AASA's federal policy priorities and goals for 2023.
The AASA Legislative Agenda is shaped by recommendations on federal policy issues compiled annually by the Committee on Federal Policy and Legislation, which is comprised of the AASA Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee recommendations are presented to the AASA Governing Board twice annually for approval. Each legislative position sunsets annually, but may be carried forward if determined by the committee.
The guiding principle of AASA’s 2023 Legislative Agenda stems from the important role the federal government stands to play in creating equitable learning opportunities for all students.
This starts with equitable policy and resources, both of which should remain available to all students, schools and states.
It also includes the protection and preservation of federal education funding when compared with other federal investments.
5 Major Goals Within AASA's Federal Legislative Platform
Redefining Poverty & Equitable Federal Formulas
Since 2012, AASA has asserted that the Title I formula is a broken one and, while we understood why Congress used it to distribute ESSER funding, we will work in earnest this year to educate legislators about the flaws in the formula as well as the need to redefine poverty more holistically, particularly as it applies to free meals. As districts continue to see a reduction in FLRP applications, we know a continued reliance on this metric is problematic.
Our goal is to work with partners on Capitol Hill and the Biden administration to find a better, more accurate and reliable metric and to use this as the basis for all federal formulas, including Title I.
Alleviating Teacher & Staffing Shortages
Whether through our work to ensure every educator in our buildings who has been employed for more than 10 years can have all their loans forgiven through the PSLF program or advocating for new federal funding for districts to start or expand grow-your-own programs and teacher residency models, AASA knows you are in crisis mode and we are supporting a variety of bills and policy changes to alleviate bus driver shortages, mental health professional shortages and teacher shortages.
Improving the Medicaid in School Program
Only 16 states have received permission for districts to bill Medicaid for non-IEP healthcare services delivered to Medicaid-eligible kids. As districts hire more mental health professionals, reinvest in nursing and expand healthcare equity for students, you need a robust Medicaid reimbursement system that significantly simplifies the administrative burden for your personnel and expands healthcare access to many more students that qualify for and need this assistance.
AASA is committed to working with ED and HHS on issuing new guidance that will enhance and sustain healthcare services in schools beyond the pandemic.
Fully Funding IDEA
AASA’s top funding priority will always be fully funding IDEA, which is why we co-chair the IDEA Full Funding Coalition and helped introduce the IDEA Full Funding Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide a 10-year glidepath toward fully-funding IDEA.
We are recognized for our fierce advocacy for IDEA funding, our work to educate members of Congress about the encroachment of special education costs on local programming and are committed to ensuring IDEA is never cut in federal appropriations.
Reducing Federal Data Collection Requests
While we are indebted to Congress for its generosity to districts during the pandemic and we recognize the need to report how districts spend ESSER dollars, we remain deeply concerned about the additional 4 million man-hours that will be required this year of district personnel to collect and report data on ESSER spending, as well as to report data for the Civil Rights Data Collection.
We understand the importance of data, but also recognize that the pandemic is not behind us and urge the Department to limit the scope of data requested to ensure we are reporting the most basic and critical information necessary for civil rights compliance and fiscal accountability.
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