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

 

About mnmsba

The Minnesota School Boards Association, a leading advocate for public education, supports, promotes and strengthens the work of public school boards.
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