Dear HECSE Members:
We have some great news to report!
You will recall that when you were in Washington for the HECSE Summit in January, Larry Wexler from OSEP reported that there would be no leadership competition this year. In order to ensure that this would not be the case for the following year, HECSE worked to have Congress support a leadership competition during FY 2021. Today the House passed its FY 2021 education funding bill. In addition to providing a $1 million increase for Personnel Preparation, the bill is accompanied by report language ensuring a leadership competition next year.
Personnel Preparation.—The Committee recommends $90,700,000 for Personnel Preparation, which is $1,000,000 above the fiscal year 2020 enacted level and the fiscal year 2021 budget request. This program supports competitive awards to help address State-identified needs for qualified personnel to work with children with disabilities, and to ensure that those personnel have the necessary skills and knowledge to serve children with special needs. Awards focus on addressing the need for leadership and personnel to serve low-incidence populations. Funds are included to fully support continuation costs for grants made in prior years. The Committee notes the critical role the Personnel Preparation program plays in helping to address the nation’s shortage of teachers for students with disabilities. Given the critical shortage of special education teachers, including the higher education special education faculty who prepare them, the Committee includes no less than $10,000,000 for doctoral-level personnel preparation in special education. Personnel Preparation
p. 253 House Committee report FY 2021
Of course, this is just a start! The Senate must act also. They have not yet proposed an education spending bill for FY 2021. However, we will work with them to advocate for the inclusion of this same language when the time comes.
It would be great for you to communicate with your delegation in the House of Representatives and thank them for this development! If you met with a staffer in January, this is a great opportunity to follow up. Here is a sample note that you could send:
I am so pleased to see that the House completed work on the FY 2021 Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill on July 31. We are particularly pleased to see a $1 million increase for IDEA Personnel Preparation and the following report language included on p. 253 of the Committee report:
“Given the critical shortage of special education teachers, including the higher education special education faculty who prepare them, the Committee includes no less than $10,000,000 for doctoral-level personnel preparation in special education. Personnel Preparation.”
Our state faces a significant shortage of special educators and this funding and this language will make a big difference in building the capacity in higher education to prepare the much needed special education workforce. As you know the successful implementation of IDEA depends on having a highly skilled well-prepared workforce. These funds will make a big difference for students with disabilities and their families.
Thank you for your leadership.
Congratulations on your successful advocacy! Let’s keep it up!
Jane E. West Ph.D.
Education Policy Consultant