The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate will not meet again until November 13, when both chambers reconvene to continue work on the remaining Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bills for the 115th Congress. The Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Education is enacted (Public Law 115-245) and provides more than a $300 million increase for K-12 programs. Details are posted here.
Education Is on the Ballot November 6th
In 15 states across the country, there are 20 confirmed ballot measures that could generate more than $2 billion in revenue for public education and represent public referendums on education policy issues. For more information, please reference this article from the Center for American Progress that is based on data reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Ballotpedia, and the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.
U.S. Department of Education Announces Non-Regulatory Guidance for Federally Declared Disaster
The U.S. Department of Education is continuing efforts to assist areas affected by hurricanes and recently released non-regulatory guidance to help federal grantees and program participants restore teaching and learning environments and expedite the recovery process.
“For children of affected families, returning to school can provide stability in a time of upheaval,” Secretary Betsy DeVos emphasized in a letter to Chief State School Officers. “The Department stands ready to provide whatever flexibility and support it can to help ensure all children, particularly those in the hurricane-impacted areas, receive a quality education.”
The guidance provides support to state and local education agencies, charter schools, non-public schools, Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools, postsecondary institutions, and other entities in a variety of ways, while also covering program-specific topics. Examples of such support include flexibility for programmatic reporting, timelines for grant-funded activities, and maintenance of fiscal effort or matching requirements; potential alternatives and strategies for supplying program services after disruption; and, suggested methods for ensuring continuity of services and communication.
English Learners Toolkit Released
The U.S. Department of Education has developed a toolkit for educators and technology developers to help meet the unique needs of English learners. The toolkit includes resources designed around the following five guiding principles:
- Understand what educational technology offers for instructing English learners
- Discover the types of educational technology available
- Maximize the supports that educational technology offers English learners
- Seek out hands-on, instruction-focused professional development
- Learn more about English learners and educational technology
New Hampshire Added to ESSA Innovative Assessment Pilot
The Department of Education approved New Hampshire’s application to participate in the Innovative Assessment pilot created through the Every Student Succeeds Act. The New Hampshire pilot is approved to continue through the 2022 – 2023 school year. With this approval, New Hampshire plans to continue experimenting with new assessments through its Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) program. Up to seven states can participate in the pilot. Currently, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico have applied. Earlier this year, Louisiana received the Department’s approval to participate in the pilot program.
Department of Education Planning ESSA Title IV-A Survey
The U.S. Department of Education has invited public comment on a survey planned by the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development to examine the early implementation of Student Support and Academic Enrichment (ESSA Title IV-A) grants. The program’s goal is to improve “student academic achievement by increasing the capacity of states, school districts, schools, and local communities to:
- Provide all students with access to a well-rounded education;
- Improve school conditions for student learning; and
- Improve the use of technology in order to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students.” The Department plans to conduct this survey of all states in Spring 2019. Comments about the survey’s structure are due by December 3, 2018.
Further information can be found here.
Justice Department Announces School Safety Grants
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced $70 million in grants for school safety through prevention and crisis response training and $64 million to improve state criminal record systems. Ninety-one agencies will receive grants of almost $25 million to train law enforcement officers to prevent and handle issues of student violence and improve coordination between law enforcement and schools. Local agencies across the country will receive almost $28 million of the grants to educate students, staff and law enforcement on prevention training as well as responses to mental health issues. Nearly $20 million will be granted to 68 law enforcement agencies, schools districts and municipalities for threat assessment and crisis intervention teams support.
The funding is made possible through the STOP School Violence Act. Rosters of grant recipients are posted online as follows.
- FY 2018 STOP School Violence Threat Assessment and Technology Reporting Program
- FY 2018 STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program
- 2018 COPS School Violence Prevention Program
U.S. Department of Education Personnel Changes
The U.S. Department of Education announced that Nate Bailey will begin serving as Secretary DeVos’ Chief of Staff. Josh Venable is stepping down from the position after serving in the role for the past two years. Bailey has been serving as Acting Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach.
The Department’s Chief Financial Officer, Douglas Webster, has announced that he will be leaving to serve in another position within the Administration. In his place, Larry Kean, from the Department’s Budget Office, will serve as Acting Chief Financial Officer.
The Department’s Office of International and Foreign Language Education has announced Cheryl E. Gibbs as its Senior Director replacing recently retired Senior Director Lenore Yaffee Garcia.
Notable Publications and Events
- The College Board released its annual review of the 2018 SAT results. This class of SAT testers was the largest in history at 2.1 million worldwide. There was a slight increase in the mean score (1068 overall).
- The NYC Leadership Academy published the results of research regarding a sample of New York City school leaders who worked with a leadership coach for at least five years. The results are documented in this report, titled “Still in the Game: How Coaching Keeps Leaders in Schools and Making Progress.” The Leadership Academy also published an accompanying policy brief sharing recommendations for policy shifts that schools, districts and state education leaders can take to provide ongoing leadership coaching in their schools.
- On October 31, the Data Quality Campaign will host an online event at 12:00 pm Eastern. Titled “Using Data to Understand Educators’ Experiences,” this presentation will examine how states can collect and align data to better support their educator workforce and improve local leaders’ ability to recruit and retain diverse, high-quality teachers. You can register for this presentation here.
Courtesy NSBA Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of October 26, 2018