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Posts Tagged ‘federal grants’

Department of Labor Announces New Workforce Innovation Fund Grants

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

On December 22, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced the availability of $98.5 million in new Workforce Innovation Fund grants. These grants provide funding for programs that support, evaluate and enhance workforce investment strategies, particularly for vulnerable populations. The three stated goals of the grants are: better results for jobseekers and employers, greater efficiency in the delivery of quality services, and stronger cooperation across programs and funding streams.

Grants will be awarded in one of three categories:

Eligible entities include state workforce agencies, local workforce investment boards, and tribes, tribal consortia, or tribal non-profit organizations that are eligible to apply for WIA Section 166 grants. Grant applications are due March 22, 2012.

More information can be found here.

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Third Race to the Top Competition Focused on STEM Education

Monday, November 21st, 2011

The U.S. Department of Education has announced a third round of Race to the Top grants, this time specifically targeting STEM. Grants will total $200 million during this competition, but only nine states are eligible to apply: Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. These states were the runners up in the last round of grants. Grants will range in amount from $12 million to $49 million, depending on state population.

The application process will have two stages. First, states will submit a portfolio of assurances confirming their commitment to comprehensively reform education in their state, including funding for education and efforts to enhance data systems, raise academic standards, and improve evaluation systems. Next, states will submit a detailed plan and budget explaining how their proposal will impact student learning and improve STEM education.

Applicants must submit part one by November 22, followed by part two by December 16. Awards will be announced in late December.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: ESEA, i3 Grants

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Education Department Announces Highest-Rated i3 Applicants

The U.S. Department of Education this week announced the 23 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant applicants who will receive grants, provided that they obtain private sector matching funds by December 9, 2011. The purpose of this program is to provide competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

“Investing in these vital innovations across the country has the potential to dramatically enhance learning and accelerate student performance and to do so cost-effectively” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This round of i3 grantees is poised to have real impact in areas of critical need including STEM education and rural communities, on projects ranging from early childhood interventions to school turnaround models that will prepare more students for college and career.”

Two applicants stood out to me as projects that could be aligned to CTE. First, the North Carolina New Schools Project’s Validating Early College Strategies will partner with 8 rural LEAs to implement early college high school strategies in 18 high schools serving high need students. Second, the goal of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative’s Career and College Readiness Transformations project is to improve student achievement and increased graduation rates, and increased access to and success in college through links between education and work.

You can find more details about all prospective grantees here.

Senate ESEA Hearing

On Tuesday, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of ESEA in response to Sen. Rand Paul’s (KY) objections during the committee markup last month. During opening statements, Ranking Member Sen. Mike Enzi (WY) said that states must take responsibility for accountability and make sure that students are college and career ready in a way that works for students.

Witnesses, who included school superintendents, administrators, teachers, special education advocates and other education policy representatives, discussed the pros and cons of the draft ESEA bill passed by the committee. They spoke about the burdens that the current law has placed on teachers and administrators, as well as the value of local control versus federal involvement in education. Witnesses were concerned about the draft bill’s elimination of performance targets.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: ESEA, Bills Introduced

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Senate Marks Up ESEA

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee met on Wednesday to begin markup the draft Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization bill introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (IA) last week. The markup was threatened with delays when Senator Rand Paul (KY) objected to the Committee meeting longer than two hours after the Senate convened on Wednesday. This is a procedural rule, rarely employed in the Senate, that is almost always waived. Senator Paul was concerned that no hearing had been held on the bill this session (10 were held last session) and he felt there was not enough time to review the bill before the markup. On Thursday, Senators Harkin and Enzi (WY) reached an agreement with Senator Paul that in exchange for dropping his objection, the Committee will hold a hearing on the bill on November 8.

The Committee reported the bill last night by a vote of 15-7. Three Republicans, Senators Enzi, Lamar Alexander (TN) and Mark Kirk (IL), joined all Democrats in voting for the bill. Senator Harkin hopes to bring the bill to the floor for debate and a vote before Thanksgiving.

During the markup, Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) introduced an amendment to expand internships and apprenticeships, with the goal of alleviating dropouts and providing skills training. Because the amendment would require locals to use the money for this purpose, several Senators opposed it, but said they would support it if it were an allowable use of funds. Blumenthal agreed to withdraw the amendment and change the language, but wants to be sure that there are strong incentives for locals to use funding for internships and apprenticeships.

