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Federal Flash: A “NewDEAL” for Education & an Update on the Civil Rights Data Collection

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November 22, 2019 11:35 am

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State and local officials from NewDEAL partner with the Alliance for Excellent Education to identify solutions to better prepare young people for successful careers; comments pour in on the Education Department’s proposed changes to the civil rights data collection; and House Republicans highlight the value of apprenticeships.   

NewDeal and All4Ed Partnership

On Thursday, the NewDEAL Forum and All4Ed launched a joint effort to develop and implement a state and local policy agenda to prepare students for college and careers. The NewDEAL Forum Education Policy Group will leverage the expertise of public and non-profit leaders to identify effective solutions to graduate more students on-track for success in the workplace. The NewDEAL is a network of 181 pro-growth, progressive state and local officeholders below the level of the Governor in 47 states. The NewDEAL Forum supports these rising leaders by helping to identify and spread policies that foster economic growth and reduce barriers to opportunity. The Education Policy Group will be co-chaired by West Sacramento, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, and Georgia State Senator Elena Parent.

In the coming year, the Education Policy Group will produce a report with recommendations that could be implemented across the country. Policy solutions will focus on the intersection of education and workforce, including access to career pathways, reimagining career and technical education, and better aligning K-12 and higher education.

Read the Press Release.

Civil Rights Data on the Chopping Block

Our viewers may recall that the U.S. Department of Education is proposing changes to the mandatory biennial survey issued to school districts called the Civil Rights Data Collection, or CRDC. ED has proposed eliminating nearly 30 data points related to teacher experience, school finance, advanced coursework, early childhood education, and other issues.

Data on the chopping block has revealed critical disparities in access to educational resources. Because of the CRDC, we know that the percentage of teachers in their first year of teaching is twice as high in school districts with the highest concentrations of Black and Latino students as it is in school districts with the lowest percentages of Black and Latino students. This information would be lost if ED moves ahead with its proposal. ED received over 600 comments and is in the process of reviewing them.

Both Senator Patty Murray, the ranking member on the Senate Education Committee, and Representative Bobby Scott, Chairman of the House Education Committee, led letters in their respective chambers condemning ED’s proposal to eliminate these CRDC data points. The House letter, signed by all Democratic members of the Education Committee, lamented, “By amending the collection of this data to remove key elements…the Department will significantly weaken a key source of information used to identify civil rights violations and address inequities in our educational system.”

Many civil rights organizations and advocates also submitted comments expressing major concerns with the proposal, including All4Ed. We provided individual comments and also joined letters of opposition led by The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights and the Education Trust that were co-signed by organizations such as the NACCP, League of United Latin American Citizens, and the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

National Apprenticeship Week

Education advocates marked National Apprenticeship Week from November 11th to 17th. Several Republican members of the House Education Committee spoke on the floor about the important role apprenticeships play in connecting students with the skills they need to build a successful life. Representative Virginia Foxx, Ranking Member on the Committee, stated “Our nation has seven million unfilled jobs. A 2018 survey of U.S. employers showed that nearly half of all job creators struggle to hire employees with the right skills for the job. Apprenticeships offer one of the strongest solutions to closing the skills gap.”

All4Ed also supports apprenticeships as an avenue to help more students successfully transition to the workplace.

More information on apprenticeships.

One final note, on Thursday Congress voted to approve a short-term continuing resolution to keep the federal government, including the Department of Education, funded through December 20. This sets up a Christmas collision on border wall spending, impeachment, and federal funding. As always, we’ll keep you posted.

This blog post represents a slightly edited transcript of the November 22 episode of Federal Flash, the Alliance for Excellent Education’s video series on important developments in education policy in Washington, DC. The video version is embedded below. For an alert when the next episode of Federal Flash is available, email at alliance@all4ed.org.

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Federal Flash

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.