Delivered via email: August 16, 2022
Although Congress is currently in summer recess, a review of recent federal public policy issues affecting K-12 education and employment follows. Points of interest include a complimentary Title IX federal advocacy webinar and new guidance on supporting students with disabilities, teacher retention, and child nutrition.
COSSBA TO HOST FREE FEDERAL ADVOCACY WEBINAR ON AUGUST 18
The Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA) of which IASB is a member, is hosting an hour-long Federal Advocacy Webinar for school leaders on August 18 at noon. Experts at Bose Public Affairs will present on the proposed Title IX regulations and their impact on education in the U.S. Registration is complimentary for members but limited. Visit the website for registration details.
INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILIITES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA)
In July, the Department of Education’s (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) released new guidance intended to help public elementary and secondary schools fulfill their responsibilities to meet the needs of students with disabilities and avoid the discriminatory use of student discipline. The new resources reflect the concern that some students with disabilities are not receiving the supports and services necessary to address their educational needs, including their disability-based behavior. The resources include an intensive report on supporting students with disabilities and avoiding discriminatory use of student discipline under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act Of 1973 and an accompanying fact sheet; questions and answers addressing the needs of children with disabilities and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s (IDEA) discipline provisions; a guide for stakeholders; and a letter from Secretary Cardona to educators, school leaders, parents, and students. View the press release and resources online.
TEACHER-PRINCIPAL TRAINING AND RECRUITMENT WEBINAR
In late July, the Hunt Institute hosted a webinar entitled “Why Educators Are Leaving the Profession and How to Stem the Tide.” The conversation included educators who left the classroom as well as school system and state leaders who are working to increase support for educators, boost retention, and rebuild the workforce. The conversation started out by addressing many of the issues that happened during the Covid-19 pandemic. The challenges that panelists highlighted were the immediate move to virtual learning and the lack of a coherent strategy to deal with the pandemic at the state level or national level. Several panelists described the shortage numbers as a crisis, adding that ramifications have likely not sunk in yet for policymakers or the broader public. Each panelist agreed that while salary is important, the broader issue is respect for the teaching workforce and the profession in general. Teachers must be treated as professionals and equals who are valued members of a team, as opposed to simply workers doing their job. The panel wrapped up with a discussion of what policy solutions states and communities should be looking at. Several panelists discussed the benefits of Master-Teacher mentoring programs as well as “grow-your own” and apprentice teacher programs. An archived recording of the webinar is available.
On July 20, a comprehensive, evidence-driven reauthorization of federal child nutrition programs was introduced. The Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act (HR. 8450) builds on Congress’ work to expand school and summer meal programs, increase access to federal nutrition programs like the special Supplemental Nutrition Program for women, infants, and children (WIC), and prevent child hunger. A fact sheet on HR 8450 and a full section by section summary of the bill has been posted online. here.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE HOSTS KEEP KIDS FED ACT WEBINAR
Earlier this summer, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) hosted a webinar for state agencies providing an overview of provisions included in the recently passed Keep Kids Fed Act, as well as additional resources that will be available into the 2022-23 school year. A recording of the webinar can be accessed on the USDA website.
This Federal Legislative Report was written with assistance from the Consortium of State School Boards Associations.