The Senate and House are adjourned and will reconvene on November 13. November and December are likely to be an important planning period for the education committees leading up to the beginning of the 116th Congress this January. NSBA will be working closely with leaders on Capitol Hill to inform this work, including a focus on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, reauthorization of the Higher Education Act for teacher/school leader preparation, and Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations.
The midterm elections may have important implications for federal education policy decisions during the next two years. The Senate composition currently includes 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats and 2 Independents. Twenty-six Democrats and 7 Republicans will stand for election on Tuesday. Experts consider 9 of the Senate races to be “toss-ups,” but predict Republicans will maintain control of the body. The House composition currently includes 238 Republicans, 193 Democrats and 4 vacancies. Since 1934, the party of a newly elected president has suffered an average loss of 23 seats in the House in the following midterm. Experts have identified 100 competitive House races, including over 48 that pollsters designate as toss-ups. Given the large number of competitive races, House majority could shift to the Democrats, which would cause significant changes to the composition of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
U.S. Department of Education Reorganization
NSBA expects the U.S. Department of Education to announce organizational changes that will take effect in January, which may include the following revised structures:
- Office of Non-Public Education to report directly to Secretary Betsy DeVos;
- Office of Innovation and Improvement to be combined with the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education;
- Office of the Deputy Secretary to be included in the Office of the Secretary;
- The Budget Office would be moved to the Office of Finance and Operations (from the Office of Planning Evaluation and Policy Development).
The Department has stated these organizational changes are designed to promote efficiency and reduce redundancies.
Preschool Development Grant Applications Due
The date for states to file applications for the Every Student Succeeds Act’s Preschool Development Grant (PDG) program is November 6. Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina have until November 20 to file their applications, given the impact of the recent hurricanes in the southeast. The PDG program, administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, aims to improve coordination among early learning providers, including school district providers of preschool and other early learning services. States will share $250 million provided by Congress for the program in the current fiscal year to conduct strategic planning and other activities.
Courtesy NSBA's Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of November 2, 2018