Last Thursday, the House agreed to a temporary spending measure by a vote of 329-91, and the Senate is expected to approve the six-month funding bill later this week. The spending bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR) allows all federal programs to operate under the same terms and conditions as in the Fiscal Year 2012 bill through March 27, 2013, so no programs will be eliminated.
Unusual in the current political climate, the CR actually includes an across-the-board increase of 0.612 percent for all federal programs. For the U. S. Department of Education (ED), this increase results in $416.8 million in extra funding.
One important issue emerged for NAESP in the CR concerning the current federal definition of highly qualified teachers for students in alternative certification programs. Unfortunately, the CR extends the current definition, allowing those enrolled, but who have not yet completed alternative teacher certification programs, to be considered highly qualified. NAESP believes this is an important issue that deserves robust debate in ESEA reauthorization, but has no place in a funding bill. NAESP worked closely with the Coalition for Teacher Quality on this issue, and was successful in securing report language asking state and local education agencies to report to ED which student subgroups are taught by teachers not deemed highly qualified.
Expect an update on the six-month CR when the bill passes the Senate.