Posts Tagged ‘funding’

How Would President Biden’s $2.5 Trillion Infrastructure Proposal Impact Education?

White HouseThis 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.  

President Biden Unveils Massive Infrastructure Bill with Billions for Education

On Wednesday, President Biden took his first steps towards a months-long sprint to pass a $2.5 trillion infrastructure and jobs bill. The robust plan includes an emphasis on rebuilding America’s schools, broadband access, and increasing access to Community Colleges. Biden is proposing  $100 billion to help repair crumbling classrooms and build new public school buildings. The plan includes $50 billion in direct grants for school construction and an additional $50 billion through bonds. The allocation is slightly less than what House Democrats have proposed in their school construction legislation. The bill, H.R. 604 (117), introduced by House Education and Labor Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA) calls for $100 billion in direct grants and another $30 billion in interest subsidies on bonds that states or school districts issue to pay for school construction. The President’s plan also has provisions aimed at allowing schools to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental policies, including helping school kitchens “go green by reducing or eliminating the use of paper plates and other disposable materials,” according to a White House fact sheet.

Leslie Fenwick Discusses Higher Education in a Washington Post Live Webinar

During the Washington Post Live’s webinar, “U.S. Higher Education: Rethinking the Possibilities,” AACTE’s Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick, dean emeritus of Howard University School of Education, was interviewed by Eugene Scott as the first of the two guests. The interview was comprised of questions covering different facets of the education space including policy, diversity, student loans, and the pandemic.

The first question addressed President Joe Biden and what Fenwick believed should be his top priority in regard to education policy. Fenwick response focused on embracing a new and more diverse student population both in the workforce and higher education. She delved into specifics of the increasing majority of non-White students in public schools beginning in 2018 and continuing on an upward trajectory.

White House Administration Promotes Rescue Funds to Reopen Schools

Children in school wearing masks and practicing social distancingThis 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. 

 Biden Administration: COVID Funds, School Reopening, FY 2022 Budget Proposal               

Last week, on the heels of the National Safe School Reopening Summit , President Biden announced that $81 billion of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds would be released to all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The funds will support efforts to get students back in the classroom safely for in person learning, keep schools open once students are back, and address the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of all students.

Ahead of the Summit, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the launch of a new Summer Learning & Enrichment Collaborative, a partnership between the Department, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the National Governors Association. The partnership is intended to help states use ARPA funding to develop high-quality summer learning and enrichment programs for all students, with a focus on addressing the needs of student groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The announcements are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader effort to provide states, schools, and communities with the resources and support they need to return to in-person learning safely and quickly, and achieve the President’s goal of reopening the majority of K-8 schools within the first 100 days of his  Administration. Cardona also announced  that as part of this effort, he will travel to local school districts over the coming weeks to listen and learn from them, and to help more schools and districts in their efforts to reopen and stay open. The Secretary will then report back to the White House on what he learns.

Massive Funding Will Soon Flow into Schools and IHEs

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. 

The Biden Agenda Continues to Unfold

The Biden Administration is on the brink of distributing the nearly  $122 billion  in new COVID relief funding for the nation’s K-12 schools, which the Education Department said would be made available  to states “this month.” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona notified state officials on Wednesday about the share of funding they would receive from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that President Biden signed last week. States and school districts “should plan to expend these funds to safely reopen schools as expeditiously as possible this spring, sustain their healthy operations, and address the significant academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of their students,” Cardona wrote in the letter to state school chiefs.

Cardona joined White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki for her daily press briefing  on Wednesday. During the Q&A with the press pool, Cardona touched on COVID-19 relief, school reopening, and standardized testing. The Secretary told reporters  he didn’t plan to change the Education Department’s decision on standardized testing, which was announced in February before he was confirmed by the Senate. “The guidance that we provided at the agency last month is the guidance that we’re going with moving forward on assessments to see where students are after this pandemic,” Cardona said.

Education Receives Unprecedented Funding in American Rescue Plan Act

Concept meaning agree to give or allow something requested someone Authorize action.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. 

President Biden Signs Massive $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act

On Thursday evening, just before a primetime address to the nation, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).

The House gave its final approval of the bill on Wednesday. Congressional Republicans, who voted en masse against the bill, have criticized the deal for funneling money to schools that haven’t offered in-person instruction despite earlier rounds of pandemic relief.

