America Forward Weekly Tip Sheet: Policy and Advocacy (3/1)

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 in Washington, Congress continued negotiations on the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Omnibus bill this week. The Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), said, “It will provide the biggest increase in non-defense programs in four years. Under this framework, we can direct new resources to improve health care in rural communities, expand the middle class, and protect our national security.”

The White House and President Joe Biden are encouraging Congress to take action on his Universal Child Care proposals, one of the President’s top priorities in the stalled Build Back Better Act. The President’s plan would be the largest investment in child care in the nation’s history. The plan would also enable states to deliver two years of free pre-school for every 3- and 4-year-old in a setting of their parents’ choice.

The attention in Washington turned to Ukraine last week after Russia invaded the country early Thursday morning. President Biden, in coordination and solidarity with NATO allies, announced sanctions on Russian financial institutions and oligarchs. The war in Eastern Europe is likely to consume a lot of attention in Congress as members return to Washington this week. The President’s State of the Union address will also take place tonight, Tuesday, March 1. On Wednesday, March 2, America Forward hosts our annual Coalition Strategy Briefing, where our team will discuss SOTU highlights and dive more deeply into what’s happening in Washington.

On Friday, February 25, President Biden officially nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Judge Jackson was one of President Biden’s first judicial nominees in 2021. She was confirmed with bipartisan support to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2021. Her confirmation process will likely drum up a lot of attention in Congress in the coming weeks.

March 15: America Forward Advocacy Institute Training: Leveraging Federal Funding to Maximize Impact in Existing Systems

On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, from 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EST, the America Forward Advocacy Institute will hold a training, Transforming from Within: Leveraging Federal Funding to Maximize Impact in Existing Systems, for its K-12 Working Group members. If you are interested in engaging in our K-12 Working Group and are not yet a member of the America Forward Coalition, please contact us at to learn more.

Turnaround for Children Shares Tools and Resources for Educators to Support Students and Schools Through Crisis

Turnaround for Children has curated a set of tools and resources that focus on the needs of the whole child. These resources can support educators and school staff in both addressing the current crisis and making a down payment on the long-term changes that are needed to address children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and academic needs, right now and in the future. You can access them here.

Reading Partners Receives Unsolicited $20 Million from MacKenzie Scott

Reading Partners received a $20 million unrestricted gift from MacKenzie Scott to support the national nonprofit’s evidence-based early literacy intervention program. This comes as the organization is embarking on an initiative to raise more than $100 million over three years to provide a range of literacy support services to tens of thousands of students each year.

US Department of Education Releases FAQs on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Accountability Systems

The U.S. Department of Education released final FAQs to aid states, school districts, and schools implementing accountability and school improvement requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) using data from the 2021-22 school year.

US Department of Education Announces $35 Million Competition to Improve Teacher Quality

The U.S. Department of Education is posting a Notice Inviting Applications for the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) program, which will award $35 million to bolster teacher preparation programs at the undergraduate or “fifth-year” level (Pre-Baccalaureate Models), as well as teaching residency programs for individuals new to teaching that integrate relevant academic content and meaningful clinical experience (Residency Models).

US Department of Labor Announces $113 Million Apprenticeship Building America Program

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a new Apprenticeship Rebuilding America program that will make $113 in grant funding available, including up to $50 million to support equity partnerships and pre-apprenticeship activities to increase enrollment in Registered Apprenticeship programs. Eligible applicants include nonprofits, labor organizations, public and state institutions of higher education, and county governments. Finalists will receive awards from $1 to $8 million. Applications are due by April 25.

Urban Institute Announces $2.5 Million RFP for Pilot Projects for Advancing Social Mobility

The Urban Institute’s WorkRise initiative announced a request for proposals that will award up to $2.5 million in grants for pilot projects that test and evaluate public- and private-sector interventions designed to improve the economic mobility of low-wage workers. WorkRise will prioritize pilots that, for instance, create alternative pathways into high-wake industries; reskill workers at risk of displacement; or bolster economic security embedded in employment and training contexts. Applications are due by April 8, 2022.

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