America Forward Weekly Tip Sheet: Policy and Advocacy (6/1)

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.

What’s New in Washington

Last Friday, President Joe Biden released his Fiscal Year 2022 (FY’22) budget request. As you may recall, he released his discretionary (or “skinny budget”) on April 9th. Last week’s Budget Request provides more complete details of the President’s budget funding and programmatic priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.

Some of the highlights of the Budget include:

  • $20 billion for a new Title I Equity Grants program as part of President Biden’s commitment to dramatically increase funding for Title I schools
  • $16 billion, a $2.7 billion increase over 2021 enacted, for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants that would support special education and related services for more than 7.6 million Pre-K through 12 students
  • $1 billion for a new School-Based Health Professionals grant program to support the goal of doubling the number of counselors, nurses, and mental health professionals in schools
  • $443 million for Full-Service Community Schools, which play a critical role in providing comprehensive wrap-around services to students and their families, from afterschool, to adult education opportunities, and health and nutrition services
  • $1.31 billion for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • $100 million for a new program to Foster Diverse Schools
  • Funding to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $400—the largest one-time increase since 2009 and to ensure “DREAMers,” students who are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, are eligible for Pell Grants
  • Providing Americans two years of free community college by partnering with States and tribes to waive tuition and fees for students, while promoting key reforms to help more students complete and help meet the demands of a growing global economy
  • $3.7 billion, a $203 million increase over the FY 2021 enacted level, for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Grants.
  • $285 million to expand Registered Apprenticeship (RA) opportunities while increasing access for historically underrepresented groups
  • $145,000,000, an increase of $48,466,000, for YouthBuild which will fund 3,070 additional participants in the program in 2022
  • $1.21 billion for CNCS, an increase of $89.2 million over FY21, to fund 62,000 total AmeriCorps slots in FY22

You can find additional information on the Budget Request here for the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Last Week at America Forward

Remembering and Honoring the Life of George Floyd

To remember and honor the life of George Floyd on the one year anniversary of the day he was murdered, America Forward and New Profit released the following statement last week:

Today, we join our community in remembering and honoring the life of George Floyd, who was murdered one year ago in Minneapolis. Our thoughts continue to be first and foremost with his family members and other loved ones, who have shown such courage in the face of pain and trauma over the last year.

Mr. Floyd’s death, one of far too many caused by police brutality, was a unique catalyst for an unprecedented reckoning with America’s long history of systemic racial and economic injustice. As a result, we have seen some momentum towards change start to occur across the spectrum of American society. However, we recognize that so much work remains to be done. Alongside many others, our organization is deepening its commitment to becoming anti-racist in word and deed. We are collaborating with staff, leaders, and partners from across our community to focus on advancing equity and social impact in everything that we do. We will continue to prioritize action and accountability throughout our journey.

We also acknowledge that, even with the guilty verdict against Mr. Floyd’s killer and other measures of progress, there has been a polarizing backlash to the calls for racial and economic justice. White supremacy remains firmly entrenched in our society, and we must continuously recommit to uprooting it.

We know that words are inadequate to fully acknowledge and capture what this day means for our collective humanity. Honoring George Floyd’s life and the lives of many others who have died – and honoring those around the world who have sustained the will and momentum needed to truly transform systems over time – gives us energy and hope for the future.

Update: Key Support for SIPPRA During Senate Finance Committee Hearing

Implementation of the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (SIPPRA) is delayed. However, following our collective advocacy over the past month, at a Finance Committee hearing earlier this week, we were encouraged by an exchange between Benjamin Harris, nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy — who would oversee SIPPRA — and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), in which Sen. Bennet asked pointed questions, and drew as encouraging response as we could reasonably have expected from the nominee. Check out our blog post (which includes a full transcript of the brief exchange) and our tweets on this issue.

Resource: Applications for New Awards; Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (Partnership Grants)

The U.S. Department of Education recently issued a notice inviting applications for “FY 2021 for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) Partnership Grants. GEAR UP is a discretionary grant designed to help eligible low-income students, including students with disabilities, in obtaining a secondary school diploma and preparing for postsecondary education. Activities must include providing postsecondary financial aid information, reducing remediation at the postsecondary level, and improving the number of students who obtain a secondary school diploma, complete applications, and enroll in postsecondary education. Activities may include mentoring, tutoring, dual or concurrent enrollment programs for students in STEM, academic and career counseling, financial and economic literacy education, and exposure to college campuses. Applications are due June 28.”

Resource: Applications for New Awards; Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM and Articulation Program

The U.S. Department of Education recently issued a notice inviting applications for “new awards for FY 2021 for the Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) STEM and Articulation Program. This competition specifically acknowledges the importance of student-centered programs that will increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students who graduate with degrees in STEM fields, as well as the need to promote support systems to ensure that community college students will continue to pursue STEM degrees once enrolled at a four-year institution. There is one absolute priority (increase STEM degrees), two competitive preference priorities (offer work-based learning and enhanced retention strategies), and one invitational priority (wraparound services for students impacted by COVID-19). Applications are due June 14.”

