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Washington Update: Education Priorities, Parents Bill of Rights, and Supreme Court Arguments

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 is scheduled to deliver a major address at the Department of Education’s Lyndon Baines Johnson building in Washington, D.C.  The speech entitled, “Raise the Bar: Lead the World,” will offer the Secretary the opportunity to lay out the Department’s priorities for 2023 and detail progress made on 2022 initiatives. Afterward, the Secretary will take part in a fireside chat with Executive Director of the National PTA Nathan R. Monell, CAE. The event will be streamed on the Department’s YouTube  page.

Biden-Harris Administration Releases Regulatory Agenda with Renewed Focus on Higher Education

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.

Early Saturday, after a historic 5-day, 15 ballot fight- with major concessions made to the so called “never Kevin” holdouts, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) secured his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Many analysts and DC insiders believe that the political theatre surrounding the Speaker vote foreshadows just how difficult it could be to govern in an exceedingly narrow Republican majority. However, in speaking with reporters Speaker McCarthy downplayed concerns, saying: “This is the great part … Because it took this long, now we learned how to govern.” I suppose only time will tell if the Speaker’s projection reigns true.

In the States: A Look at FAPE and Faith-based Schools

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

OCR Enters Resolution Agreement with Virginia’s Southeastern Cooperative Educational Programs (SECEP) Regarding the use of Restraint and Seclusion

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that the Southeastern Cooperative Educational Programs (SECEP) in Virginia entered into a resolution agreement regarding the use of restraint and seclusion and the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities. OCR identified concerns that SECEP may have denied FAPE to students with disabilities when it did not reevaluate students after multiple incidents of restraint and seclusion and when students missed significant instructional time.

In the States: Addressing Students with Disabilities Services and Educator Shortage

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

Office of Civil Rights Comes to Agreement with Fairfax County Public Schools (VA) Over Students with Disabilities Receiving Services

On Wednesday, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced they have come to an agreement with Fairfax County Public Schools after the district failed to provide thousands of students with disabilities with the services required under law during the pandemic. “I am relieved that the more than 25,000 students with disabilities in Fairfax County will now receive services federal law promises to them, even during a pandemic, to ensure their equal access to education,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon said in a statement.

The OCR investigation found that during the pandemic, Fairfax County Public Schools, the largest school district in Virginia, reduced its special education instruction and “inaccurately informed staff that the school division was not required to provide compensatory education to students with disabilities who did not receive a [free appropriate public education] during the COVID-19 pandemic because the school division was not at fault.”

Where Do the 118th Congress and Student Debt Relief Stand?

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.

It has been a busy week in Washington with Members returning after the mid-term elections and the new freshman class of Members arriving on the Hill for orientation. Speaker Pelosi made the momentous decision to step down from Democratic leadership. Speaker Pelosi is a historic figure, having become, at the time, the most powerful elected woman in U.S. history when she assumed the Speakership in 2007. The decision to step back from leadership paves the way for a new generation of Democrats to rise in the ranks; Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Caucus Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) are viewed as the heirs apparent to the “big three” — House Democratic Leader, House Democratic Whip, and Democratic Caucus Chair. In remarks to her colleagues on the House floor, Speaker Pelosi recalled the first time she saw the Capitol, saying “I will never forget the first time I saw the Capitol.[…]The Capitol is a temple of our Democracy, of our Constitution, of our highest ideals[…] Indeed, American Democracy is majestic — but it is fragile.” Thank you Madam Speaker, for your years of dedicated service to the Republic.

Important Work Continues While Congress on Recess

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 logoWe have finally made it to mid-term election week. Congress remains on recess until after the elections, but important work continues. It is my hope that by the end of the week we will have the complete results of the mid-term elections and I will provide an analysis on the makeup of the 118th Congress in our next Washington Update.

Teaching Innovators: A Spotlight on Special Education at Clemson University

This article was originally published by Clemson News and is reprinted with permission.

Catherine Griffith serves as a clinical associate professor of special education in the Department of Education and Human Development at Clemson University. She coordinates the Master of Education program in Special Education with emphases in academic and behavioral interventions and teaches coursework on individuals with learning disabilities and emotional and behavioral disorders, intensive academic interventions, and applied behavior analysis.

