Federal Advocacy & Weekly Policy Update

Congressional Update

House Appropriations Subcommittee Holds Hearing on FY21 Department of Education Budget

This week,the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing to learn more from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos regarding the administration’s FY21 Department of Education Budget.  In her opening statement, Chairwoman DeLauro (D-CT) criticized the administration’s proposed budget cuts, noting that this funding is desperately needed by children and students across the country. Ranking Member Cole (R-OK) noted that much of the proposed budget supports individualizing education for students. He went on to say that some of the bold changes proposed in the budget he agrees with but warned the Secretary that the elimination of ESSA programs into a combined block grant is not advisable. The archived video of the hearing and Secretary DeVos’ written testimony can be foundhere.

House Appropriations Subcommittee to Hold Hearing Regarding Childhood Poverty

The House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing (Tuesday, March 3 at 10am ET) titled “Reducing Childhood Poverty.”  Witnesses will include: Dolores Acevedo-Garcia(Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, Brandeis University), Autumn Burke (Assemblywoman, 62nd Assembly District, California State Assembly), Kathryn Edin (Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University), Irwin Garfinkel (Professor of Contemporary Urban Problems, Columbia University), and Matt Weidinger(Rowe Fellow, American Enterprise Institute). The hearing will be livestreamed here.

 House Education and Labor Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on the National Apprenticeship Act

The House Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee is holding a hearing titled “Reauthorizing the National Apprenticeship Act (NAA): Strengthening and Growing Apprenticeships for the 21st Century.”  The hearing was originally scheduled for February 27 but committee leaders rescheduled the discussion for March 4 at 10:15am ET.  The hearing is a precursor to expected bipartisan committee work to update the NAA, including by emphasizing high need areas, such as early childhood educators. We expect Chairman Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member Foxx (R-NC) to release draft apprenticeship legislation for public comment later this year.  Witnesses have not yet been announced.  The hearing will be livestreamedhere.

Administration Update

 Department of Education Announces Title IX Enforcement Initiative

The Department of Education announceda new Title IX enforcement initiative, led by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), to combat the rise of sexual assault in K-12 public schools. The Department said the “initiative will enhance OCR’s enforcement of Title IX in both elementary and secondary public schools and strengthen the ability of schools to respond to all incidents of sexual harassment and assault”.

USED Creates Guidance Document Portal

The Department of Educationannouncedthe creation of a new guidance portal aimed at making it “easy for the public and other stakeholders to locate the Department’s guidance documents.” Previously, guidance materials were only accessible through the individual webpages of the various offices of the Department.

Department of Education Forms Coronavirus Task Force

In response to growing concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus around the globe, and potential implications for spread of the virus within the United States, the Department of Education announced a Coronavirus task force, to be led by Deputy Secretary of Education Mick Zais. The task force is designed to coordinate the department’s response to any spread of the virus in U.S. schools. There is additional information on the coronavirus in the NSBA update section below.

Bills

 NSBA Update

NSBA Coronavirus Information:  NSBA has put together information on thecoronavirus. It can be found on the NSBA home page or you can go directly to it at nsba.org/resources/coronavirus. The page contains information to assist school board members prepare for the coronavirus.

Included is an NSBA guide that can help school districts with their preparedness efforts. The guide is-“COVID-2019: Preparing For Widespread Illness in Your School Community: A Legal Guide for School Leaders” and features prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery actions. We thank the National Association of School Nurses for its support and collaboration. More resources will be posted to the webpage as they become available and we will let you know as new information and tools are added. Also attached to this email are the BuyBoard resources sheet and School District Crisis and Emergency Management for a Potential Pandemic: FAQ

Additional resources include the  U.S. Department of Education Coronavirus Information web page which is now live at www.ed.gov/coronavirus. There is a Featured button from ED.gov that takes you to the page. You can also find information from the Centers for Disease Control at

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-for-schools.html

 

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House and Senate Education Bill Introductions

Thursday, February 27th, 2020

Following are the bills that were introduced in the MN Legislature today. We publish bills every day they are introduced and hope that you monitor these posts, as it keeps you updated and informed about the bills under consideration that may impact school boards and school districts across the state. Whether it is a new mandate, or more/less funding for certain programs it is important for you to know how these bills may impact your district.

House and Senate Education Finance and Policy Bill Introductions

For Weekly Legislative Updates See the Weekly Advocate

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House Education Bill Introductions

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Following are the bills that were introduced in the MN Legislature today. We publish bills every day they are introduced and hope that you monitor these posts, as it keeps you updated and informed about the bills under consideration that may impact school boards and school districts across the state. Whether it is a new mandate, or more/less funding for certain programs it is important for you to know how these bills may impact your district.