Resource: Applications for New Awards; Personnel Development To Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities—Interdisciplinary Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children With Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education recently published a notice inviting applications for “the FY 2021 Personnel Development To Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities — Interdisciplinary Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children With Disabilities Who Have High-Intensity Needs grant competition. The purpose of the grant is to increase the number and improve the quality of personnel who are fully credentialed to serve children, including infants and toddlers, and youth with disabilities who have high-intensity needs. The application deadline is June 22.”

Advancing Whole-Learner Education

Opinion: To meaningfully address learning loss, schools must use federal funds to reform education

New Classrooms’ Michael Watson makes the case for utilizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to invest in innovative, systems building solutions to transform education and combat learning loss, in this piece from K-12 Dive: “The work to transform education begins with changing the existing operating model itself and challenging the limitations of the predominant, age-based classroom. This will require the use of innovative learning models that are more focused on tailoring instruction to the unique strengths and needs of each student. An innovative learning model is a holistic, school-based program that integrates teachers and technology so schools can systematically support a personalized approach to education for each and every student. Model providers are not school managers, but they share in the accountability for student outcomes.” Read Michael’s full piece here.

From the America Forward Coalition

Book: Workforce Realigned: How New Partnerships Are Advancing Economic Mobility (and Social Finance June 3 Launch event)

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.”

Report: A Better Equation: New Pandemic Data Supports Acceleration Rather than Remediation to Make Up for COVID Learning Loss

A new report from Zearn and TNPT, formerly known as The New Teacher Project, released this week, found that educators “should forgo the traditional remedy of remediation in favor of a strategy known as acceleration,” as teachers, schools, and communities work to help students overcome the learning lost over the past year.

“Teaching grade-level material, while stopping to supply missing, underlying skills as they become necessary — acceleration — is a strategy some researchers have found promising. TNTP and Zearn say the new data is the most concrete yet to support this notion. ‘It’s a counterintuitive difference,’ says Shalinee Sharma, Zearn CEO and co-founder. ‘The simple idea [behind] remediation would be that if a child is struggling, you go back all the way to where everything is easy again and you bring them back gradually.

‘Acceleration says, ‘Nope, the human brain is plastic,’’ she continues. ‘You start with something really specific, like how do you add fractions. You drop down and teach that skill and then pop right back up.’” Read more here.

Opinion: 5 Keys to Success in Hybrid Learning

The Learning Accelerator’s Juliana Finegan offers tips for building “an engaging and equitable simultaneous learning environment,” in this piece from Edutopia: “The best way to support all learners during this time of uncertainty and flux between the remote and in-person worlds is to continue planning for remote learning—because it’s the only way to be consistent, accessible, and nimble enough for the changing tides, while also leveraging all of the skills the students gained in the new self-directed world of learning. By bringing together the two contexts and continuing to utilize the opportunities that remote learning has to offer—asynchronous learning, self-paced lessons, personalized pathways, additional one-on-one touch points, etc.—we can help students to continue to learn and grow together, as one class, no matter where they are physically.” Read Juliana’s full piece here.

Opinion: KIPP Massachusetts School Leader: I Shared The Power To Lead With My Families During the Pandemic, and We All Benefitted

KIPP’s R. Nikki Barnes writes about the importance of engaging families in their children’s education during the pandemic and beyond, in this piece from The 74 Million: “This past year, our families have become more than partners in our schools. They’ve become co-authors of our educational journey. This is the new normal for our schools, and I am sure for so many others around the country.” Read her full piece here.

Opinion: 5 reasons why in-state tuition for ‘Dreamers’ benefits everyone in Arizona

Aliento’s Reyna Montoya and Arizona State Senator Paul Boyer make the case for providing in-state tuition for Dreamers in Arizona, in this piece from AZ Central: “After continuously losing Arizona’s top talent to Yale, Harvard, MIT, and many other out-of-state schools, the Arizona State Legislature acted to give voters the opportunity to decide whether ‘Dreamers’ can pay in-state tuition in their home state of Arizona. In a 33-27 bipartisan vote, the Arizona House referred Senate Concurrent Resolution 1044 to the 2022 ballot. This measure, which I as a Republican Senator sponsored, repeals portions of Proposition 300 and gives voters the choice to truly change the lives of nearly 2,000 students every single year. This will make a difference in students’ lives and our economy in Arizona. Here are five things Arizona voters should know about the measure.” Read their full piece here.

News: A support system for principals juggling multiple crises

“We were seeing overly exhausted leaders trying to sort through a field flooded with free resources and a professional service sector with untapped expertise,’ said Nithi Thomas, a partner at The Learning Accelerator.” This article from The Hechinger Report features The Learning Accelerator, and focuses on the importance of coaches in supporting school leaders as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and explore the future of learning.

Update: College Advising Corps Awarded AmeriCorps National Service Grant Funding

Last week, College Advising Corp was awarded over $4 million as part of AmeriCorps’ national service grant funding for education. With this investment, “College Advising Corps will place AmeriCorps members in 265 underserved high schools in 11 states in areas that include Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Kansas City. AmeriCorps members will provide college advising to low-income, first-generation, underrepresented students, increasing the college enrollment rates at the schools they serve.” Additional information about this and other grant awards can be found 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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