America Forward Weekly Tip Sheet: Policy and Advocacy (5/24)

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 New in Washington

In Washington last week, House and Senate negotiators held talks with the White House on the American Jobs Plan’s infrastructure provisions; however, no agreement has been reached. Negotiations are continuing as congressional leaders and the Administration hope to move legislation forward this summer.

Additionally, the House of Representatives debated and passed legislation that would create a bipartisan commission to probe the January 6 Capitol riot. The bill passed with the support of thirty-five Republicans. With Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressing his opposition to the bill, it is uncertain whether the ten Republican Senators that are needed to pass the bill will ultimately support it.

Finally, the President is expected to release his full Fiscal Year 2022 (FY’22) federal budget request this Friday. As you may recall, he released details on a number of federal programs in April but Friday’s release will provide fuller details on federal budget funding levels and policies. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are expected to draft and consider their versions of FY’22 appropriations bills after the budget release.

Update: Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Announces Virtual Public Hearing to Gather Information for the Purpose of Improving Enforcement of Title IX

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced “a virtual public hearing to be held from June 7, 2021, to June 11, 2021, to gather information for improving enforcement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The notice for the public hearing is available here, and the official hearing notice will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days.

“The hearing is part of OCR’s comprehensive review of the Department’s existing regulations and other actions related to Title IX to implement President Biden’s March 8 Executive Order on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity… The hearing is also a step toward fulfilling the directives of President Biden’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” Additional information can be found here.

Update: Senate Appropriations Committee Will Accept Appropriations Requests

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee announced that it will accept appropriations requests of two different types:

  • “Programmatic/Bill and Report Language Requests: These types of requests are general funding requests for national and regional programs, and/or bill and report language requests that directs, encourages, or urges an Agency or Department to carry out an action.
  • Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) Requests: According to Senate Rule XLIV, a CDS is a provision “included primarily at the request of a Senator providing, authorizing, or recommending a specific amount of discretionary budget authority, credit authority, or other spending authority for a contract, loan, loan guarantee, grant, loan authority or other expenditure with or to an entity, or targeted to a specific State, location or Congressional district, other than through a statutory or administrative formula-driven or competitive award process.” Generally speaking, this is funding requested for a specific project in a specific location. Not all subcommittees will be accepting requests for CDS spending, as noted below.”

Additional information and relevant deadlines can be found here.

Resource: Social Determinants of Health CDC Funding Opportunity for State, Local, and Tribal Governments

Following enactment of key components of the bipartisan Social Determinants Accelerator Act last December (which America Forward supported and championed), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Closing the Gap with Social Determinants of Health Accelerator Plans, which state, local, territorial and tribal jurisdictions are eligible to apply for. Some Coalition members may be interested in potentially exploring state and local partnerships to pursue prevention and build a more robust, more inclusive culture of health.

Per the CDC announcement linked above, applications for the grant are due July 6, awards will be made by September 30, and June 23 is the last day to ask CDC questions about this opportunity.

CDC has indicated it will fund “approximately 20 state, local, tribal, or territorial jurisdictions,” with an emphasis on geographic diversity across the country. Awards will be up to $125,000.

You can find a summary here of an informational webinar the CDC held earlier this week to provide additional information on the grant and answer questions for prospective applicants.

America Forward is glad to see this funding opportunity move forward. We will continue working with Aligning for Health to advocate for the passage of the rest of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, building on this critical work to fund robust outcomes-driven prevention.

Resource: Memo Summarizing the Recent Actions of the FCC

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released information on the implementation and funding for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) which was authorized under the American Rescue Plan. The ECF is funded at $7.171 billion and will reimburse eligible schools and libraries for the costs of purchasing certain equipment and information services for use by students, school staff, and library patrons at locations other than the school or library during the COVID-19 emergency. (This is separate from the E-Rate program, under which eligible schools and libraries receive subsidies for Internet connections and services to and within the school or library building.) You can find more information on the report and order released by the FCC here.

Advancing Whole-Learner Education

The Hechinger Report: Twenty-six studies point to more play for young children

The LEGO Foundation’s Bo Stjerne Thomsen was quoted in this article from the Hechinger Report: “‘Play can exist everywhere,’ said Bo Stjerne Thomsen, chair of Learning Through Play at the LEGO Foundation. ‘It’s the experience. Testing and trying out new ideas…It’s really about the state of mind you’re in while playing.’” Read the full piece here.

Whole Learner Education Insights and Action Newsletter

The latest edition of America Forward’s monthly Whole Learner Education Insights and Action Newsletter went out earlier this month! Not signed up for the newsletter, but want to see it in your inbox? Visit and subscribe at the bottom of the page!

From the America Forward Coalition

Book: Workforce Realigned: How New Partnerships Are Advancing Economic Mobility

Social Finance and the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Philadelphia have co-authored a new book, Workforce Realigned: How New Partnerships Are Advancing Economic Mobility, “containing 19 case studies and nascent ideas about how to reboot economic mobility in America—from leaders including former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Rockefeller Foundation Senior Vice President Dr. Zia Khan, and General Assembly CEO Lisa Lewin.”

New Profit Managing Partner, Dr. Angela Jackson, authored a chapter in the book titled A Grand Challenge to Reinvent Workforce Development and Social Finance CEO and Co-Founder, Tracy Palandjian, authored a chapter titled Paying It Forward: Adapting the Career Impact Bond into a Public Policy Tool.

The book will launch with a national event on June 3, 2021, featuring “a conversation with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, and Bank of America Chairman of the Board and CEO Brian Moynihan, moderated by Social Finance CEO Tracy Palandjian. Hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, this virtual event will feature remarks from its President and CEO Raphael Bostic, New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, and Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President and CEO Patrick Harker.” Additional details about the event can be found below.

Partnership: Reading Partners DC Joins Forces with Howard U. to Curb Student Learning Loss

Last week, Reading Partners DC announced a partnership with Howard University through which “HU students will be able to gain experience and work-study dollars as tutors for one or more of the nearly 1,000 children under the nonprofit’s purview.” For administrators at HU, “collaborating with Reading Partners DC not only provides work-study eligible students with experience and much-needed funds but also helps the local university fulfill a tenet of the Howard Forward 2024 strategic plan which focuses on service to the community.” Read more here.

Opinion: Our financial literacy gap is a systemic problem: Let’s treat it that way

Demi Ross, of Teach For America, and Charles Walker, of Intelligent Technologies and 100 Black Men of America, write about how to holistically ensure that financial literacy is a core value for underserved students, in this piece from K-12 Dive: “Overcoming these barriers requires a multi-faceted approach from stakeholders, including corporate social responsibility programs. Could organizations like Teach For America and 100 Black Men use funding and in-school volunteers to help broaden understanding of finances at an early age? Absolutely. But the effort must go beyond fund-raising or short-term educational campaigns, as important as they are. We need more than awareness to overcome race- and class-driven financial inequities.” Read their full piece here.

America Forward Coalition & Network Job Opportunities

New Profit: Multiple Positions

New Profit is currently hiring for four positions. Follow the links below for additional details and application information:

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