Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update

June 24, 2019

Special Update on E-Rate and Broadband

FCC is Considering a Cap on the Universal Service Fund

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking(NPRM)    proposing an overall cap on the Universal Service Fund (USF) and a sub-cap on the E-Rate and Rural Health Care programs. E-Rate is a crucial program in aiding schools and libraries to connect to high-speed broadband that is important for learning in today’s modern world. This proposal could force the four programs funded under USF, including E-Rate, to battle each other for funds. The FCC is calling for comments by a July 15 deadline with reply comments due thirty days later. Due to the summer recess, NSBA has joined other organizations calling for an extension of time for comments until September so teachers, librarians, and other educators on summer break can respond to the NPRM. However, NSBA is preparing an advocacy campaign to get as many comments in as possible for the upcoming deadlines. In addition to requesting the comment period extension, NSBA has joined with other organizations that are part of the Education and Library Networks Coalition (EdLiNC) to express strong concern over the proposal. E-Rate is a highly successful program. Placing a cap on the overall USF and sub-capping E-Rate with Rural Health creates several potentially dangerous scenarios for these important programs. NSBA will be providing additional information on this issue and the campaign around it in the coming days.

 Congressional Update

House Passes Fiscal Year 2020 Education Spending Bill

Earlier this week, the House passed (226-203) a “minibus” spending package that includes substantial funding increases for education, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s major programs.Unfortunately, the Senate appropriations process remains stalled. A meeting this week between Senate Republican leaders and the White House yielded no agreement on overall spending levels, which will further delay the body’s work. The Senate process will not move forward until Senate Republicans and the White House agree on aggregate spending levels. The path forward is very uncertain at this time, even as the end of the current fiscal year (September 30) draws ever closer. While these negotiations continue, NSBA plans to continue educating members of the Senate about school boards’ fiscal year 2020 funding priorities, including increases in the Every Student Succeeds Act’s major formula programs.

House Education and Labor Committee Holds Final Higher Education Hearing

On Wednesday, the House Education and Labor Committee held its fifth and final hearing regarding the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, titled “Innovation to Improve Equity: Exploring High-Quality Pathways to a College Degree”.  The hearing covered topics such as: dual enrollment and early college high school, how higher education institutions are helping to ensure completion for the most vulnerable students, what actions higher education institutions have taken to work with high schools to ensure college readiness, how working with local businesses to create internships or earn while you learn opportunities has assisted with graduation rates, and how individualized counseling of students helps to keep them on track for graduation. Ranking Member Foxx (R-NC) said that bold reform is needed to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to prosper and that we need to reimagine antiquated concepts to ensure success.  She went on to say that we need to broaden our ideas of what postsecondary education looks like in order to meet the needs of today’s students. Chairman Scott (D-VA) noted in his closing statement that the hearing marks nearly 20 hours of testimony over the past few months with regard to how Congress should update the Higher Education Act. He cited several prominent themes from the hearings: the federal government needs to invest to make higher education more affordable; state authorizers and accreditors have to do a better job in ensuring a high quality education; federal leaders need to provide students the support they need to complete their education and must invest in chronically underfunded institutions. He also noted that innovation cannot come at the expense of quality and equity. Written statement of the committee leaders and witnesses as well as a video archive of the hearing are available here. NSBA’s HEA work continues to focus on strengthening the law’s educator recruitment, preparation, and retention provisions.

Administration Updates

Department of Education Releases Final Guidance on Title I Supplement Not Supplant

The Department of Education released a non-regulatory informational documentfor Supplement Not Supplant under Title I, Part A of the ESEA. The document is designed to help states and school districts understand the intent of Title I’s supplement not supplant requirement and how to comply with it. The Department also released a summary responseto the comments that were submitted as part of the public comment period for the draft informational document.

Department of Education Announces New Grant Applications

This week the Department published a correction notice in the Federal Register on a discretionary grant program for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education:

  • “Applications for New Awards: School Climate Transformation Grant Program – Local Educational Agency Grants”– On June 10, 2019, USED published a notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year 2019 for the School Climate Transformation Grant Program. This notice omitted a phrase in Absolute Priority 2. This notice corrects this language, as well as identical language in Absolute Priority 4. The deadline for applications remains the same, July 22, 2019. Further information can be found here.