Bills Introduced

Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act

This week Senators Menendez (NJ), Reid (NV), Harkin (IA), Stabenow (MI) and Casey (PA) introduced S. 1723, Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act.  The bill contains the provision of the American Jobs Act that provides $35 billion to create or protect education jobs, as well as jobs for police officers and firefighters.  The jobs supported in this bill are not just teachers, but any public school K12 employee.

However, last night the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the bill by a vote of 50-50. All Republicans voted against it, as did Senators Lieberman (CT), Nelson (NE) and Pryor (AR). As result, the bill will not be voted on.

Preparing Students for Success in the Global Economy Act

Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Al Franken (MN), Mark Begich (AK), and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) introduced S. 1675, Preparing Students for Success in the Global Economy Act. This bill aims to increase student access to courses in STEM subjects and provide additional resources to recruit, train, and support STEM teachers.

Grantees must include in their applications a description of how their activities will be coordinated with other programs and activities, including Perkins-funded CTE programs. Local subgrantees must also describe in their applications how grant funds will be coordinated with programs and activities, including Perkins-funded CTE programs.

“If we don’t train our children for the jobs of the future, we won’t be able to compete in the future,” Merkley said. “Whenever I talk to companies like Intel back in Oregon, they tell me that STEM education is key, and in far too many schools, the resources aren’t there to prepare our students for careers in engineering and science. This legislation will help address this deficit.”

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: House Appropriations, Community College Grants, ESEA Markup

Friday, September 30th, 2011

House Labor-HHS-Education Funding Bill Released

As we told you this morning, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education released a draft of their FY12 appropriations bill. The bill provides for $153.4 billion in discretionary spending, which is $4 billion below FY11 enacted levels. However, this is a much smaller cut than the $18 billion proposed in Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (WI) FY12 budget plan.

Perkins Act funding was maintained in the House’s current proposal, but not all education and workforce programs fared as well. The bill eliminates 31 programs from the Department of Education, including the Elementary and Secondary Counseling Act, High School Graduation Initiative, Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation grants, and FIPSE. The Pell grant maximum award was maintained at $5,550, but eligibility was eliminated for less-than–half-time students and the proposal would reduce the semesters that a student can receive the grant from 18 to 12.

Programs within the Department of Labor saw significant cuts, including:

The bill is not scheduled to be marked up by the Appropriations Committee, but these funding levels will likely be part of a House omnibus bill.

TAA Community College Grants Awarded

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter announced $500 million in Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants to 32 community colleges this week. The grants will be used for targeted training and workforce development to help dislocated workers obtain the skills they need to change careers. The grants support partnerships between community colleges and employers to develop programs that provide career pathways and build instructional programs that meet industry needs. Congress allocated $2 billion for the TAACCCT program to be awarded in each of fiscal years 2011-2014.  A list of grantees can be found here.

Senate ESEA Markup Scheduled

Senator Tom Harkin (IA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced that they will markup an Elementary and Secondary Education Act bill on October 18. In a statement, Harkin said “This reauthorization is now more than four years overdue, and our students, schools, and communities cannot afford to wait any longer.” Draft language has not yet been released, but we will keep you posted on any further developments.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation
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Senate Proposes Level Funding for Perkins Act

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education marked up their FY 2012 appropriations bill this afternoon. The bill would reduce FY12 funding from the FY 2011 enacted level by $308 million. While we have not yet seen bill language, we have learned that Perkins Act funding would be level funded. Given the fiscal climate on Capitol Hill, and the number of programs cut and eliminated in FY11, we are encouraged by the Senate’s plan to maintain Perkins funding. Some of the other highlights of the bill include:

The subcommittee voted 10 – 8 in favor of referring the bill to the full committee, and it is expected to be marked up tomorrow. The bill will not likely be considered on the Senate floor, but will be included as part of an omnibus bill later this fall.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Applications Now Available

Monday, September 19th, 2011

The U.S. Department of Education has announced the 2012 competition for the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program. Grants will range from $1 million to $5 million and will last for a three-year period. Final amounts will depend on the final appropriation and state applications.

