September 20, 2018

(ADVOCACY TOOLS, RESEARCH, PUBLICATIONS AND TOOLKITS) Permanent link

AASA Supports National Voter Registration Day: Can You?

You can’t rock the vote until you’re ready to vote, and you’re not ready to vote until you’re registered to vote. To that end, as part of our #LeadersMatter campaign, and our ongoing work at AASA to ensure that schools are ready for kids, kids are ready for schools, and our students graduate ready to be an engaged member in civic society, we are pleased to share a suite of information related to National Voter Registration Day.

AASA is pleased to be part of a national effort to support and strengthen our nation’s democracy by encouraging eligible voters to vote as part of National Voter Registration Day, on September 25, 2018. Our nation’s public schools—as the backbone of civic society—are uniquely positioned: tasked not only with civic education, which provides ample opportunity to learn the history and power of the right to vote and how it has evolved and grown throughout our nation’s history, schools are also where a significant portion of our nation’s students engage in their first votes—spanning things from vote for home coming king to student body president—and where they are enrolled when they turn 18, the age of voting eligibility.

To that end, we are highlighting National Voter Registration Day as a resource for school superintendents to provide helpful information, support important conversations, and facilitate any efforts you may undertake related to voter registration in your schools. National Voter Registration Day is a bipartisan event, and is endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors.

What Can I Do?

  • Register to Vote Online: It’s simple, it’s free, and it’s secure.
  • Attend a National Voter Registration Day Event: Find one near you.
  • Host a Voter Registration Day Event in Your Community: Register your event.
  • Spread the Word: Take a few moments to strengthen your community – and our country – with your voice. Use #NationalVoterRegistrationDay throughout social media and share this information with your school district's communication team and community members. 

 Related Resources (Content courtesy of National Voter Registration Day organization)

 Things to Consider

  • The right to vote is non-partisan. As someone facilitating these conversations, be mindful to adhere to the idea of ‘I don’t care HOW you vote; I care THAT you register and vote.”
  • While voting is tied to an election or decision of some sort, the process of registration and any related conversations can and should be devoid of any stated position or preferred candidate.
  • In today’s highly partisan environment, and increasing tension related to voting rights and voting restrictions, any conversation about voter registration—including the simple act of making information available in schools and/or providing registration forms in school—could be perceived as political. To that end, work closely with your board, administrative team and staff to ensure that the focus remains on the civic right and responsibility of voting, that information on voting and registration is available to any and all students, and that any related conversations are devoid of conversations on who to vote for or what position to support.
  • You could focus your efforts solely on your student body, or you could use this opportunity to reach the broader community. That is a decision for you and your board. 

September 17, 2018

(ADVOCACY TOOLS, RESEARCH, PUBLICATIONS AND TOOLKITS) Permanent link

AASA Contributes to National PTA Back-to-School Toolkit

AASA is pleased to have contributed to and to share with you information about this week's Back to School Week campaign, organized by National PTA. 

National PTA has designated Sept. 17-21 Back-to-School Week to celebrate back-to-school season. Throughout the week, National PTA will share tips and resources on social media using #PTABackToSchool and at PTA.org/BackToSchool to help PTA leaders, parents, students and teachers have a successful new school year.

AASA is pleased to be a partner in this week and to have contributed resources, available in the 'From our Partners' section. As part of Back-to-School Week, National PTA has launched a comprehensive webpage with a wide variety of resources. The association has also assigned each day of the week to highlight and share tips and resources for the stakeholders who play an essential role in supporting children’s learning and success. 

 

  • Monday, September 17 – Back to School for PTA Leaders
  • Tuesday, September 18 – Back to School for Parents
  • Wednesday, September 19 – Back to School for Students
  • Thursday, September 20 – Back to School for Teachers

Additionally, during the week, National PTA will be making announcements on new initiatives, grant recipients and new grant opportunities, classroom surprises and more.

 

September 13, 2018

(ADVOCACY TOOLS, ED FUNDING) Permanent link

AASA Joins 4 Other Groups in Letters to Oppose Tax Bill 2.0 and Oppose Using Federal Dollars to Arm Educators

AASA joined four other national education organizations--the Association of School Business Officials International, Association of Educational Service Agencies, the National Rural Education Association, and the National Rural Education Advocacy Consortium--in two letters to Capitol Hill, one on Tax Bill 2.0 and the FY19 LHHS appropriations bill.