The Department also published notice about two discretionary grant programs for the Institute of Education Sciences:

  • “Applications for New Awards: Education Research and Special Education Research Grant Programs”–The Institute of Education Sciences seeks to expand knowledge and understanding of: (1) Developmental and school readiness outcomes for infants and toddlers with or at risk for a disability; (2) Education outcomes for all learners from early childhood education through postsecondary and adult education; and (3) Employment and wage outcomes when relevant. The Institute will conduct eight research competitions in fiscal year 2020 through two of its centers: the National Center for Education Research and the National Center for Special Education Research. These competitions will focus on: education research, education research training, education research and development centers, statistical and research methodology in education, systematic replication in education, special education research, special education research training, and systematic replication in special education. Further information, including when each of the applications are due, is available here.
  • “Applications for New Awards: Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems” – The SLDS program awards grants to state educational agencies to design, develop, and implement statewide longitudinal data systems. The program is designed to help states create comprehensive P-20W systems that ensure accurate and timely data, increase efficiency of data to be analyzed to support continuous improvement, facilitate research, among others. The estimated available funds to support the first year of grant funding totals $26,132,000. Applications are due by September 17, 2019 and further information is available here.

Notable K-12 Bills

 

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Apply for Behavioral Health and Wellness Grant

The Minnesota Departments of Human Services and Management and Budget want to partner with school districts or collaboratives of schools to offer a social emotional learning-based curriculum for middle schoolers to promote positive mental health and prevent substance use. Programming would start in fall 2020. The state will cover the costs to implement the curriculum for four years (from school year 2020-21 to 2023-24), including staff training and reimbursement of teacher or substitute training time, curriculum materials, and technical assistance.

Apply for the Behavioral Health and Wellness Grant.

Only a limited number of schools can be supported, so districts are encouraged to apply as early as July 15, 2019. As soon as districts apply, state staff will schedule a site visit. The application is expected to officially remain open until November 15, but the state may close the application process earlier, depending on the number of applicants.

The curriculum, called Life Skills Training (LST), is offered to middle school students over three consecutive years (6th-8th or 7th-9th grade). LST works by helping to develop students’ social and self-management skills. The curriculum is flexible and can be taught in a range of different existing courses, including health, physical education, home room, foundational courses, etc. LST is also aligned with CASEL’s five social emotional-learning competencies (SEL) and may be beneficial for schools looking to implement evidence-based SEL models.

If you have questions or want to learn more, please email Lindsey Thompson.

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Federal Department of Education Announces New Grant Applications

The United States Department of Education invited applications for two competitive grants offered the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and one grant offered by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services:

  • School Climate Transformation Grant Program – School districts may seek funding for implementing a multi-tiered system of support for improving school climate. The Department will prioritize support for certain communities that will benefit from implementation of this system, including rural communities, Tribal communities, and LEAs that are in Qualified Opportunity Zones. This discretionary grant program has a total of $40,000,000 in estimated available funds, contingent upon the availability of funds and quality of applications. Applications are due by July 22, 2019 and further information is available here.
  • State Tribal Education Partnership (STEP), Tribal Education Agency Development Discretionary Grant Program (STEP Development)”– The STEP program seeks to: “(1) Promote Tribal self-determination in education; (2) Improve the academic achievement of Indian children and youth; and (3) Promote the coordination and collaboration of Tribal educational agencies (TEAs) with State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) to meet the unique education and culturally related academic needs of Indian students.” Applications are due by August 12, 2019 and further information is available here.
  • Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities, Doctoral Training Consortia Associated with High-Intensity Needs”– The program seeks to: “(1) help address State-identified needs for personnel preparation in special education, early intervention, related services, and regular education to work with children, including infants and toddlers, with disabilities; and (2) ensure that those personnel have the necessary skills and knowledge, derived from practices that have been determined through scientifically based research and experience, to be successful in serving those children.” The estimated available funds for this program total $3,900,000. Applications are due July 29, 2019 and further information is available here.

 

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Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update

Congressional Update

House Begins Debating U.S. Department of Education’s FY20 Budget

The House began debate, this week, on an omnibus spending bill (H.R.2740). The bill would increase the Department of Education’s fiscal year 2020 budget, including by providing new funding for ESSA, Title I and IDEA Part B. Unlike the House, the Senate’s appropriations work has been stalled over the absence of an agreement about the overall level of spending that should be established for fiscal year 2020. Congress and the White House have been unable to decide whether the spending caps established in 2011 should be raised for the next fiscal year. The House choose to move ahead using the spending levels established for the last fiscal year, but Senate leaders paused their work until a decision could be made about the caps.

House Education and Labor Announces Higher Education Innovation Hearing

The House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearingon Wednesday, June 19 focused on innovation in higher education. MSBA is closely following the HEA debate, given the law’s provisions focused on educator recruitment, preparation and retention.  NSBA is working closely with other national K-12 groups to ask Congress to strengthen the HEA’s educator-focused provisions to help address teacher and leader shortages, especially in high need fields like special education.

