AF Weekly Tip Sheet: Policy and Advocacy (6/22)

Below is the latest America Forward “Tip Sheet,” a weekly update on Federal activity related to education, workforce development, and other priorities of the America Forward Coalition.

House Education and Labor Committee Hearing on Impact of COVID-19

On Monday, June 15, the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing titled “Budget Costs and Lost Learning: Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Public Education.” Topics of discussion included anticipated budget shortfalls for the next fiscal year, the inequitable impact of COVID-19 on low-income and minority students, the digital divide, and the challenges inherent in bringing students back to school in the Fall. A recording of the hearing can be found here.

Supreme Court Rejects Effort to End DACA Program

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, rejected efforts by the Trump Administration to “wind down” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which covers approximately 650,000 people in the United States. In their ruling, the majority found that “the administration did not follow procedures required by law, and did not properly weigh how ending the program would affect those who had come to rely on its protections against deportation, and the ability to work legally,” according to the Washington Post.


Last week, Senate Republicans introduced the JUSTICE Act to provide “long-term solutions focused on police reform, accountability and transparency, while also promoting efforts to find solutions to systemic issues affecting people of color such as education and health disparities,” according to a press release from Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), one of the key architects of the bill. More information on the specific provisions of the legislation can be found at the end of the press release, here. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), announced he plans to bring the bill to the Senate floor as early as this week.

The introduction of the JUSTICE Act came just under a week after members of the Democrats in the House and Senate introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which “includes measures aimed at boosting accountability, changing police practices and curbing racial profiling.” Please find a section by section summary of the bill here and more legislative information here. The House Judiciary Committee considered and approved the bill out of Committee last week, teeing up House floor action at the end of this week.

What’s Next

While both the JUSTICE Act and the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 are on a fast track to be considered in each of the chambers, there are a number of differences between the two approaches. We expect, therefore, leaders from the House, Senate, and the White House will negotiate on a final measure. At this time, there is still some uncertainty about whether a final agreement can be reached.

From The Coalition

Opinion: A letter to my beautiful, black unborn baby

Ebony Chisholm, Managing Director of External Affairs at Educators for Excellence, penned a letter to her future Black child in the Hartford Courant last week: “I know that I won’t be able to keep you under my wing forever, but what I can and will continue to do for your entire life is tell you that you are black, you are beautiful, you are strong, you are powerful. No matter what you hear or see, I want you to be proud of who you are, know that your skin will radiate to all those around you and know that you can do anything.” Read the rest of her piece here.

Opinion: The Stress of This Moment Might Be Hurting Kids’ Development

Turnaround for Children’s Dr. Pamela Cantor explores the ways in which the stress and trauma brought about by the pervasiveness of both COVID-19 and racial injustice impact the physiological and neurological development of children — especially Black children and children of color — and what educators can do to mitigate these consequences. She writes, “We can make the world in our homes and eventually our schools places that inoculate us against the intolerable stress of the scary, uncertain world we now live in. How? By focusing on the Three Rs: relationships, routines, and resilience.” Read the rest of her piece here.

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