Government Liaison Update

The summer is not an active time for the state or federal legislatures. The current, FY 2018, and upcoming FY 2019 budget were a two-year deal, so much of the upcoming funding has already been determined. The federal Department of Education will have increased funding in the upcoming year once the budget bill is passed. Included in this funding is $12.3 billion for Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), special education grants to states. The bill would also fund the continuation of two large grant programs in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); (1) Title I funding for economically challenged schools would get $15.5 billion and (2) educator professional development efforts funded in Title II would see $2.1 billion. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program would continue to be funded at $1.2 billion, which invests in after-school programs. The bill also would provide $1.9 billion for career, technical, and adult education programs, an increase of nearly $115 million. Note that NCTM lobbied for all of these education programs. Funding for TRIO and GEAR Up (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) will continue to support first-generation college students. The Child Care Development Block Grants (CCDBG) are also included in the budget bill.

            In other federal news, the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is being debated in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. NCTM and other STEM organizations are lobbying to improve STEM education sections of this act. It is not clear how this debate will conclude. The continuation of the PROSPER Act is in question, which funds programs in higher education. It appears that federal funding for some teacher education programs are in jeopardy, including financial aid for mathematics and other teachers. NCTM and other teacher education organizations are contacting members of the House to oppose this decrease in funding.

The upcoming midterm election will make the next state legislative session interesting. I will be adding a Government Update section to ICTM’s webpage in the upcoming weeks, so check there to find out how your work with mathematics students might be affected. You can use NCTM’s Capitol Report to keep up with federal legislation. If you want to learn more about how to advocate for your profession, and the children you teach, attend my session at the ICTM Conference in October. We must be vigilant in this troubling time for public education, use these tools to stay informed. 

            —Catherine Miller