Notable K-12 Bills

  • R.3220To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to allow certain institutions to use geographic preference for procurement of certain foods, and for other purposes.Sponsor:Rep. Pingree, Chellie [D-ME-1]
  • R.3205To amend title 14, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, in coordination with the Secretary of Education, to establish programs for the purpose of improving the mathematics and scientific knowledge and skills of elementary and secondary school students and faculty members, and for other purposes.Sponsor:Rep. Kaptur, Marcy [D-OH-9]
  • R.3192To add suicide prevention resources to school identification cards.Sponsor:Rep. Correa, J. Luis [D-CA-46]
  • R.3180To improve the identification and support of children and families who experience trauma.Sponsor:Rep. Davis, Danny K. [D-IL-7]
  • 1782A bill to add suicide prevention resources to school identification cards.Sponsor:Sen. Kennedy, John [R-LA]
  • 1770A bill to improve the identification and support of children and families who experience trauma.Sponsor:Sen. Durbin, Richard J. [D-IL]

 

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State looks to partner with school districts on social emotional learning-based curriculum

Health-Wellness-Logo

The Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget are looking to partner with school districts or collaboratives of schools to offer a social emotional learning-based curriculum for middle schoolers to promote positive mental health and prevent substance use.

Programming would start in fall 2020. The state will cover the costs to implement the curriculum for four years (from school year 2020-21 to 2023-24), including staff training and reimbursement of teacher or substitute training time, curriculum materials, and technical assistance.

Learn more and apply at https://mn.gov/mmb/behavioral-wellness.

Only a limited number of schools can be supported, so districts are encouraged to apply as early as July 15, 2019. As soon as districts apply, state staff will schedule a site visit. The application is expected to officially remain open until November 15, but the state may close the application process earlier depending on the number of applicants.

The curriculum, called Life Skills Training (LST), is offered to middle school students over three consecutive years (sixth-eighth grade or seventh-ninth grade). The curriculum works by helping to develop students’ social and self-management skills. The curriculum is flexible and can be taught in a range of different existing courses, including health, physical education, home room, foundational courses, etc.

LST is also aligned with CASEL’s five social emotional learning competencies (SEL) and may be beneficial for schools looking to implement evidence-based SEL models.

Direct questions to Lindsey Thompson at Lindsey.Thompson@state.mn.us.

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MPCA hosting meetings to discuss Volkswagen settlement funds

VW-Settlement-Logo

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is hosting a series of information meetings around the state to discuss the Volkswagen settlement in Minnesota and to seek input on how the state should invest in the next round of funds.

In 2016, Volkswagen and the federal government settled allegations that VW violated the federal Clean Air Act. As part of the settlement, states are eligible to receive funds to pay part of the cost of projects to reduce emissions from diesel vehicles and to install electric-vehicle charging stations. Minnesota’s share of the settlement is $47 million. In 2018, the MPCA finalized Minnesota’s plan for using the first phase (2018-2019) of funds to improve the state’s air quality.

States are receiving funds to reduce diesel pollution caused by vehicles violating air emission standards. Funds can be spent to replace diesel vehicles and equipment and install electric vehicle charging stations.

Revisit how the settlement could provide grants for school buses from an MSBA Advocate update from March 2018.

The Volkswagen settlement meetings are schedule for:

  • Tuesday, June 4 (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. OR 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — Marshall Lyon County Library, 201 C Street, Marshall
  • Wednesday, June 5 (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. OR 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ) — Wood Lake Meeting Center, 210 Wood Lake Drive SE, Rochester
  • Wednesday, June 12 (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. OR 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — Bemidji State University, Bridgeman Hall 100, 1512 Birchmont Drive NE, Bemidji
  • Thursday, June 13 (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. OR 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — MPCA Duluth Office, 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400, Duluth
  • Monday, June 17 (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), 2001 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis
  • Tuesday, June 25 (6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) — Dakota County Burnhaven Library, 1101 West County Road 42, Burnsville

Direct questions to the MPCA at info.pca@state.mn.us or 800-657-3864.

See www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/VW-SettlementMeetings-June2019.pdf or www.pca.state.mn.us/vw for more information.

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PELSB waives posting requirement for internal hires seeking out-of-field-permission

pelsb

The Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) recently waived the posting requirement for internal hires seeking out-of-field-permission until the board revises Minnesota Rules part 8710.0320.

Visit www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/PELSB-Resolution-June2019.pdf to view PELSB’s complete resolution.

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