s universal pre-K plan that would make preschool available and affordable for six million more children and the resulting challenge of hiring “tens of thousands” of new teachers. In referring to the teaching shortage, Lobosco writes, “The average number of college graduates who completed teacher preparation programs fell 24% between the 2009-10 and 2018-19 academic years, according to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.”

Congress Avoids Government Shutdown as New Challenges Loom

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. 

USA open and end of shutdown and United States government opened for business and american federal employees back to work due to spending bill agreement the left and the right with 3D illustration style.It’s the end-of-year countdown season for Congress and a lot is at stake!

Congress Races to the Finish Line 

On this past Thursday, just 36 hours before government funding was set to lapse, lawmakers rallied to unite behind a deal that will keep the government funded at its current levels through February 18. The House voted 221-212 to approve the measure. The Senate then passed the 11-week stopgap spending bill in a 69-28 vote—sending the measure to the President’s desk. The legislation, referred to as a continuing resolution (CR), will prevent a government shutdown while keeping the government funded at levels set nearly one year ago by former President Trump.

Using COVID Relief Funding to Address the Nation’s Teacher Shortage

Earlier this year, President Bident signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act, which included more than $125 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund. These funds are being used by state educational agencies and school districts to reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students. 

In response, AACTE created a Toolkit to help educator preparation programs collaborate with their local partner districts to allocate the ARP ESSER funds towards strengthening the educator workforce by supporting residency models, grow-your-own programs, and other innovative approaches to develop a pathway into teaching.

Urge Your Members of Congress to Support Educator Prep Programs and Fully Fund

AACTE recently posted two action alerts, which are a quick and easy way for you to urge your members of congress to support legislation pending before Congress.

The first action alert calls on Senators to include funding for educator preparation programs in the Build Back Better legislation it is currently negotiating.  Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed legislation that included more than $1 billion for these programs, an investment that is long overdue.  However, it is unclear if the Senate will include this funding in their version of the bill.  Your voice can help determine the fate of this critical funding.

House Passes Build Back Better Act, All Eyes on Senate

Unites States CapitolThis 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. 

Democrats in Congress are taking a victory lap as they leave town for a weeklong Thanksgiving recess next week. With House passage of the Build Back Better Act, the Biden agenda is one step closer to enactment. But the Senate will have the final say. 

House Passes Build Back Better Bill – At Last 

After weeks of fraught negotiations, and multiple postponed votes, the House finally passed the Build Back Better Act (the reconciliation bill) this morning.  One Democrat (Rep. Jared Golden of Maine) sided with all Republicans opposing the bill. This left the Democrats with the slim margin they needed to cross the finish line.

Congress Introduces Legislation to Fully Fund IDEA

Urge Your Representative and Senators to Cosponsor the IDEA Full Funding Act Today

Portrait of disabled schoolboy using digital tablet in classroom at schoolSenator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) this week introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation to finally ensure Congress’ commitment to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). AACTE is a strong supporter of this legislation and has called for Congress to fully fund IDEA to help support students with disabilities.

Congress Faces End of the Year Frenzy

US Capitol with colored sky in background

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. 

While Congress has been out of session this week for a Veteran’s Day recess, the action behind the scenes continues to be dominated by the prospects of finalizing the reconciliation bill, or the Build Back Better plan.  Educators are eager to see this make it over the finish line, as it includes important investments for education, including $610 million for the educator pipeline. 

Bipartisan Infrastructure Heads to President Biden for Signature

Last Friday, all eyes were on the House of Representatives where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was working overtime to schedule a vote on both the bipartisan infrastructure bill (which had already passed the Senate) and the partisan reconciliation bill (which has passed neither body but is being intensely negotiated behind the scenes). Pelosi could afford to lose only three Democratic votes and still pass the bills.

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