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Federal Flash: House Committee Debates Funding for Schools and Infrastructure

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February 15, 2019 09:22 am

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This episode of Federal Flash recognizes Black History Month and the anniversary of the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It also covers a House education committee hearing on school funding and new guidance on student privacy.

Recognizing Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and we want to acknowledge the impact that African Americans continue to make to America.

First, Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, a Jamaican-American physician, was named by California Governor Gavin Newsom as California’s first-ever surgeon general. Dr. Burke-Harris is most known for her work linking adverse childhood experiences to toxic stress and harmful outcomes among youth. Additionally, Governor Newsom named Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, a former All4Ed Board member, to head California’s State Board of Education, making her the first African-American woman to lead the board. Congratulations to these and other black Americans making history every day.

 

House Hearing on School Funding

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott held the House’s first education hearing on the topic of school funding and infrastructure. Scott asserted that federal education programs are underfunded and that the federal government provides no funding to support public school infrastructure. He also referenced data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finding that 29 states spent less per student in 2015 than they had in the 2008 school year, before the Great Recession.

Ranking Member Virginia Foxx had a different perspective.  She asserted that most states have increased public school spending, but that “many school districts have ended up pouring taxpayer funds into administrative bloat that leaves students and teachers high and dry.” Committee Republicans asserted that education dollars should support school choice, with fewer rules and regulations attached.

The arguments on both sides were really nothing new. What was new was the members who voiced them. Watch the brief clip below from one of the Committee’s newest members, Representative Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, who was also the 2016 teacher of the year.

 

Revised Plan for Career and Technical Education

Moving to the Administration, the Education Department released a revised state plan guide for career and technical education that is open for feedback. Visit cte.ed.gov for additional information. You can submit comments by March 11.

 

New Guidance on Student Privacy & Remembering Parkland

As the nation commemorates the one-year anniversary of the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the Department released new guidance on student privacy in the context of school safety. The guidance addresses 37 questions regarding disclosures of student information to school resource officers, law enforcement units and others.

 

Avoiding Another Government Shutdown

Finally, at the time of this filming, it looks like President Trump will sign legislation to avoid another government shutdown. Earlier this week, over 130 superintendents from more than 30 states signed a letter to the president and Congress calling for an end to the budget battle in order to secure funding for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. The letter states “We urge you to end this political food fight” – pun very much intended.

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In memory of the 17 students lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018 and the hundreds of children affected by gun violence in the year since.

See obituaries for 1,200 children who died from gun violence in the past year, from teen journalists, at https://sinceparkland.org/

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This blog post represents a slightly edited transcript of the February 15 episode of Federal Flash, the Alliance for Excellent Education’s five-minute (or less!) 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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