Legislative Update: Senate Restores $2 Billion Teacher Training Fund

Congress returned to D.C. after Labor Day and immediately started work to fund the government, raise the federal borrowing limit and supply relief funds to disaster victims.

On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations committee approved the FY2018 bill for Labor, HHS and Education. The good news is that the Senate did not follow the Administration’s plan to significantly reduce funding at the U.S. Department of Education and increase options for school choice. The Senate funded the Title II state grants at $2.1 billion dollars, a highly popular grant program which provides resources for teacher and principal training and class-size reduction efforts. The House bill had eliminated this program and the Administration did not request funding (see chart). This is great news for teacher professional learning. The final number for the program will still require a compromise between the Senate and House bill, but the fact that the Senate funded this program is a strong sign it wants the program to continue. Thanks to all who participated in the National Day of Action push to save Title II funding. (Read the letter NSTA and NCTM sent to appropriators here.)

The Title IVA Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants program received $450m, an increase of $50 million from FY2017 levels, but less than the $500 million requested by the House. The President also sought to eliminate this program.

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which provide after school and summer programs for thousands of students, received $1.2 billion. This program was also slated for elimination by the Administration.

Overall, the FY2018 spending bill includes $68.3 billion in funding for the Education Department, which is $29 million above this year’s level.  The Administration’s proposals to create a $250 million private school choice program and a program that would have allowed Title I funds to follow students to the school of their choice was not approved.  The bill does provide $367 million to charter schools, an increase of $25 million.  Read more here.

Update on ESSA

Many states are still facing Sept. 18 deadline to send their Every Student Succeeds Act plans to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for review and approval.

So far, the U.S. Department of Education has approved the ESSA plans from ConnecticutLouisianaNevada, New Jersey and New Mexico, North DakotaVermont, Maine, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Oregon, and Tennessee.

To find out what’s going on in your state, check out the Collaborative for Student Success Understanding ESSA website.

This is Us

The National Center for Education Statistics recently released the 2015–16 National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS), a nationally representative sample survey of public K–12 schools, principals, and teachers in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Highlights:

During the 2015–16 school year, there were an estimated 90,400 K–12 public schools in the United States, including 83,500 traditional public and 6,900 public charter schools. These schools served nearly 49.3 million students, with about 46.2 million in traditional public schools and another 3 million in public charter schools.

In the 2015–16 school year, there were an estimated 3,827,100 teachers in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States. About 3,608,600 taught in traditional public schools and about 218,500 taught in charter schools. About 80 percent of all public school teachers were nonHispanic White, 9 percent were Hispanic, 7 percent were non-Hispanic Black, and 2 percent were non-Hispanic Asian.

Among public school teachers, 77 percent were female and 23 percent were male. In addition,relatively more women were teachers in primary schools (89 percent) than in middle schools (73 percent), combined schools (70 percent), and high schools (59 percent).

On average, public school teachers had about 14 years of experience. In addition, teachers in traditional public schools had relatively more teaching experience on average (14 years) than teachers in public charter schools (10 years)

The largest percentage of public school teachers listed a master’s degree as their highest degree earned (47 percent), followed by a bachelor’s degree (41 percent).

On average, regular full-time teachers in public schools spent 53 hours per week on all school-related activities, including 27 hours that they were paid to deliver instruction to students during a typical full week. Public school teachers were required to work an average of 38 hours per week to receive their base pay.

In 2015–16, the average base salary of regular full-time teachers in public schools was $55,100. Learn more here.

I #LovePublicEducation

The American Association of School Administrators has launched the “I Love Public Education Campaign,” a year-long effort to highlight why public schools are essential to developing the future generations that will maintain our country’s status as a world leader. Learn more at http://lovepubliceducation.org/

And finally  . . . NSTA mourns the loss of Representative Vernon Ehlers, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 until his retirement in 2010.  Representative Ehlers was a strong champion of science and science education in Congress, and he will be truly missed. Read more about Rep. Ehlers here.

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2 Comments

  1. Jane Jackson
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Arizona’s plan for ESSA was approved on Sept. 6, 2017 by the U.S. Dept. of Education. The press release is on the AZ Dept. of Education website.

  2. Jessica Sawko
    Posted September 11, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks Jodi for the informative update and your hard work and advocacy at the national level. Science education is lucky to have you on our side.

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