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Legislative Update: Appropriations, Election 2012

Tentative Date Set for Senate Appropriations Markup

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education has tentatively scheduled markup of their FY13 appropriations bill for June 12th.  As we previously reported, the Labor-HHS-Education bill sets a 302(b) funding level of $157.7 billion.

House Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee Chairman Dennis Rehberg (MT) previously stated that he does not intend to mark up their bill until after the Supreme Court rules on the status of the Affordable Care Act, which is expected to happen in late June.

Romney Provides Insight into Education Policy

Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Governor Mitt Romney (MA) focused on education this week. On Tuesday he released the names of his team of education policy advisors. You will recognize many of the names from the Bush Administration, including former Secretary of Education Rod Paige, former OVAE Assistant Secretary Carol D’Amico, and former ETA Assistant Secretary Emily DeRocco. A complete list can be found here.

On Wednesday Governor Romney gave a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, setting forth his education policies. The overarching theme of the speech centered on increased parental choice, especially for low-income and special need students, as a way to expand opportunities for students. While he did not mention CTE specifically, he did state, “…[S]ince we live in a twenty-first century economy that increasingly demands a college education, efforts at improvement can’t stop at high school’s end. Students must have access to a wide variety of options that will give them the skills they need for successful careers.”

In a white paper released on Wednesday, A Chance For Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education, Governor Romney laid out more details of this proposed education policies:

K-12 Education

  • Make Title I and IDEA funds portable so that eligible students can choose which school to attend and bring funding with them.
  • Require states to adopt open-enrollment policies for students receiving Title I and IDEA funds, and to eliminate caps on charter and digital schools.
  • Replace federally-mandated school interventions with a requirement that states create public report cards that evaluate each school on its contribution to student learning.
  • Consolidate federal teacher quality programs and offer states flexible block grants if they adopt policies to advance and reward teacher quality.
  • Eliminate unnecessary certification requirements that discourage new teachers, such as the “highly qualified teacher” requirement.

Higher Education

  • Consolidate duplicative and complex financial aid programs within the Department of Education.
  • Increase private sector participation in the student loan market in providing information, financing, and education itself.
  • Encourage market entry by innovative new education models, emphasize skill attainment instead of time spent in the classroom, and support research and development.
  • Repeal confusing and unnecessary regulations that primarily serve to drive costs higher, and replace them with common-sense reforms that ensure appropriate student outcomes.

 Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

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