State education agencies that did not receive an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant are eligible to apply. The grants require states to develop and implement statewide data systems containing the elements specified in the America COMPETES Act. This year’s grants also require states to focus their grant applications on one of the following three priorities:

  1. Early childhood: Grants under this priority may be used to develop and link early childhood data with the state’s K–12 data system. This coordinated early learning data system must include the child, program, and workforce data elements described as Essential Data Elements in the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge program. Maximum grant award $4 million.
  2. K–12: Grants under this priority may be used to design, develop, and implement a statewide, longitudinal kindergarten through grade 12 data system. Maximum grant award $5 million.
  3. Postsecondary and/or workforce: Grants under this priority may be used to develop and link postsecondary and/or workforce data to the state’s K–12 data system. At a minimum, this must include the postsecondary data required by the America COMPETES Act elements, and “states are encouraged to develop their own postsecondary data and not simply purchase this data from an organization external to the agencies partnering under this application.” Maximum grant award $4 million.

Within each priority area, states must use grant funds to address minimum capacity requirements in three categories: governance and policy requirements, technical requirements, and data use requirements.

Applications are due December 15, 2011. The anticipated start date for the grants is May 1, 2012.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Rebuilding America’s Schools Act Could Provide Funding for CTE Schools

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

There are two bills moving through Congress that, if passed, would provide funding for school renovation and repair. Rep. Charles Rrangel (NY) and Sen. John D. Rockefeller (WV) have introduced H.R. 2394 and S. 796, respectively. These two bills, also known as the Rebuilding America’s Schools Act, would extend funding for the qualified school construction bond program and the national limitation amounts for bonds issued under the qualified zone academy bond (QZAB) program through 2015. The amount of funding proposed in these bills is $1.4 billion. If the bills are not passed, funding will expire on December 31 of this year.

These competitive programs provide schools districts with noninterest-bearing bonds that can be used for school renovations and repairs as well as other improvements. The school district must pay the principal back within 15 years. A 10 percent match is required from a business or nonprofit partner which can be in cash or in-kind donations. The match partner works with the school district to set up a QZAB Academy that “prepares students for college or workforce.”

Schools are eligible for funds if 35 percent or more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals or if the school is located in an enterprise community or empowerment zone. The funds provide an opportunity for CTE schools that meet this criteria to update and renovate buildings as well as invest in equipment and up-to-date technology.

To voice your support for these bills, contact the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to the majority staff on the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Ways and Means Committee.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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PARCC Assessment Consortium Launches New Website

Monday, June 20th, 2011

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is one of two consortia developing next-generation assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The group of 24 states received a $186 million Race to the Top grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create the tests. Recently, PARCC unveiled a new website to provide more accessible information on the consortium’s work.

The website will provide viewers with information on the PARCC consortium, progress in developing and implementing the assessments, and more. In the Classroom is a page dedicated to supporting teachers as they plan for the arrival of the new assessments. Also, the PARCC States site highlights the states participating in the consortium, and gives detailed information about each state’s commitment to college and career readiness.

Stay informed of the group’s progress by signing up for the PARCC mailing list.

By Kara in News, Resources
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Obama: ‘Replace No Child Left Behind This Year’

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

In his weekly radio address, President Barack Obama highlighted a Memphis school’s successful turnaround as a model for school reform. Citing efforts made by the school’s teachers, principals and parents, Obama advocated for more locally-driven education rather than a top-down approach with heavy federal government involvement. He urged that changes in legislation need to take place this year.

Obama stated that, “We need to promote reform that gets results while encouraging communities to figure out what’s best for their kids. That’s why it’s so important that Congress replace No Child Left Behind this year – so schools have that flexibility.” The President also pushed for his education initiative, Race to the Top, to grant competitive funding to states whose innovative reform efforts yield positive results.

Though Obama calls for a rewrite of the law by the 2011-2012 school year, Rep. John Kline (MN) stated last week that the timeline isn’t feasible.

While the Senate presses for more comprehensive legislation, the House will pursue a piecemeal approach by proposing several separate bills in the upcoming months. The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce will begin the process by holding a markup of an ESEA repeals bill this Wednesday. The proposed bill, Rep. Hunter’s Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act, would eliminate 43 education programs.

By Kara in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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