Learning Forward Advocacy
Advocacy update: November 13, 2018
Midterm elections are now in the rearview mirror and Learning Forward advocates can begin to plan for the 2020 policy agenda and appropriations process. With the Democrats gaining control of the House, current House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA) will assume the Chair come January. He replaces Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who is expected to return as Ranking Member in the new Congress. The Committee will look very different next year with at least 7 to 8 Republicans and 2 Democrats not returning and Democrats occupying a majority of the seats. In the Senate, HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will likely return to his post next year as will Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA). The only Committee member definitely not returning is Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who is retiring.
The new split in Congressional control may produce gridlock on education authorization legislation but could still allow for some collaboration on workforce initiatives. Much of the energy may be located in the House, where Bobby Scott is expected to lead a number of oversight hearings and investigations on hot-button topics including ESSA implementation, school violence and college sexual assault standards. On the legislative front, Scott plans to re-introduce the Aim Higher Act, the bill he crafted and introduced this year to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA).
One area where there may be bipartisan interest (as well as interest from the White House) and real passage potential is in the workforce area. Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), who is in line to chair the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and the Workforce, expressed interest last year in working with her Republican counterpart on the Subcommittee, Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), on reinvigorating the Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship program. The White House’s 2017 Executive Order on apprenticeships suggests that this could be something that moves.
Appropriations: Long-serving Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) becomes chair of the full House committee in the new year. While the Subcommittee Chairs and Ranking Members will not be decided for a few weeks, it is very likely that Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will chair the Labor HHS Education Subcommittee. On the Senate side, Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) will remain in charge. Beyond Shelby, positions are not yet known.
The federal budget will be an immediate issue for the new Congress and the President as the current spending caps deal will sunset at the end of this fiscal year. Without a new deal, across-the-board spending cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act would kick-in. If a new deal can be reached, which will be a heavy lift given the growing federal budget deficit and the President’s interest in 5% spending cuts for all federal agencies, the outlook for k-12 spending is positive.
ICYMI: Capitol Hill Briefing
Learning Forward’s Capitol Hill briefing on September 27 was a great success as we shared data at the national, state, district, and school levels providing evidence that professional learning is making a positive impact on teacher practice and student outcomes.
We encourage all educators to watch the briefing and to join us in documenting and providing evidence as we ready for next year.
Evidence, evidence, evidence
Evidence of impact is not optional. From your ESSA plans to Title II to talking with your district superintendent, everyone wants to know when professional development is making an impact and how you know. Learning Forward is here to help. We invite you to join your peers from across the U.S. to share your successes here.
Tell us what Title II funds in your school or district, and most important, what outcomes you see as a result. Outcomes might include improved graduation rates or assessment scores, improvements for specific populations of students, or other indicators that students are experiencing more meaningful learning.
A New Vision For Professional Learning: A Toolkit to Help
States Use ESSA to Advance Learning and ImprovementSystems. This toolkit helps leaders leverage professional learning as
an essential tool in overcoming systemic inequities and guaranteeing
excellence for all.
Agents for Learning Toolkit: A Guide to Amplifying Teacher
Voice and Stakeholder Engagement. This toolkit suggests ways to cultivate teacher voice and agency in policy decisions and the implementation of professional learning.
Webinar series: Speak up for Title II
Learning Forward hosted a series of advocacy webinars designed to help educators build their advocacy skills. Each free webinar provides background information, the legislative status of Title II, and offers practical steps for how you can engage in this critical fight.
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