Both Houses of Congress are back in session – and a final decision on $2 billion in Title IIA professional development funding, which both President Trump and the House sought to eliminate, continues to hang in the balance.

The current temporary spending resolution, which funds all federal agencies and programs, expires on January 19.

Two major sticking points in clinching a final deal on spending are: 1) Whether to increase the very low overall spending caps (imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2013), which would provide more money for all federal agencies and programs; and 2) how to allocate any new dollars between defense and domestic programs like education.

More money from a higher caps deal will likely lead to more money available for education spending, potentially preventing the elimination of Title IIA. Once Congress reaches a deal on overall spending caps, we anticipate that it will take another month of negotiations until it completes work on funding levels for each individual program. Thus, President’s Day may become the new end-point for FY2018 spending decisions.

This new deadline provides a 5-week window to remind Congress how critical Title IIA is for improving teacher practice and student learning in all of our schools and districts. It is vital that Congress hears this information as Title IIA will be vying for attention along with every other federal program plus other key issues like DACA, natural disaster emergency spending and other domestic priorities.

So, what should you do? Please visit Learning Forward’s advocacy page and make it a priority to take at least one action (call, tweet or email!) to contact your members of Congress every week. It takes only a few minutes but making sure that Title II remains at the front of their spending priorities is critical.

About the author

Melinda leads Learning Forward’s national and state policy agenda as well as strategic partnerships to ensure collaboration and build support for great teaching and learning.