ARPA includes $122.8 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). ESSER funds will be distributed to states in the same way that the last two federal rescue packages were distributed: based on their relative Title I, Part A funding. The first $800 million of ESSER funding must be used by states to provide educational and wraparound services to students experiencing homelessness. The bill requires states to distribute the remaining $122 billion in the following manner :

  • Local Education Agencies (LEAs) ($109.8 billion): Ninety percent of funding will be distributed to districts based on their relative share of Title I, Part A funding.
  • Lost Learning Time ($6.1 billion): States must use at least 5% of their ESSER funding “to address learning loss by supporting the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning, extended day, or extended school year programs, and ensure such interventions respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on [students of color, students from families experiencing low-incomes, students with disabilities, English language learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and students in foster care].”
  • After-School Programs ($1.2 billion): A minimum of 1% of state funding must be used for after-school programs that address students’ academic, social, and emotional needs.
  • Summer Enrichment Programs ($1.2 billion): At least 1% of funding must be used by states to provide students with evidence-based summer learning programs.
  • Administration Costs ($610 million): States can spend up to 0.5% of their funding on the costs of administrating this program.
  • Remaining State Funds ($3 billion): States will be allowed to use these funds on any of the allowable uses in the act.

LEAs will be required to use at least 20% of the funds they receive ($22 billion) to address lost learning time for students. They will have the freedom to spend the remaining 80% ($87.8 billion) of funding based on local needs and priorities. Senate Democrats are circulating a Congressional Research Service memo with estimates of Education Stabilization Fund totals for states and institutions of higher education (IHE). It breaks out funding by state for the K-12 fund, the non-public schools, and the higher education fund (by state and by type of IHE). The last pages aggregate each state’s total from all three emergency relief funds.  

In the final bill, a number of amendments approved by the Senate were included that increased funding for students with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, and sought transparency in school district’s plans for reopening and addressing continuity of services.

  • As amended, the legislation provides $2.6 billion in additional funding for state special education grants under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. In addition, the legislation provides $200 million for special education preschool grants, and $250 million for infants and toddlers with disabilities, both under the IDEA.
  • The Senate took $2.75 billion out of the House bill’s K-12 relief fund and earmarked it for private schools. Governors would allocate this money.
  • Maggie Hassan (D-N.H) offered an amendment that will ensure schools are transparent in their plans surrounding reopening and learning opportunities. The amendment says that within 30 days of receiving this new relief funding, school districts will have to publish “a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services.”
  • Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK) introduced an amendment that was agreed to by the Senate that provides $800 million help identify students experiencing homelessness, and to provide those students with wraparound services.

Other elements of the bill that are worth noting include:

  • States and schools must reserve roughly 25 percent of the stabilization fund for learning recovery (e.g. summer school and extended-day programs).
  • $350 billion is available for state and local governments.
  • $7 billion is available to help students and educators connect to the internet and provide them with connected devices, through the federal E-Rate program.
  • $39 billion will go to early-childhood programs, including Child Care and Development Block Grants and a stabilization fund for child-care providers.
  • Language in ARPA would punish states that want to enact/expand a new voucher tax credit by requiring them to pay back the equivalent amount of federal aid dollars as the tax credit they are issuing.
  • Families can claim up to $3,600 per child under age 6 and $3,000 for children up to age 17 for one year to help combat the economic damage of the pandemic. House Democrats are looking to make the tax change The current tax credit is up to $2,000 per child. 

The bill also includes about $40 billion for higher education—about half of which will go to emergency funding in grants to students. ACE President Ted Mitchell said that while the amount of higher ed funding “falls short of our most recent estimate of at least $97 billion in student and institutional needs, it still represents the largest federal effort so far to assist students and families struggling to cope with lost jobs or reduced wages and colleges and universities facing precipitous declines in revenues and soaring new expenses.” Additional funds will go to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and other Minority-Serving Institutions. A provision is included in the bill that would exempt all student loan forgiveness from federal taxes for five years, perhaps paving the way for expanded student debt cancellation.

As I close, I offer a big shout out to one of our own—Kim Knackstedt—who has been named as the first White House Director of Disability Policy. With her Ph.D. in special education and several years of experience working on Capitol Hill, Kim is imminently qualified for this position.  I know you join me in congratulating her!

And a big thank you to Kaitlyn Brennan for her research and writing for this Washington Update.

Read the full Washington Update on my website for more information.

