January 26, 2019(2)

 Permanent link

Introducing Public Education Policy (PEP) Talk, the AASA Advocacy Podcast!

We’re trying something new in the new year: we’re launching Public Education Policy (PEP) Talk, the AASA podcast. 

PEP Talk is the officially unofficial podcast for the AASA advocacy team, and this podcast is one more way to engage with our advocacy team. 

PEP Talk will focus on the research, advocacy, and policies impacting public school superintendents. Guests will include superintendents, researchers, advocates, policymakers, and other folks doing interesting things in the field. If we do it right, with each episode you’ll learn something new and hopefully come away thinking about some of these issues in a new light.

Each episode will be a new topic from a different angle. We’ll talk federal, state and local policies impacting superintendents and public education. We’ll talk advocacy. We’ll bring in folks to discuss new and interesting research and emerging trends in the field. . . and any other topic we think you might want to hear about. 


If you have a show idea or guest you think we should have on, shoot me a note: nellerson@aasa.org or on twitter @Noellerson.

Check out our first episode, where Sasha and I talk all things AASA Advocacy, including everything to expect and consider in 2019!!

January 26, 2019(1)

(ESEA) Permanent link

USED Releases Non-Binding Guidance on Supplement, Not Supplant Provision in ESSA Title I

As if the temporary end of the shutdown wasn’t exciting enough, on Friday, USED contributed to a busy education-policy new cycle by releasing non-binding guidance related to the supplement, not supplant provisions of ESSA Title I.


  • Background: ‘Supplement, not supplant’ (SNS) is a provision in federal law designed to ensure that federal funds are in addition to—not in place of—state and local dollars. The guidance released on Friday applies only to ESSA Title I, but not to other federal education programs that may have separate SNS provisions. Under NCLB, the SNS provisions had been beefed up to a level that was burdensome and unnecessarily complicated. While the core provision remains unchanged from NCLB to ESSA, the big change is that under ESSA, no LEA can be required to identify that an individual cost or service is supplemental. This provision rules out requiring an LEA to use the three presumptions to comply with the supplement not supplant requirement, which were based on an analysis of individual costs. LEAs no longer have to demonstrate SNS at the individual cost or service level. Congressional Research Service released a good primer on SNS in early 2015.
  • New Guidance: The guidance released by USED is a very light touch, especially compared to the regulations proposed under the Obama administration. The guidance released on Friday aligns much more closely with the guidance document that had been released in the summer of 2015 (before ESSA was even reauthorized!) You’ll recall AASA had deepreservations regarding the Obama regs, which mandated equalized spending and would have resulted in forced transfers, among other concerns. The new guidance avoids those traps, also clarifies that LEAs do not have to publicly disclose their SNS methodology on their websites, but does clarify that LEAs can’t simply use their per-pupil spending to demonstrate compliance with SNS. The guidance includes sample methods LEAs can use in demonstrating SNS, clarifies that list is not finite, and reiterates that USED cannot mandate the SNS methodology.


You can read the guidance here.

January 26, 2019

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Join Us for a Fun Run at NCE! See You in LA!

This blog comes from Noelle Ellerson Ng, associate executive director for policy and advocacy, avid runner, and someone who loves to share a great running community with AASA members.

We interrupt the policy focus of this blog to share information related to a fun run opportunity at NCE. 

After 4 years of successful ‘officially unofficial fun runs’ at the AASA advocacy conference, we are bringing the fun to NCE. Pack a set of work out clothes, throw in your sneakers, and #justshowup for a little #freefitness and fun before the Friday meetings.

As you know, I love education policy, DC and running. I also love running in new cities, and NCE represents a great way to host a fun run, a way to combine running in LA before we get to the education policy and education leadership work of NCE. It’s a chance to get some fresh air, see the city before it fully wakes up, before a day of networking and learning.

This year, for our inaugural ‘Officially Unofficial Fun Run’ at the National Conference on Education in LA, we will run on Friday morning, February 15, at 6 am. The run is open to any and all fitness levels and paces. We will be working out with November Project LA, the LA chapter of my favorite DC running community.


  • What to Expect: The workout is circuit based, meaning it is NOT point to point, so no need to worry about pace, getting lost, or being left behind. The workouts always include options for modifying up/down based on your fitness level or workout goals. Generally speaking, November Project workouts combine running (usually ¼ - ½ mile at a time, broken up with ‘spice’, different types of body weight exercises: squats, pushups, burpees, and the like). You can go as fast or slow as you like. 
  • Details: We will workout with the LA chapter of my favorite DC run club, November Project. The group is one of the most welcoming running communities I have run with, and I have brought supts to not only the DC location, but also San Diego and New Orleans when our conferences were in those cities. And now, LA!!


If you are interested in participating in this year's run (including if you aren't sure but want to receive information about it!, please submit your name and email address at the RSVP link here

Please note that this is a fun run, and all runners/walkers participate of their own will. Participants assume all responsibility for any related fun, enjoyment, sweating, or incident.  



January 25, 2019

(ED FUNDING) Permanent link

The federal shutdown is, well, shut down. For now.

Late on Friday, both the House and Senate passed a short-term continuing resolution and the president signed it into law, bringing the longest partial government shutdown in history to close in its 35th day. Following increased pressure amid growing negative polling, and air stops in major airports due to lack of workers, which sent ripples up and down the east coast, the president announced he would sign a funding deal to temporarily end the shutdown. 

The agreement level funds the portions of the government that had been shutdown, buying Congress time to wrap up the appropriations work for FY19. In addition to funding the government through February 15, the agreement creates a conference committee on homeland security. This committee will have the three week work period to negotiate the deal. The short term deal includes zero money for the border wall. The path forward remains anything but certain, as the president has already indicated that he remains open to declaring an emergency to secure funding for the wall. It is feasible Congress could pass stand alone bills for all impacted portions of the government (except homeland security, the slice of the pie that would include funding for a wall). That said, this path forward, funding all parts of government except homeland security would significantly reduce the consequence of another shutdown, as well as dilute any perceived pressure the president could leverage in negotiations related to wall funding, should another shutdown occur.

As a reminder, of the 12 appropriations bill (which collectively fund the entirety of the federal government), these are the ones that remain incomplete: agriculture, commerce, financial services, homeland security, interior, state/foreign ops, and transportation. These are the ‘slices of the funding pie’ funded through February 15, and subject to the consequences of another shutdown if Congress fails to fund them for the remainder of the FY19 fiscal year. 

Stay tuned. As a reminder, US Education Department and Health & Human Services, the two agencies that provide the bulk of federal funding provided to schools, are already fully funded, not part of the current shutdown and face no threat of any additional shutdowns in 2019. If there is another shutdown and it includes the agriculture appropriations bill, it will impact the SNAP program as well as the school meals programs (breakfast, lunch and after school meals). We’ll be monitoring this.