Editor’s Note: Education Weekly is a weekly version of POLITICO Pro’s daily education policy newsletter, Morning Education. POLITICO Pro is a political intelligence platform that combines the news you need with tools you can use to take action on the biggest stories of the day. Act on the news with POLITICO Pro.
CONGRESS ON BOARD – This week could make or break some of Democrats’ most radical education proposals, including universal kindergarten for the nation’s 3- and 4-year-olds and free community college, as the House prepares to pass two huge bills bill this week: the Democrats’ bipartisan infrastructure framework and social spending program.
– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday evening that if the debate on the infrastructure plan begins today, she plans to table the infrastructure bill on Thursday. Moderate lawmakers, meanwhile, threatened to derail the Democratic spending plan, called the Build Back Better Act, if the separate and bipartite infrastructure measure is not adopted this week. And Progressives told reporters last week they would vote against the infrastructure bill unless the Senate has already approved the reconciliation deal.
– All of this has left Pelosi and his management team still in the race to lock in the votes for both bills, our Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle write. “With only three votes to spare, Democratic leaders are counting on the White House to show even more power in their already vast operation.”
IT’S MONDAY SEPT. 27. WELCOME TO WEEKLY EDUCATION. HAVE WE MEETED YET? Let’s have a coffee. Ping me [email protected] to discuss. Send advice to my fellow Juan Perez Jr. at [email protected] and Michael Stratford at [email protected]. And follow us on Twitter: @Morning_Edu and @POLITICOPro.
QUESTIONS REMAIN ABOUT THE UNIVERSAL PRE-K – While negotiations with the Senate could still lead to changes to the final bill before it reaches President Joe Biden’s office, the House Democrats’ Build Back Better package currently includes $ 450 billion for the childcare and universal kindergarten. Even after the bill is passed, education experts say many details will not be clear until the federal government releases regulations and guidelines for implementing those policies.
Establish a “coherent system ensuring universal access for all children is going to take a lot of coordination and collaboration, ”said Abbie Lieberman, senior policy analyst at New America.
– The proposal, which Biden officials touted as a one-time investment in a generation, aims to make preschool education accessible to all students. The same could be said about how this might apply to pre-K providers, as the bill states that preschool places in the program will need to be distributed fairly among child care providers, Head programs. Start and schools. A provision specifying the importance of blended delivery – the ability to deliver universal preschool education through various providers, not just public schools – was an important part of the bill, Lieberman said.
– “It is important that he include this line on having a blended delivery system, because there is simply no space right now in public schools to add pre-kindergarten to each school. public, ”she said. “And I don’t think that’s what most parents want.”
– How it could work: “The Congress schedule is ambitious, but doable,” Lieberman said. “This is a federal-state partnership, so the federal government provides 100 percent of the funding for the first two years, then gradually 10 percent each year until 2028. … The idea is that states are able to maintain part of these programs on their own.
HOW HEAD START JOINS – In return for federal funding, states must agree to prioritize underfunded communities to ensure children have access to pre-K, including ensuring that Head Start seats are filled. Universal pre-K will also be hosted within the Department of Health and Human Services, as Head Start already is, instead of the Department of Education (although it will still get information from that agency).
– “A lot of it revolves around the Head Start model,” said Tommy Sheridan, deputy director of the National Head Start Association. “We have to make sure that the Head Start pattern is sewn into the fabric of this new system. “
– The bill builds on some elements of Head Start that have already proven to be effective, Sheridan said, such as its quality standards and requirement of 1,020 hours of preschool education per year, or roughly a full school year. “If this bill is passed as it is currently drafted,” he added, “it will be something very good for probably millions of children and families, especially as it prioritizes children and families with the lowest incomes and greatest need.
– Another important provision of the bill would resolve the wage disparity between preschool providers, who are often paid less than their Kindergarten to Grade 12 counterparts. Compensation is a long-standing problem in the pre-K field, leading to worker shortages and high turnover. “We have to make sure we’re creating career paths for people to keep growing,” Sheridan said. “But if that scale just means you go to Head Start and then go to the K-12 system – it’s going to be disruptive, it’s going to be expensive too.
MOST AFT K-12 MEMBERS SUPPORT VACCINE MANDATES – About 90 percent of members of the American Federation of Teachers are vaccinated against the coronavirus, and two-thirds of them support vaccination mandates, according to a survey.
– About 67 percent of Kindergarten to Grade 12 members said they were in favor of requiring all school employees to be vaccinated unless they have a valid medical or religious exemption, while 73% support the requirement for vaccines or a weekly Covid-19 test. Support for a vaccination mandate exceeds 60 percent in all parts of the country, according to the union. Educators of color were more in favor of mandates, with 78 percent of black members and 73 percent of Hispanic members in favor.
DISTANCE LEARNING ON THE RISE – Between July and September, the number of districts in the Center on Reinventing Public Education’s national review of 100 large urban school systems offering distance learning more than doubled, from 41 to 94. While some states allow distance learning this school year, other states are under pressure from districts and families to allow more distance learning options.
– To date, Burbio has identified just under 2,200 in-person school closures (up from just over 2,000 last week) in 539 districts in 43 states. About 74% of the closures in the past two weeks involved virtual schools, while the remaining quarter had to close entirely.
22 ATTORNEYS GENERAL URGES CARDONA TO FIX THE LOAN REMISSION PROGRAM – Led by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, the attorneys general sent a letter to the Department of Education urging the agency to correct the civil service loan forgiveness program, which promises educators the forgiveness of their loans. students in exchange for eligible work as civil servants. The MAs argued that the state of the program – nearly all loan cancellation applicants are ultimately turned down – “compromises the ability of our states to recruit and retain” teachers, nurses, public advocates. , social workers, first responders and other professionals.
– “Without loan forgiveness, many people cannot pay off their significant student debt while taking care of themselves and their families with civil service salaries. they wrote. “The inaccessibility of the PSLF is particularly damaging given that many states are already experiencing severe shortages in critical areas of public service, such as education and medicine. “
CARDONA, BECERRA HEADS TO HELP THE SENATE – The Senate HELP committee will hold a hearing Thursday at 10 a.m. that will focus on school safety and reopening efforts. The hearing will include testimony from Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
– Mehul Doshi joins ACT as Director of Products and Technology. Doshi joins ACT from Foot Locker, where he was global vice president of mobile and digital experiences.
– “I need an army”: across America, schools crowd for their Covid tests: The New York Times
– San Jose state president under scrutiny in athletic trainer sexual abuse case: The Mercury News
– Covid-19 vaccination warrant for New York City teachers blocked by federal judge: The Wall Street Journal