In the States: A Look at the Southern Region

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

States and districts around the country continue to scramble to fill teaching positions with fully certified, profession ready educators. A recent analysis from the  Southern Regional Education Board of 2019-20 data in 11 states found roughly 4% of teachers — which could be up to 56,000 educators — were uncertified or teaching with an emergency certification. By 2030, the number of uncertified teachers or those teaching with an emergency certification is expected to balloon. The Southern Regional Education Boards projects that upwards of 16 million K-12 students in the Southern region of the country could be taught by an unprepared or inexperienced teacher. While the pandemic certainly exacerbated the problem, it is not new and has steadily gotten worse over the last decade. For example, in Texas school districts’ reliance on uncertified new hires increased significantly over the last decade. In the 2011-12 school year, fewer than 7% of the state’s new teachers — roughly 1,600 — didn’t have a certification. By last year, about 8,400 of the state’s nearly 43,000 new hires were uncertified.

Senators, Department of Education, and Supreme Court Focus on 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.

Department of Education logoWhile Congress is on an extended recess leading into the mid-term elections, work behind the scenes continues. Washington Update typically breaks with Congress, but you can expect to see updates coming to your inbox leading up to the mid-terms.

CEEDAR Releases New Resources to Support Inclusive Education

Education systems must adapt and tailor its programming to meet the needs of every learner. The Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR), a technical assistance center, aims to successfully educate and train educator and leader preparation programs to support inclusive education. The center’s aim is to create quality education for every student — with a focus on preparing students with disabilities to achieve college and career-ready standards. This is done by implementing evidence-based practices within multi-tiered systems of support.

CEEDAR, an AACTE partner organization, recently announced two new resources based on evidence-based practices:

Special Educator Shortage Requires ‘All Hands on Deck’

Jacqueline Rodriguez, Laurie VanderPloeg, and Kaitlyn Brennan talk about special educator shortages during the Council of Administrators of Special Education’s Special Education Legislative Summit on July 11, 2022, in Alexandria, Virginia.

This article originally appeared on K-12 Drive.

While the number of students needing special education services is expected to increase over the next few years, the number of special educators and specialized instructional support personnel are expected to decrease, according to speakers at Monday’s Special Education Legislative Summit, sponsored by the Council of Administrators of Special Education and Council for Exceptional Children.

Georgia State University Awarded State Department of Education Funding to Support Dyslexia Endorsement Programs

Georgia State University’s College of Education & Human Development received a $106,928 grant from the Georgia Department of Education to help teachers earn their dyslexia endorsement.

Georgia State is one of 14 universities and regional education service agencies to receive state funding, which can be used to cover tuition, fees and exam costs for teachers in dyslexia endorsement programs or to improve and expand those programs, according to the Department of Education’s website.

SFA Partners with Galena Park Independent School District for Paid Internships

Stephen F. Austin State University’s James I. Perkins College of Education has partnered with the Galena Park Independent School District to staff up to five paid internships during the 2022-23 academic year.

The program, which launches this fall, will let students use clinical teaching assignments to gain valuable classroom experience before entering the education workforce. While all teaching areas are available, GPISD particularly needs interns in early childhood through sixth grade, special education, bilingual education, math and English language arts.

Dept. of Education Sends Aid to Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District

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 House Appropriations Committee has been busy marking up the first 6 of 12 government funding bills for FY2023. The process is expected to be almost, if not completely, partisan. In the upper chamber, the Senate Appropriations has not reached an agreement on how much to spend on defending and non-defense discretionary funding, ultimately delaying forward movement. 

Interactive STEM Camp at MSU offers Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Chance to Learn Physics, Consider College Options

(Photo by Grace Cockrell)

A group of young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder who are interested in science, technology and related fields are getting a new chance to learn about physics and other topics as part of an innovative camp at Mississippi State, which may be the country’s first of its kind.

MSU Assistant Professor of Physics Ben Crider is using a prestigious $600,000 National Science Foundation 2019 Career Grant to advance his nuclear physics research, which includes a highly interactive summer experience for students with autism that was delayed due to COVID-19.

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