NASSP Weekly Federal Policy Update

On February 18, 2011, in High School Reform, by Mary Kingston


Debate on House HR 1 Continues: H.R.1, the bill proposed by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) known as the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, continues to be debated on the House floor after a late night of debates last night. The current Continuing Resolution that the government is operating under expires on March 4, so action is needed soon on another CR to avoid government shut-down. HR 1 seeks to slash several billion from the FY 2011 budget in order to reduce the federal deficit, and would cause drastic cuts to education, so we’re calling upon you to take action. H.R. 1 would impose the greatest education cut in history, cutting education programs by over $10.5 billion or 15.4%. We cannot afford to let this legislation pass and we need you, as a school leader advocate, to help us convince members of Congress why. The final vote in the House may occur tomorrow, so we need you to act TODAY: Go here to send a letter to your members of Congress to oppose such a heavy blow to education funding. Read more on the status of FY 11 appropriations in the News section below.

President Obama Releases FY 2012 Budget Request: President Obama proved that his words in his State of the Union Address to invest in education were not just rhetoric when he called for a $2 billion increase in education funding over last year’s budget request, compared to a 5-year funding freeze for other discretionary programs in his FY 2012 budget request. NASSP applauds the President for his investment in education but is concerned about the consolidations of key programs valuable for school leaders and is also disappointed in his greater investment in competitive grants (Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation) versus formula grants like Title I and IDEA that our highest-need students really need. Read NASSP Executive Director Gerald N. Tirozzi’s statement on the President’s Budget Request:

Secretary Duncan’s comments on competitive vs. formula funding: “The President’s proposal to fix the No Child Left Behind Act focuses on schools and students at-risk and on meaningful reforms that will help these students succeed…. He does not want those programs dedicated to at-risk students to become competitive. And, he does not want to reduce the funds distributed by formula.” For more information visit


Public Education Targeted in new Oklahoma Legislation
Oklahoma state officials have approved several bills aimed at redesigning the state’s public school system. The legislation includes a requirement that the state Department of Education issue letter grades for public schools and a restructuring of the state Board of Education. State Sen. Clark Jolley, who authored one of the bills, said of the new legislation, “I think we’ve worried far too long about the people that are in the system, from the administrators’ side and the teachers’ side, and we haven’t cared as much about the students as we should”. To read more visit

States Prepare for Long, Drawn Out Budget Battle

At a time when state and local governments are sorely in need of federal financial aid, Obama’s education heavy budget plan will have a difficult time passing a Congress intent on decreasing federal spending. “It’s going to be really hard to work out a compromise. We’re worried we’re going to end up with a government shutdown” says Joel Packer, executive director of the Committee for Education Funding. State and local governments are already gearing up for a tough year financially, drastically cutting education spending and preparing for teacher layoffs. To read more visit
National Summit Brings Teachers, Administrators Together for Common Goal

The Department of Education has sponsored a national conference to unite teacher unions and school leaders over school improvement initiatives. The conference, held in Denver, Colorado, will help facilitate dialogue between the two groups on controversial topics such as teacher evaluation. “It’s a big deal,” says Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City schools. “We have enormous challenges ahead of us, and if we’re not all pulling in the same direction on it, we’re not likely to get the results the public expects”. To read more visit

Obama Threatens Veto of House Republican Spending Plan

The Obama administration has issued the following warning to the House as they continue debates on budget legislation: “if the President is presented with a bill that undermines critical priorities or national security through funding levels or restrictions, contains earmarks, or curtails the drivers of long-term economic growth and job creation while continuing to burden future generations with deficits, the President will veto the bill.” To read more visit


CEP Warns Stimulus Reforms in Danger of Losing Momentum
A report published Thursday by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) warns education reforms initiated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) may be discontinued as states drastically cut education budgets. The report, while expressing concern for the future of ARRA reform efforts, acknowledges ARRA’s helpfulness in accelerating and fostering education reform movements. To read the report visit


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