EducationCounsel is a mission-based education consulting firm that combines experience in policy, strategy, law, and advocacy to drive significant improvements in the U.S. education system.
On April 28, President Joe Biden unveiled his American Families Plan, which is his third proposal to support recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The American Families Plan would provide an estimated $1.8 trillion over ten years and builds upon the president’s previously proposed $2.5 trillion American Jobs Plan, which is focused on the nation’s infrastructure, and the already-enacted $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). Complementing the American Jobs Plan proposed investments in early childhood, K-12, and higher education facilities, the American Families Plan proposes additional significant investments in child care and early childhood education, educator preparation and support, as well as higher education access and support.
On April 21, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) published the state plan template for State Educational Agencies (SEAs) to complete in order to receive the final tranche of funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER). Previously, on March 24, the Department made available the first two-thirds of ARP ESSER funding (approximately $81 billion) for SEAs based on an array of assurances, including submission of future plans as required by USED. To receive the final third of ARP ESSER funding (approximately $41 billion), SEAs must submit their state plans by June 7, 2021, which provides SEAs slightly more than six weeks to complete their plans.
In 2019, we made the case for why our education agenda must prioritize adopting a learning systems approach in education at all levels, and we articulated a framework for what such a system should look like and include, in terms of both design and culture. In this follow-up report with Carnegie Corporation of New York, we attempt to answer the question of how we begin to make and accelerate these shifts, drawing on the insights and experiences of those leaders in the field doing the hard work to create a learning systems approach in their own contexts. The paper identifies seven main challenges with the current status of our framework’s learning systems infrastructures and six recommendations that are ripe for action. Some would represent new efforts, while others would accelerate and expand efforts already underway.
On March 31, President Joe Biden unveiled his American Jobs Plan, which is the second part of his two-step economic plan for rescue – as enacted in the American Rescue Plan Act which provided $1.9 trillion in additional coronavirus relief – and now recovery. According to a fact sheet released by the Biden Administration, the proposal would “invest about $2 trillion this decade” in traditional infrastructure, such as school and child care facilities, high-speed broadband, roads, clean energy, research and development, etc. This summary is of the major education-related provisions within the American Jobs Plan, including details on the proposed significant investments in early childhood, elementary and secondary school, and higher education facilities.
On March 11, President Joe Biden signed H.R.1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), which will provide $1.9 trillion in funding to support continued relief and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. This expands on prior packages, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020 (approximately $2.2 trillion) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act in December 2020 (approximately $900 billion). This summary is of the major education provisions within the ARP, including details on the significant investments in early childhood and child care, elementary and secondary education, and higher education.
Amid the profound disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, some schools and districts have responded with highly innovative staffing and scheduling strategies. They are extending the reach of great teachers, leveraging co-teaching models and teacher teams in new ways, and creating more flexible student groupings and more student-centric classrooms-all with the goal of playing to teachers’ strengths, better serving students, and providing more support for educators. This report, from Future Ed and EducationCounsel, explores these new staffing strategies, the conditions that enabled them, how educators have overcome barriers to the innovations, and what it would take to sustain and scale them post-pandemic.
On January 20, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into their respective Offices, marking the official beginning of the Biden Administration. During the first few days of the new administration, President Biden took several executive actions, some of which have notable education and early childhood impacts. The summary provides a detailed look at President Biden’s early actions related to education, including signing multiple Executive Orders and Memoranda on day one of his presidency followed by additional executive actions on his second and third days in office. Additionally, the president released a National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, which includes a goal to safely reopen schools, businesses, and travel while protecting workers.
Secretary Riley reflects on successful strategies to transform schools in rural communities. Read more.
In 2019, we made the case for why our education agenda must prioritize adopting a learning systems approach in education at all levels, and we articulated a framework for what such a system should look like and include.
More recently and in collaboration with Carnegie Corporation of New York and Lynn Olson, we attempted to answer the question of how we begin to make and accelerate these shifts, drawing on the insights and experiences of those leaders in the field doing the hard work to create a learning systems approach in their own contexts. The research for this paper reinforced an important lesson for anyone seeking to advance a learning system approach: we must be learners ourselves, adjusting our strategies in response to new information. This includes understanding how our theories are playing out in reality, including the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and the economic crisis as well as ongoing challenges to racial justice in our schools and communities. It also means looking for opportunities and mitigating risks in new laws such as the American Rescue Plan.
By Gina Adams, Danielle Ewen, and Grace Luetmer
As COVID-19 began to spread in the United States last March, many child care centers and home-based child care providers closed. And although providers have slowly begun to return to work, as of December, the workforce is still nearly 20 percent smaller than it was before the pandemic.
When compared with the 6 percent national drop in employment over the same time period, the challenges facing the child care field are clear. These massive job losses plague a workforce already beset with low wages and challenging working conditions.
And because the child care/early childhood education (CC/ECE) field is disproportionately composed of Black and Latina women, who face inequitable opportunities and significant wage gaps, this crisis has had a major impact on the earnings and career trajectories of many women of color.
The Trump Administration recently waded into waters reserved – not only by tradition but also by federal law – for state and local educational agencies: what curriculum is taught in public schools. Most significantly, the President threatened to withhold federal education funding from the state of California if it uses the 1619 Project curriculum. In a September 17 speech delivered at the White House Conference on American History, he described that particular curriculum (and other anti-racist approaches) as “toxic propaganda, ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together.” He also announced the creation of a 1776 Commission that would “promote patriotic education” and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant that would fund the creation of “a pro-American curriculum that celebrates the truth about our nation’s great history.”
Many education and legal experts quickly pointed out that federal law prohibits the federal government from getting involved in state and local decisions about curriculum.
Through its long-standing engagement with GLSEN, a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting and supporting LGBTQ+ inclusive schools, EducationCounsel has authored numerous amicus briefs along with Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP on behalf of GLSEN, the National PTA, the American School Counselor Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists (referred to as “amici” below) in the U.S. Supreme Court and several federal circuit courts of appeal.
While equitable access to school restrooms may seem unimportant and tangential to some, being able to use the restroom that matches his gender identity has been the plight of Gavin Grimm, and to an increasing number of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, for many years. His journey continues with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing oral arguments on his case late last month — for the second time.
Last year, EducationCounsel filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of Gavin (Grimm v. Gloucester Country School Board). Gavin, who identifies as transgender, is a former student of Gloucester County Schools and has been fighting for relief from a policy that prevented him from using bathrooms and locker rooms that corresponded with his identity.
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