AF Weekly Tip Sheet: Policy and Advocacy (9/28)

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.


What’s Next in Washington 


Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the federal government through December 11. The Senate is expected to pass it before the beginning of the 2021 Fiscal Year (which is this Thursday, October 1). Congress will then have to return post-election in a lame-duck session to either extend the CR or pass legislation to fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year.

Regarding a potential COVID-19 relief package, congressional Democrats announced they want to restart negotiations with Republicans and the White House on a stimulus package. The bill would total $2.4 trillion and would address concerns from members in battleground states to pass the legislation before they go home to campaign. But the bill is still $1 trillion more than the President said he was willing to sign. The plan roughly follows the last month’s offer made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said “a targeted pandemic relief package is still needed and if the Democrats are willing to sit down, I’m willing to sit down anytime for bipartisan legislation. Let’s pass something quickly.”


Update: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plans


As states continue to implement their plans under ESSA, some have made amendments to their original state plans and/or have approved waivers of various sections. To see what’s happening with ESSA in your state, visit


ICYMI: Bold Action is Needed to Advance Educational Equity — During COVID-19 and Beyond


Jonathan Briggs, America Forward’s new Policy Manager, writes about the challenges that teachers, students, and families are facing as schools across the country return to learning this Fall, and solutions to ensure a “comprehensive approach to meet the moment and reimagine the current education system.” Read Jonathan’s full piece, including several of America Forward’s key policy recommendations, here


From the America Forward Coalition 


New Classrooms: Teach to One Roadmaps

To address the unprecedented pressure placed on communities across the country, as students, teachers, and parents continue to grapple with disruptions to learning, New Classrooms “has developed a new suite of digitally enabled tools — Teach to One Roadmaps — that leverages over 10 years of research and development into the way students learn math.” Adapted from their flagship Teach to One program, “Teach to One Roadmaps will use state-of-the-art algorithms and advanced psychometric techniques to generate a free, personalized academic roadmap for any student that will provide the precise set of skills he or she must learn to achieve both grade-level proficiency and college and career readiness.”

Additionally, they also released Teach to One Roadmaps Plus and Teach to One Roadmaps Home, which “will provide schools and families with curated digital content and on-demand assessments aligned to students’ roadmaps. As students progress through their roadmaps, the program will continually adapt to their unique strengths and needs.”

More information about these programs can be found here.


Social Finance: 2020 Catalyzing Career & Technical Education Competition 

Social Finance and Jobs for the Future (JFF) have announced a national Pay for Success (PFS) competition to “expand career and technical education (CTE) for under-served, high-need youth” throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and beyond.  Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), “Awardees will receive free technical assistance at no cost, a value of approximately $150,000 – $225,000 to expand their CTE programs. Social Finance and JFF will provide a suite of expert consultation services, evaluate preparedness to scale programs, and explore new funding strategies to identify if outcomes-based funding is feasible. Outcomes-based funding can take many forms including Performance-based Contracts, Social Impact Bonds, Income Share Agreements, and Outcomes Rate Cards.”

Additional details and application information can be found here.


Opinion: Nine Ways We Can Address Racial Injustice In Our Schools, Today

Phyllis Lockett, founder and CEO of LEAP Innovations, writes about proven strategies to counter racial injustice in education, in this piece from Forbes: “Severe educational inequality has become so baked into our society that many people talk about it like it’s inevitable. But it’s not. Solutions aren’t just available; they’re everywhere. We have tested proven ways to realize the potential of Black students.” Read Phyllis’s full piece here.


Opinion: Navigating Race and New Leadership in a Time of Upheaval

Michelle Rhone-Collins, CEO of LIFT, writes about navigating race and leadership roles, especially during a time of major and compounding shifts in our culture and society, in this piece from the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR): “This has been an incredible time to be called to lead, particularly as a Black woman. Along with other, normative challenges during the succession—including clarifying vision, establishing presence, differentiating leadership, running business operations, and building organizational culture—I had to face into the headwinds of bias. The pandemic and widespread protests against racial violence whipped those winds into a hurricane. But there’s nevertheless some calm in the eye of the storm. It lies in the space where we can collectively reimagine, recreate, and dismantle entrenched systems of oppression by taking bold action. Black lives more than matter; our lives, experiences, and voices—our perspectives, innovation, and brilliance—are essential to bringing about true systemic change and social justice. Ample support and investment in our leadership can be the wind at our backs we need to create a more equitable society for all.” Read Michelle’s full piece here.


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