August on Capitol Hill means one thing: August recess. It's a time for members of Congress to return home to meet with constituents, participate in trips abroad to meet with foreign leaders, and to spend time with family. This August, though, is different. In June, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he was cancelling most of August recess, giving Senators just a one-week break. The House meanwhile is sticking with tradition and will be out of session through Labor Day.

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Principal PD Funding Faring Well In FY19 Budget Bill (So Far)

Soon after Congress passed the 2018 budget bill in March, preserving Title II, Part A funding at $2.055 billion, attention quickly turned to the FY19 budget process. Over the past few weeks, NAESP has been on Capitol Hill advocating for robust funding for our priorities in the FY19 budget. As part of this effort, NAESP along with other educator groups, sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging Title II, Part A be fully funded at its authorized level of $2.295 billion. Appropriations Committees in the Senate and the House recently passed their respective education funding bills, which preserve Title II, Part A funding at $2.055 billion, and include critical funding for other education programs. 

Why this matters: Title II, Part A is the only dedicated federal funding stream for principal professional development and support. States and districts rely heavily on Title II for professional development, mentoring programs, principal preparation, and boosting principal pipelines.

Don’t Forget: While Title II, Part A is a focus of NAESP’s advocacy efforts, federal budgets provide critical funding for other education priorities like Title I ($15.8 billion), Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants/Title IV-A ($1.1 billion), and IDEA ($12.3 billion).

Deeper Dive: Curious how much federal funding goes to education programs in your state? Take a peek at this state-by-state breakdown (NOTE: Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants refers to Title II, Part A)

What's next? Congressional leaders have signaled a desire to complete and pass the FY19 funding bill before the November elections, but this remains a tall order due to a compressed legislative calendar. The smart money is on Congress passing a short-term extension (Continuing Resolution) in September to keep the government running and punting passage of the FY19 budget until after the elections.

Higher Education Act – Principal Preparation Programs

House Democrats recently released a bill—the Aim Higher Act—which would update the Higher Education Act. The bill focuses on college affordability, student loans, and educator preparation programs. NAESP supports provisions in this legislation that would boost principal preparation programs, including expanding principal residencies and clinically oriented preparation opportunities. Federal support is critical for institutes of higher education looking to expand residencies or clinical preparation. The shift—including reimagining time, coursework, and partnerships with school districts—can be an expensive proposition

Why this matters: Strong principal preparation programs that focus on job-embedded, clinical practice can greatly enrich a principal candidate's readiness for the job.

Preschool Development Grants

NAESP continues to advocate for a strong federal investment in early education programs. In its FY18 budget proposal, the Trump administration called for eliminating funding for the Preschool Development Grants program. Congress in its FY18 budget, however, allocated $250 million per year to continue the program. Starting on August 14, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will begin soliciting funding requests from states wishing to receive funding under this program. HHS expects to make up to 40 grants to states, ranging from $500,000 to $10 million.

Why this matters: Preschool Development Grants help states increase the number of high-quality slots available for children from low- and moderate-income families. States have leveraged these grants to increase program length from half-day to full-day; limit class size and decrease staff-child ratios; provide coaching to teachers, and add comprehensive services to programs.