Advocacy Update: How the Congressional Budget Deal Impacts Principals

The new budget deal paves the way for federal funding for professional learning and support for teachers and principals.

By Danny Carlson
February 2018, Volume 41, Issue 6

Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget

On February 8, the Senate and the House approved a two-year budget deal that includes significant funding increases for defense and discretionary programs, providing federal budget stability through September 2019. On February 9, President Trump signed the legislation into law.

How We Got Here

As NAESP’s new assistant executive director of policy & advocacy, I’ve spent my first few weeks on the job meeting with Members of Congress’ staff, engaging with other national education organizations, and developing an advocacy strategic plan that focuses on leveraging the principal’s perspective in the policymaking process. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you in the coming weeks. If you have advocacy ideas or feedback on this newsletter, please reach out to me directly at Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter(@dannydcarlson), where I share real-time updates about issues relevant to principals happening on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Department of Education.

On January 22, Congress passed a short-term funding bill, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), to extend government funding through February 8, which gave Congressional leaders additional time to reach an agreement on a long-term budget deal. On February 7, a day before the CR was set to expire, Senate leadership announced they had agreed to a two-year funding package. Passage of the legislation though was not assured, as some fiscal conservatives raised concerns about the measure’s impact on the deficit, and some House Democrats opposed advancing the legislation without a commitment from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to hold a vote to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections for “DREAMers”. In the end, the bill passed the House 240 to 186.

Impact on Principals?

So, why does the budget deal matter to principals? By significantly boosting discretionary funding above current levels—$63 billion more in 2018 and $68 billion more in 2019—the budget deal paves the way for, but does not guarantee, robust investments in Title II, Part A, which is the only dedicated source of federal funding for professional learning and leadership support for teachers and principals. States and districts rely on this funding to invest in principal preparation and professional development activities, such as principal residencies, job-embedded and cohort-based professional learning, and mentorship opportunities for aspiring principals. NAESP will focus its advocacy efforts over the next few weeks on urging Congress to fully fund Title II, Part A at no less than $2.295 billion.

FY 2019 Budget

The Trump Administration announced it will release its FY 2019 Budget request on February 12. NAESP will be working with other national groups to oppose cuts to education programs, as it did last year when the Administration’s FY 2018 Budget called for the elimination of the Title II program.

Higher Education Act (HEA)

In December 2017, the House Education and the Workforce Committee passed, along party lines, legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). The legislation includes provisions that could negatively impact principals, including the elimination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The Senate is expected to write its own version of HEA reauthorization in the coming months. NAESP’s advocacy efforts will focus on pushing for loan forgiveness for principals and provisions that support the recruitment and preparation of teachers and principals. Stay tuned for ways you can become engaged.

“Homework Gap” Letter Sent To Department Of Education

NAESP and 19 other national organizations sent a letter on January 31 to the Institute of Education Sciences—the statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education—to urge the agency to complete an overdue report that was required under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The report, which was due in June of 2017, will examine the barriers that students face in accessing digital resources and the impact it has on their ability to effectively complete assigned homework. To read the letter, click here.

Want to Make Your Voice Heard?

Please contact your members of Congress today and urge them to stand with America’s students and educators by negotiating an FY 2018 Omnibus bill that fully funds Title II, Part A at no less than $2.295 billion. Visit NAESP’s Legislative Action Center to contact your member of Congress.

Danny Carlson is NAESP’s assistant executive director of policy & advocacy.

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