Tax Bill 2.0: The education groups oppose the bill, focusing on the proposed expansion of 529 plans to support homeschooling expenses and the proposal to make permanent the cap on State and Local Tax Deductions. This bill is the opposite of reform and represents more of the same failed policies in the December 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Read the letter.

FY19 Education Funding: In this letter, the groups relay two messages: support for the higher level of funding for education in FY19 and absolute opposition to allowing federal education dollars to be used to arm school personnel. 

September 11, 2018

 Permanent link

AASA Call-to-Action: Tell the IRS to Close School Voucher Program Tax Shelter

For many years the IRS has permitted taxpayers in 12 states to turn a profit by financially supporting private school voucher programs. This profitable tax shelter has fueled rapid growth in these voucher programs, leading to a major transfer of public dollars into private schools. Moreover, the profits being pocketed by these taxpayers come at the expense of state and federal budgets and do not find their way into any public school or public works project.

 The profiteering facilitated by these tax credit vouchers schemes is neither accidental nor incidental. Tax accountants, private schools, and others in many states with tax credit voucher programs have long marketed these programs as tools for exploiting the federal charitable deduction.

Given the Trump Administration’s love of vouchers, we were quite surprised that the IRS has proposed regulations that would shut down this tax shelter and could significantly weaken the popularity and growth of the voucher programs in these 12 states. We have an opportunity as public education advocates to weigh in with the IRS and support these regulations, but the IRS is already facing extreme pressure by pro-privatization entities and members of Congress to keep them on the books.

Please take 5 minutes to fill out this template and send it to the IRS today. This is an opportunity to send more dollars into public schools both at the federal and state level.

How to File Comments with the IRS

Comments are due by October 11, 2018

  • Draft your response comments. You can create your own comments or work from AASA’s template. Format your response as a Word/PDF document (include district letter head!).
  • Go to https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=IRS-2018-0025-0001
  • In the ‘Comment” box, type the phrase “I submit the attached comment in response to the IRS proposed regulations on Contributions in Exchange for State and Local Tax Credits.
  • Below the comment box:
    • Upload your file.
    • Enter your first and last name.
    • Click ‘continue’
  • Review the information on this page, including a check to ensure your document is attached.
  • Click the ‘I have read and understand’ item.
  • Click ‘Submit Comment’

Note: If it’s too complicated to use the web form, please email your comments to Sasha at spudelski@aasa.org and she will submit them on your behalf. 

September 10, 2018

(ED FUNDING) Permanent link

SEED Partnership Program Timeline EXTENDED to Sept 19

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is offering a unique opportunity for organizations that are implementing innovative approaches to improve educator preparation and development. If you are working on an innovative strategy for preparing or supporting educators, you could be matched up with a national non-profit that will serve as a thought partner for your efforts. The national non-profits have experience implementing evidence-based solutions to prepare and develop teachers and principals. The non-profits will provide feedback and guidance based on their extensive experience working with teachers and principals across the country. Check out the SEED Partnership flyer.

If you are interested, complete this short form by September 19th to express interest in participating. We encourage you to take advantage of this unique opportunity to receive support for your efforts.

Here are key details:

 

  • This opportunity is open to state and local education agencies, educator preparation programs, and other education organizations that are planning or implementing an innovative approach to preparing or developing educators. We will select up to two organizations or agencies to participate.
  • The national non-profits providing the support are participating in ED’s Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant program.. The participating SEED grantees are 
    • National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
    • National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform
    • National Institute for Excellence in Teaching
    • National Institute for School Leadership
    • National Writing Project
    • Teach For America
    • WestEd
  • The partnership involves monthly calls during which the SEED grantee will provide feedback and guidance to inform your efforts.
 Email Steven Malick at smalick@mathematica-mpr.com for questions and to RSVP for a webinar to learn more about the SEED Partnerships. 

 

You can read about the first round of SEED Partnerships here. We look forward to hearing from you!