Learning Forward Advocacy
Thank you for standing up for professional learning!
On December 5, 2023, more than 3300 people stood up for professional learning on advocacy day at the Learning Forward annual conference. This is a stand we must all make every day. Remember to collect and share stories of the impact of professional learning in your school or learning environment. Learning Forward wants to hear from you.
Call to Action - Save Title II-A
Members of Congress will return after Labor Day and appropriations and continued funding to keep the government open are going to be the issues front and center for every member of Congress. Now is not the time to be complacent. We need to remain vigilant in our efforts to save Title II-A. On July 18, Fred Brown issued a call to action to all educators to help save Title II-A. If you are reading this message, please take a moment to send a message to your members of Congress. Press the blue button below to get started.
Learning Forward Advocacy
Powered by Title II
Communities & members
When Congress returned to work in January, all members knew that fiscal year 2024 funding remained unresolved and that it faced another countdown to the federal government running out of money. Back in November, Congress passed a temporary spending bill to keep the federal government operating but that set two different deadlines for two different groups of federal agency funding bills – January 19 and February 2, with all Department of Education programs falling into the February 2 bucket. Now, one week before the first deadline, Congress has still not passed any of the 12 annual funding bills, and must either pass yet another short-term spending resolution to keep the lights on or shut down significant parts of the federal government come January 19.
The good news is that congressional leaders have made some progress. House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, and Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, announced last weekend that they had reached an agreement on overall fiscal year 2024 spending levels for defense and non-defense discretionary programs, the latter of which includes all federal education programs such as Title II-A. Even better is that the deal hewed to last year’s original agreement between Schumer and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy that called for a slight increase for defense programs and essentially flat funding for non-defense discretionary programs.
The bad news is that the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) has now weighed-in against the deal. This powerful group of hard right House Republicans holds the balance of power in a House where Republicans have just a narrow 2-vote majority. Over the past few days, several HFC members came out against the new Johnson-Schumer deal arguing that it spends too much federal money. Other HFC members demanded that Congress approve a tough border security measure, which cannot pass the Senate, as a quid pro quo for their votes on the new spending deal. To underscore their anger at the deal and their power, HFC shut down the House floor on Wednesday, effectively barring further progress on moving fiscal year 2024 funding bills.
Congress’ next moves are uncertain. There will be an effort to buy time by passing another short-term spending resolution but it is unclear if Speaker Johnson has enough votes in his Caucus to pass even that. Additionally, if he relies on Democratic votes – as did his predecessor – to muscle such a measure through the House, he could face the end of his speakership.
While this debate continues, Learning Forward continues to press for at least level funding of Title II-A. We are continuing to show Congress how valuable professional learning is to student achievement and to stem attrition in educator ranks.
We can use your help. Please take a few minutes to share your story about what Title II-A means to you. We will make sure that Capitol Hill hears what you have to say.
National Harbor, Maryland, December 8 — Learning Forward’s 2023 Annual Conference wrapped up just a few hours ago, but educators’ enthusiasm will live on as they apply new learning about best practices for evidence-based professional learning that leads to improved student outcomes.
Over 3,300 educators, professional learning experts, and policy makers participated in four days of interactive learning about how to respond to the growing and changing needs of students.
On Tuesday, December 5, professional learning for educators took center stage, with conference goers’ massive show of support: most of the 3,300 conference attendees wore blue t-shirts with the message that “Professional Learning IS… stronger schools, it IS teacher retention, and it IS student success.”
“This is a great moment for us all to stand up for professional learning,” Frederick Brown, Learning Forward President & CEO, announced from the stage, calling on educators to show their communities and representatives how coaching, collaboration with colleagues, and other forms of high-quality professional learning are making a difference in their schools. Brown and Melinda George, Learning Forward’s chief policy officer, then asked that auditorium lights be brought up to showcase the T-shirt Tuesday rally.
“When the house lights came on and I could see a beautiful sea of blue t-shirts, it touched my heart and strengthened my resolve. Our movement to expand high-quality educator professional learning worldwide now has deeper roots than ever before, and students will be the beneficiaries,” George said. “Funding for professional learning, especially Title II-A in the United States, has never been more critical.”
“Educators know that high-quality professional learning is essential, but we need everyone to know this and hear about how it works in schools as an accelerant for equitable school improvement and student achievement,” George said. “We are ready to tell this story on a much bigger stage.”
Learning Forward captured numerous stories of impact from district, school, and professional learning leaders at its recent Annual Conference. Look for these stories from the field as we publish them on our blog and in The Learning Professional, in upcoming months. If you have a story to share, please contact us.
Media Contact: Gail Paul, firstname.lastname@example.org, (513) 379-8153
About Learning Forward
Learning Forward leads the field in making clear connections between high-quality professional learning and student success. As a champion for highly effective professional learning and a catalyst for change, Learning Forward demonstrates evidence and research that inform professional learning decisions. We produce, synthesize, and curate key research and reports that inform best practices. A membership association, Learning Forward provides a combination of publicly available and members-only content and professional services that assist classroom, school, and system leaders in solving their unique problems of practice. Information about the organization, including Standards for Professional Learning, membership, services, and products, is available at www.learningforward.org.
Learning Forward’s Powered by Title II campaign website puts all of the information, tools, and advocacy tutorials in one easy to access online location to enable educator advocates reach their Members of Congress and help convince them to support more Title II funding. On this site, advocates will find:
- The latest news on Title II
- Background facts, stories, research, and data on Title II
- A storytelling tool to assist you in researching and explaining how Title II supports your school district
- Sample letters, talking points, tweets and more to support your advocacy
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.
This webinar, originally created for our Virtual Advocacy Day, includes advocacy strategies and tips that are applicable to any advocacy effort. Watch to hone your skills, build confidence, and get excited about being an advocate.