Learning Forward Advocacy
ESSA’s Title II funds for leadership and professional learning are in danger of being eliminated. The programs funded through Title II significantly impact teachers, school leaders, principals, and the students they serve. Visit our Title II actions web page for information, including a sample email, sample tweets, and tools for finding the contact information for your members of Congress. For assistance with talking points with your members of Congress, we have a set of ideas here.
Current update on Title II
It’s time to get out those phones and fire up those emails!
On August 23, the U.S. Senate passed both its FY 2019 Labor, Health Human Services and Education (L-HHS-Ed) and FY 2019 Defense funding bills. The Senate decided to pass these two traditionally separate bills as one “minibus” to move both bills more quickly toward final passage before the end of the fiscal year, September 30. The Senate bill funds Title II-A at last year’s level of $2.05 billion.
Even though the House has not yet considered its L-HHS-Ed funding bill for a vote, we understand that House and Senate Appropriations leadership is negotiating a final bill using the Senate passed bill and the House’s Committee-approved version. While the House bill would provide approximately $2 billion less in education spending than the Senate bill, both bills reject most of the cuts proposed by President Trump’s budget and both bills would level-fund Title II-A, providing $2.05 billion.
If these negotiations produce a final, conferenced bill, in order for it to become law both chambers would have to consider and pass that final bill and President Trump would have to sign it. With dwindling legislative working days before the September 30th fiscal deadline and differences related to money and policy to iron-out, it is not clear that Congress will be able to complete work on this bill on time. If Congressional negotiators reach an impasse or simply run out of time, it seems very likely that Congress will approve a temporary spending measure to keep the government open through the November election.
Not approving the L-HHS-Ed funding bill before September 30 and relying on a temporary spending resolution that could last weeks or months has real implications for school districts:
- It creates real uncertainty about funding for the next school year;
- It may impact school district efforts to develop and approve future budgets;
- It may cause school districts to pause, end or never start professional development programs for fear of lack of funding; and
- It may cause school districts to delay or reconsider plans to hire coaches and specialists.
Call to action: We are calling on all Learning Forward members to please contact your Representatives as soon as possible to urge them to pass by September 30 the final, conferenced version of the LHHS-Ed funding bill that funds Title II-A at $2.055 billion in FY 2019. The phone number for the Capitol switchboard is (202) 224-3121. A sample email/letter and a sample script for reaching out to House members by phone is included here.
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.
Please join Learning Forward in Washington, DC, on September 27, noon - 1:30 p.m. ET for a special Capitol Hill briefing: “Professional Learning: Practice and Impact.” This briefing will provide information for Congress, the Administration, and K-12 education stakeholders about the impact of Title II-A funds in schools and districts across the country. The event will bring together nationally recognized professional development practitioner experts to focus on how Title II-A supported initiatives in instructional coaching, mentoring, and team teaching are…Find out more »
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I love the emphasis on advocacy for our field – the sample templates Learning Forward shares to communicate with state reps regarding policy, the up-to-date info about policy and legislation that could impact our field. I also really appreciate that Learning Forward is the standard-bearer for professional learning standards and provides a framework that supports calibrated understanding of quality and how to strive for it.— Rhonda