New Report Details Financial Challenges for Teacher Candidates

Plus and minus graphicEvery institution knows that affordability is an important factor in attracting candidates into teacher preparation programs. During the 2019-20 school year, Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College conducted a survey of more than 1,200 aspiring teachers at 12 institutions across seven states to understand their financial situations. Our first report on the survey findings, #MoreLearningLessDebt: Voices of Aspiring Teachers on Why Money Matters, unpacks the financial anxiety felt by so many aspiring teachers and makes recommendations to alleviate that anxiety through research, practice, and policy.

Biden Administration Proceeds with Key Education Policy, Names Education Appointees

Congress Moves on COVID Relief Bill

This week Congress moved closer to the enactment of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan— the COVID-relief reconciliation  bill with hundreds of billions of dollars for education, child care, and other education-related needs. The bill is expected to pass in the House this evening. All Democrats are likely to vote for the bill, and possibly some Republicans.

The bill will move to the Senate next week for consideration where the goal is to finalize the bill by March 14, when the current expanded unemployment insurance expires. Several education groups have come forward in support of the bill. Republicans appear likely to oppose the bill holding that it is too much money and that the process has not been bipartisan. However, since the Senate requires only 51 votes to pass the bill, even with all Republicans opposing it, it will pass.

Confirmation of New Secretary of Education Moves Forward

Capitol building Washington DC sunlight USA US congressThis 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.

House and Senate Press Forward with First Steps to Pass Biden COVID Relief Package

In dramatic moves in both the House and Senate last week, the stage was set to enact President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. Early in the week the House passed a Budget Resolution followed by Senate passage of a Budget Resolution early Friday morning—with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Harris. The Budget resolution is the shell that will initiate the creation of legislation that will form the COVID-19 relief package. Because the Senate Resolution is different from the House resolution, the House will next take up the Senate version and pass it so that both bodies are working from the same playbook.           

Congress Moves Ahead with Biden Agenda

The US Capitol building with a waving American flag superimposed on the skyThis 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. 

Biden’s Executive Action and Political Appointments 

This week, President Biden continued with his executive action blitz—signing a series of orders, actions, and memorandums aimed at rapidly addressing the coronavirus pandemic and dismantling many of the former administration’s policies. Among the orders signed to date are several of keen interest to educators, including the restoration of  DACA, the repeal of the Trump order on race and stereotyping, an extension of the pause on student loan collection through September, and an order requiring the Department of Education to issue guidance on school re-openings during the pandemic.

Almost a week after being sworn in, President Biden is seeing his Cabinet start to come together. This week the Senate confirmed  Antony Blinken, as Secretary of State, Janet Yellen,as Secretary of the Treasury, Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense, and Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence—all with bipartisan votes. Biden awaits confirmation of numerous key Cabinet nominees to lead important agencies—including Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and the CIA.

Looking Ahead to the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress

White House

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.

Yesterday, President-Elect Biden revealed his massive $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan, hoping to jump start consideration in Congress. The goal of the education portion of the bill is to provide enough support for a robust vaccination plan, treatment, and funding to reopen a majority of K-8 schools safely within 100 days.  The proposal provides $170 billion for K-12 and higher education. To date, the Congress has enacted almost $113 billion for the Department of Education in COVID relief funds. 

Of the $170 billion in education funds, $130 billion would be for K-12 relief intended to cover technology needs; counseling, support for social, emotional, and academic needs of students; provision of smaller classes’ PPE, extra transportation; cleaning costs; and more. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund includes $35 billion for public colleges, public and private HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions to provide online learning and emergency grants to students. A Governors’ fund is allocated $5 billion to support education for areas that have been the hardest hit by COVID, from pre-K through higher education. In addition, $350 billion is made available for state and local fiscal relief, a portion of which may be used for education. Funds are provided for regular testing for teachers and students, per recommendations from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Who are the Candidates for the Biden Secretary of Education?

Welcome to Washington’s “end of the semester” sprint. Will that FY 2021 spending bill cross the finish line by the end of the year or be pushed into next year for the new Congress to grapple with?  Will the President refuse to sign the bill and cause a government shutdown? Will there be another COVID relief bill any time soon? And how about the Biden Secretary of Education?

Congress Punts FY 2021 Funding Bill and COVID Relief Package until Next Week

They say there is nothing that focuses the mind like a deadline. In Washington, that means moving the deadline to the edge of the cliff before acting. This week, the House and Senate agreed to extend the December 11 deadline for funding the government to next Friday, December 18, giving them an additional week to negotiate and finalize the $1.4 trillion bill.  President Trump is expected to sign the bill, called a continuing resolution, but he is a hard one to predict. 