House Education Finance and Policy Bill Introductions

For Weekly Legislative Updates See the Weekly Advocate

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House and Senate Education Bill Introductions

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Following are the bills that were introduced in the MN Legislature today. We publish bills every day they are introduced and hope that you monitor these posts, as it keeps you updated and informed about the bills under consideration that may impact school boards and school districts across the state. Whether it is a new mandate, or more/less funding for certain programs it is important for you to know how these bills may impact your district.

House and Senate Education Finance and Policy Bill Introductions

For Weekly Legislative Updates See the Weekly Advocate

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School Finance Work Group Update

The School Finance Working Group met on Thursday, February 20, at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).

Old Business:

The working group heard from the special education subcommittee. Their recommendations revolved around three ideas that would reduce the funding pressure of the special education cross subsidy:

  • Improve the formula
  • Tuition billing
  • How to manage costs

New Business:

The South St. Paul Public Schools teams provided a case study to the group on how property tax equalization funding works in the state and more specifically in their school district.

Dave Webb, superintendent of the South St. Paul Schools described how the current use of the property tax system for funding school districts is not equitable. His presentation showed how it is inconsistent and outdated and harms many school districts families and students across the state. The state property tax system penalizes communities for having lower property wealth. Taxpayers with less property wealth in their community will pay 2 to 3 times more to raise the same amount of funding for their schools as a tax payer from a community that has more property wealth.

Minnesota students and families who live in low property wealth communities are impacted by the lack of opportunities in critical support services available in their school districts.  Kids are being harmed across our state because our lower property wealth communities often have fewer teachers, fewer opportunities and less access to critical support services due to unfair property tax funding. Minnesota currently measures all kids on the same academic scale, yet funding for school districts across the state isn’t equitable.  When the unfair equalization is fixed, either there will be no referenda, or it will be fully equalized so communities in school districts with lower levels of property wealth are not highly harmed by having fewer teachers and fewer opportunities and less access to critical support services for their children.

In the past some legislation has slightly improved equalization. However, the funding amount directed towards equalization is not sufficient enough to solve the problem.

The final presentation, Commissioner Ricker introduced the work group’s issue #5, Pupil Support Staff to Student Ratios.  She introduced two healthcare professionals who have established and worked in school-based health clinics across Minnesota.  The purpose of school based health clinics is to bridge the gap between health and education which will achieve health equity as well of education.

What Next:

The next meeting will be March 26 from 4 -7:00 p.m. at the Department of Education.  The agenda will include future case studies and work on emerging proposals.  The work group is looking to have their proposal finalized by the end of August and the Commissioner asked for members to host listening sessions around the state as they are beginning to generate interest and support.

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Federal Advocacy & Weekly Policy Update

Congressional Update

            Secretary DeVos to Testify about FY21 Education Budget Request

Secretary DeVos is scheduled to testify next week, before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. The Secretary will be the only witness and her testimony will focus on the president’s fiscal year 2021 budget request, which asked Congress to cut the Department of Education’s budget by 8.5% and to consolidate Title I and many other Elementary and Secondary Education Act programs into a single block grant. MSBA and NSBA strongly opposes the president’s proposed budget cuts and consolidation plan and we will work with members of the House and Senate to oppose it. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 27 (10:00 AM EST) andwill be livestreamed here.

House Education Committee to Host Apprenticeship Hearing

The House Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommitteehas scheduled a hearing titled “Reauthorizing the National Apprenticeship Act: Strengthening and Growing Apprenticeships for the 21st Century.” The hearing is a precursor to expected bipartisan committee work to update the NAA, including emphasizing high need areas, such as early childhood educators. We expect Chairman Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member Foxx (R-NC) to release draft apprenticeship legislation for public comment later this year. The hearing will be held on Thursday, February 27 (10:15 AM EST).  Witnesses have not yet been announced.  The hearing will be livestreamed here.

Administration Update

FCC Seeks Public Comment about Net Neutrality

This week, the FCC invited public comment on aspects of the agency’s Net Neutrality decision, which were overturned by a recent court decision. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals remanded key elements of the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality. In particular, the court decision said the agency must consider how the FCC’s decision affects public safety, Lifeline service, and broadband infrastructure. The rulemaking provides an opportunity for school districts to urge the FCC to provide protections to ensure that schools and students are not harmed by carrier decisions to block websites, “throttle” services, and preference their own or their partners’ online content. Public comments must be submitted on or before March 30, 2020.

 

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House and Senate Education Bill Introductions

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

House and Senate Education Finance and Policy Bill Introductions

For Weekly Legislative Updates See the Weekly Advocate

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