FGN News: January 2018

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NASSP Federal Grassroots Network

Register for the 2018 Advocacy Conference

A new year means new opportunities to grow as an advocate for your students and school! Come join us for the 2018 NASSP Advocacy Conference, March 19–21, and learn how you can influence policy to help all education stakeholders. You’ll then get to test out your new skills firsthand by meeting with your congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. The conference is free to attend, so don’t miss your chance and register today!

This Month’s Top Advocacy Issues

Government Shutdown Avoided

Congress avoided a government shutdown in December by passing a continuing resolution (CR) that provides level funding for the government through January 19. One important aspect of the CR was the inclusion of $2.85 billion for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP provides insurance support for low-income children and it had expired in September. The new funding will give states some relief, as the $2.85 billion should extend the program through March. Congress will need to return on January 19 to finalize an FY 2018 budget deal.

Congress Passes a Major Tax Overhaul

Congress was certainly busy during its last week in session in 2017, as they not only passed a short-term CR, but a tax overhaul as well. H.R. 1 passed through the House and Senate and has been signed into law by President Trump. Besides the far-reaching financial implications of the bill, there are a couple of provisions directly related to education:

  • The bill puts a $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction (SALT). SALT offers potential tax breaks for individuals who pay state and local taxes on real estate, income, personal property, and sales, thus offering incentives for individuals to engage in activities that benefit education. Putting a cap on the amount that can be deducted could result in less funding for education moving forward.
  • The bill now allows for 529 plans to be used to cover expenses at public, private, and religious schools. These 529 savings plans were originally intended to be used to save money for a student to attend college. This change allows dollars to flow more freely to private institutions.
  • The bill keeps a provision that allows K–12 teachers and principals to deduct up to $250 that they personally spend on their students or classes. This deduction can also be used on out-of-pocket professional development expenses.

House Passes Higher Education Act Reauthorization Out of Committee

In early December, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed a new bill governing higher education out of committee and on to the House floor. The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, or H.R. 4508, was passed out of committee 23-17 on a party line vote. H.R. 4508 eliminates several programs that benefit principals. First, this bill would eliminate Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants—Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This program provides funds to recruit; retain; and train teachers, principals, and other school leaders. H.R. 4508 would also eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which principals are eligible for. The PSLF program forgives the remaining balance on Direct Loans after 120 qualifying monthly payments are made under a qualifying repayment plan while an individual is working full-time for a qualifying employer. Different amendments were introduced during the hearing process to restore Title II and PSLF in the bill, but both failed by committee vote.

Twitter Talk

 
 
 

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Take Action

NASSP will soon be unveiling a new action alert system that will allow you to directly connect with your government representatives via social media, email, or phone. To ensure you are notified about the launch of this new system and federal legislation affecting schools, submit your contact information here.

 

The New Tax Bill and Its Impact on Education

After months of debate, Republicans in Congress have passed a sweeping tax reform bill that was signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. Elements of this bill may directly affect education in ways that are detailed in the latest Advocacy Update blog post, which you can read here.

 

In this Month’s
Principal Leadership

Principal Leadership magazine cover

This month’s Principal Leadership features an article by Sasha Pudelski, assistant director of policy and advocacy at The School Superintendents Association (AASA), and a co-chair of the National Coalition for Public Education. This article focuses on the importance of public education and highlights the lack of data showing the effectiveness of school voucher systems.

All FGN members are invited to write a guest article for Principal Leadership or blog post for School of Thought. Just email Senior Manager of Advocacy Zachary Scott with your idea.

 

Collaborations

In November, NASSP partnered with the International Literacy Association to host an event on Capitol Hill titled "Improving Student Literacy: Leadership Needed at Every Level." The event focused on how literacy can help all students succeed, and why it is crucial that educators receive support that enables them to effectively aid in improving the literacy of all students.


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