Consensus on a bi-partisan COVID relief bill seems to be growing on one day and shrinking the next. Many appear hopeful that another week could bring them to closure so that the COVID relief bill and the FY 2021 spending bill could be packaged together and delivered to the White House as an early Christmas present.  There could also be a further extension of the deadline, even through Christmas. Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) has said she is not leaving town without a deal on both. 

AACTE Urges Federal, State and University Leaders to Strengthen EPPs in Challenging Times

These are indeed difficult times for all levels of education, yet AACTE member institutions remain dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners. AACTE continues to advocate for and support schools and colleges of education in their efforts to navigate the teacher shortage and COVID-19 related financial challenges, and their work to identify viable solutions to the multiple challenges that currently impact education.

The global pandemic has deepened the national teacher shortage crisis. College and university programs that prepare our teachers, principals, school counselors, and other essential education professionals are experiencing a debilitating wave of closures and faculty layoffs. The rising demand for high-quality education in the 21st century and achieving a prosperous quality of life for themselves and their families. It is critical now more than ever to recruit diverse, talented people into the education profession, which requires our nation’s leaders allocating funds to aid colleges and universities in their recovery from the significant financial challenges caused by the pandemic. It is also critical for legislators to revamp policies and practices to support a diverse education workforce.

AACTE Sends Policy Priorities to Biden-Harris Education Transition Team

Hand writing Policy List with red markerThe nation’s transition to the 46th presidential administration are underway. AACTE provided the Biden-Harris Administration’s Education Transition Team with its policy priorities for the coming year. Much of AACTE’s priorities stem from its advocacy throughout the year to increase the federal investment in education in PK-20, with a specific focus on recruiting and sustaining candidates in its education preparation programs.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, educator preparation stands at a dangerous crossroad. The college and university programs that prepare our teachers, principals, school counselors, and other essential education professionals are experiencing a debilitating wave of closures and faculty layoffs.

Congress Winds Down with Packed Agenda

U.S. Capitol

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.

The Senate returns to town today after Thanksgiving recess. Most pressing is the December 11 deadline to avoid a government shutdown. Meanwhile pressure to address an out-of-control pandemic with a fiscal relief bill does not appear to be in sight. And President Trump continues to challenge the outcome of the Presidential election. 

The 116th Congress Moves Toward a Shaky Finish

Progress with finalizing the FY 2021 spending bill is underway, but the outcome is far from certain. The four corners (Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate) have been meeting and appear to be in agreement on top line spending numbers. The four corners also agree that they want a bill. President Trump remains a wild card. 

One of four outcomes is possible:  1) Congress completes all the funding bills by December 11 and the President signs them into law;  2) Congressional negotiators are making  good progress by December 11 and extend the current level of funding for a week or so while they continue to negotiate; 3) Congress passes a temporary funding measure through March or so, essentially punting decision-making into the next Congress; 4) Congress passes a bill before the end of the year and the President refuses to sign it causing a government shutdown. My money is on number 2. Congress is notorious for stretching out finalization of bills right up until the Christmas break.  It’s hard to imagine a government shutdown—even in the midst of the craziness these days—that seems a bridge too far.

UNLV Holmes Scholar Wins Dissertation Competition

During the 2020 AACTE Annual Meeting Holmes Program Preconference events, selected scholars participated in the AACTE Holmes Dissertation Funding Competition to receive $5,000 funding support for their dissertation research. AACTE interviews the winner of the 2020 competition, Monique Matute-Chavarria, who completed her study, Parents’ Beliefs of Cultural Considerations During the IEP Process: A Delphi Study, and received her Ph.D. from the Department of Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Monique Matute-ChavarriaHow would you describe your experience as a Holmes Scholar? What supports were most impactful and why?

I was a Holmes Scholar at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for three years. It was a great experience, and I am grateful for the opportunities the Holmes program afforded me. The Holmes program provided me with several professional development opportunities that helped me craft my goals that I wanted to accomplish in the doctoral program to prepare me for a tenure track position. I gained several skills that assisted me through my journey as a doctoral student, such as academic writing, scholarship opportunities, presenting my research, and serving on the Holmes council. I was also able to network with other Holmes Scholars at other institutions at the AACTE Holmes Preconference and build relationships that have led to lifelong friendships and several opportunities to collaborate on research. I gained a new confidence that I did not have prior to my doctoral studies. I know that I can write for publication, stand before experts in the field, and confidently present and discuss my scholarship. The academic and personal growth I gained from the mentorship helped prepare me for a career in academia.

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