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.
Last Week in Washington
Last week, the Senate passed a bill that procedurally allows them to raise the debt ceiling with a simple 51-vote majority. The bill also includes several provisions on delays to Medicare cuts. Congress is expected to vote on a bill to raise the debt limit this week.
Negotiations on the Build Back Better Act continue in the Senate, and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) signaled last week that progress is being made and that they remain on track to vote on the legislation before Christmas. Despite this, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) remains adamant that he is in no rush to vote on the legislation and has said that Congress should pause on any final passage of the bill, citing concerns over the economy.
Last week, the Senate confirmed Michael Smith to serve as the next CEO of AmeriCorps. America Forward and New Profit have supported his nomination and issued a statement of congratulations last week, upon his confirmation. You can read that statement here.
U.S. Department of Education Launches Two Communities of Practice to Help States Address Impact of the Pandemic on Students
On December 2, the U.S. Department of Education launched two new multistate communities of practice to support states in addressing the impact of lost instructional time from the pandemic on students’ social, emotional, and mental health, and academic well-being.
The Department is launching the Evidence-Based Interventions: Using American Rescue Plan Resources to Accelerate Learning Community of Practice with the National Comprehensive Center. This community of practice will work with states and communities in accelerating learning using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding in sustainable ways. The Department will invite teams of State Educational Agencies (SEAs), Local Education Agencies (LEAs), and partner community-based organizations (CBOs) to participate in the community of practice. Participants will explore different evidence-based strategies to accelerate learning and build their organizational capacity to support districts and schools in implementing these practices with fidelity, using the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for evidence-based interventions such as high-dosage tutoring and expanded learning time.
U.S. Surgeon General Issues Advisory on Youth Mental Health Crisis Further Exposed by COVID-19 Pandemic
In early December, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a new Surgeon General’s Advisory to highlight the urgent need to address the nation’s youth mental health crisis. As the nation continues the work to protect the health and safety of America’s youth during this pandemic with the pediatric vaccine push amid concerns of the emerging omicron variant, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health outlines the pandemic’s unprecedented impacts on the mental health of America’s youth and families, as well as the mental health challenges that existed long before the pandemic.
The Surgeon General’s advisory calls for a swift and coordinated response to this crisis as the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides recommendations that individuals, families, community organizations, technology companies, governments, and others can take to improve the mental health of children, adolescents and young adults
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Resources
November marked 46 years since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was enacted. The Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued Q&A’s on Part C of the IDEA regarding child find, referral, and eligibility and the provision of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. These documents complete OSERS’ Return to School Roadmap Q&A series and demonstrate the Department’s continued commitment to support states in ensuring the full implementation of IDEA requirements.
Update: U.S. Department of Education Approves State Plans for Use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Funds to Support K-12 Schools and Students
The U.S. Department of Education has now announced its approval of forty-nine state and territory plans, including Washington, D.C., for the use of ARP funds to support K-12 schools and students, except in Florida, Mississippi, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
A table tracking the status of the plans for each state that submitted them can be found here, and plans submitted under the Outlying Areas State Educational Agencies Fund can be found here.
Jumpstart Gets Special Spotlight on the Today Show
Jumpstart got a special feature on the Today Show this morning, on the show’s Season of Giving segment. You can watch the feature here.
Latinos for Education Call for More Latino Voices on Local School Boards
In an article in EducationWeek, Latinos for Education CEO, Amanda Fernandez, joined in calls for higher representation of Latino voices on school boards.
“And now, as school boards and committees are navigating politicized topics such as mask policies and how to teach about race in classrooms, Latino voices are needed more than ever, said Amanda Fernandez, CEO and founder of the organization Latinos for Education.
For instance, Fernandez said much of what we see in media coverage is parents against things like mask mandates but multiple perspectives need to be seen and heard, including the Latino perspective.”
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