AF Weekly Tip Sheet: Policy and Advocacy (8/10)

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.


This Week at America Forward

Letter: Support for Child Care in COVID-19 Relief

Last week, America Forward joined with several other organizations to send a letter to President Trump, urging the White House to “to build on bipartisan efforts in Congress by providing relief to the child care industry and working parents amidst the ongoing

COVID-19 crisis.” 

The letter reads: “Child care providers across the country have dealt with months of closures and loss of revenue and face an uncertain future. In fact, a recent survey from the National Association for the Education of Young Children shows 40% of child care providers are certain they will close without financial assistance. We have a public interest in ensuring the child care market weathers this crisis – without child care, the American people cannot go back to work. Therefore, we call on the administration and Congress to continue the strong bipartisan support for the critical role child care plays in our nation’s economic recovery by building upon the $15 billion investment included in the Senate HEALS Act package and prioritizing significant additional funding to help stabilize the child care industry in the next emergency funding package.” 

Read the full letter here


Updates and Resources

Update: COVID-19 Federal Legislation

This week, the White House and congressional leaders met to try and reach an agreement on a fourth COVID-19 relief package, however, no real breakthroughs were made. As you know, last week, Senate Republicans released the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act. The $1 trillion package was developed by the Senate Republican leadership and the White House.  In May, the House of Representatives (which is controlled by the Democrats) passed their Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) which is a $3 trillion funding package.

A major sticking point is the overall amount of the relief package–Democrats want it to be close to the HEROES’ $3 trillion amount while Republicans insist the cost be closer to $1 trillion. The debate also continues over provisions to address unemployment insurance, funding for states and local government, a federal moratorium on evictions and rental assistance, and other issues. 

Additionally, there are reports that Congress may include a Continuing Resolution (CR) in the COVID-4 package that would fund the federal government for the upcoming fiscal year.  To date, Congress has not passed any of the thirteen appropriations bills.  With the current climate in Washington, the passage of any bills is unlikely, thus necessitating the passage of a CR in order to keep the government open.  The actual length of the CR is still being discussed–with some in Congress calling for the CR to end after the election and others are suggesting that it extend through March. 

Congressional Hearing:  “Challenges To Safely Reopening K-12 Schools”

Last Thursday, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a hearing on the “Challenges To Safely Reopening K-12 Schools.”  Witnesses included former U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan. Among the issues discussed were the difficulties that come along with reopening schools, including making children adhere to social distancing guidelines; and the negative impacts of prolonged school closures; and the the risks associated with reopening and the problems that exist with remote learning.  A recording of the hearing can be viewed here.


Advancing Whole Learning Education 

Opinion: Amidst COVID pandemic, an education system reboot is needed

Alejandro Gibes de Gac, CEO and Founder of Springboard Collaborative, wrote in the Delaware County Daily Times (PA) that “As schools struggle to meet an ever-broader range of student needs amidst ever-changing circumstances, the system has reached a breaking point. In order to educate the whole learner, we must wholly reinvent school. Let’s not build the digital clone of a system that wasn’t working in the first place. If we equip parents and teachers to work together, we can fundamentally change the education system for the better and for good.” Read Alejandro’s full piece here


From the America Forward Coalition 

Opinion: Reality Check: What Will It Take to Reopen Schools Amid the Pandemic? 5 Experts Weigh In on Learning Loss and Students’ Needs

Susan D. Patrick, President and CEO of the Aurora Institute and a co-founder of CompetencyWorks, explores the importance of competency-based education, in this piece from The 74 Million: “When schools fail to support students in addressing critical gaps in knowledge and skills, students and communities become increasingly burdened by learning gaps that accumulate over time. By contrast, competency-based districts and schools proactively challenge these practices and institute alternative systems and structures that promote success for all.” Read her full piece here

Opinion: Infodemic-19, the public health catastrophe

Larry Gu, a member of Generation Citizen’s student editorial board, writes about the danger of spreading misinformation in the media, especially amidst the COVID-19 crisis, in this piece from The Oklahoman: “This ‘infodemic’ caused by the media is detrimental to us all. We, as a community, often turn to those in power for information. Sadly, we have seen leaders from the local level all the way up to the federal government distort information that fits within their own values, rather than agree with science. We need to educate ourselves to search for the original source of the information.” Read his full piece here

Podcast: Education Leaders of Color featured on The Daily

Sharhonda Bossier, Deputy Director at Education Leaders of Color, was featured on The Daily, a podcast from The New York Times, sharing experience and her “path to protesting police brutality.” Listen to the full episode here.

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