May 20, 2019

(ADVOCACY TOOLS, GUEST BLOGS, SCHOOL SAFETY) Permanent link

Guest Blog Post: Letter to Education Policymakers re: Title IX

Today's guest blog post is reposted, with permission, from the National Women's Law Center.

Background: NWLC recently learned that some educational institutions and policymakers are confused about the status of Title IX enforcement in schools and have moved to change polices to conform with proposed rules, as though they are final and in effect. In response to these concerning actions, NWLC has drafted a letter reminding education policymakers and leaders that Title IX has not changed and that they still have obligations – above and beyond the proposed Title IX rules – to students and school employees who have experienced sexual harassment.  The letter urges schools and policymakers to follow existing Title IX rules and Department of Education guidance that has been in place since 2001.

Blog Post: Today, we sent a letter to educational policy makers in every state to remind them that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 has not changed, despite all of the actions taken by Betsy DeVos to try to weaken Title IX protections for survivors and all students.   

As we’ve written about before and told the Department of Education, DeVos is trying to make unlawful, cruel, and impractical changes to Title IX that are at odds with the very purpose of the statute.  These rules, if they go into effect, would discourage reporting of sexual harassment, protect schools from liability for failing to respond to known sexual harassment, and mandate unfair investigations. And we’re not alone in thinking this – more than 100,000 individuals, organizations, and education institutions submitted comments to the Department telling them this.   

Unfortunately, we’ve recently learned that some educational institutions and policymakers are confused about the status of Title IX enforcement in schools and have moved to change polices to conform with proposed rules, as though they are final and in effect. This is not only wrong, it’s dangerous. 

Our letter reminds education policymakers that Title IX has not changed and that they still have obligations – above and beyond the proposed Title IX rules – to students and school employees who have experienced sexual harassment.  Our letter urges schools and policymakers to follow existing Title IX rules and Department of Education guidance that has been in place since 2001. And it also mentions that these rules, like many other regulatory actions by this Administration, are likely to face challenges in court.  So it’s not only unnecessary to make changes to policy as though these proposed rules are final, but also probably not the smartest decision.  

If you’re concerned your or your loved one’s school or university is prematurely changing their rules, please share this letter with them. You can also use our toolkit to learn more about survivors’ rights under Title IX.  

Blog post written by Shiwali Patel, Senior Counsel for Education

July 3, 2018

(WELL-BEING, ADVOCACY TOOLS, SCHOOL SAFETY) Permanent link

AASA Statement in Response to Trump Administration Reversal of Obama Guidance on Affirmative Action

AASA released the following statement in response to the Trump administration's proposal to reverse Obama-era guidance related to affirmative action and consideration of race when trying to diversify student bodies:

"AASA is deeply concerned with the Trump administration’s latest policy strategy related to affirmative action. We are opposed to the short-sighted proposal that would work to undermine concerted efforts underway in districts across the nation to ensure that the schools and classrooms reflect the diversity of the broader communities they serve. It is imperative that the nation’s school system leaders have the flexibility they need in addressing the racial and economic diversity of their schools and students. Given that guidance is non-binding and does not have the power of the law, AASA errs on the side of equity, diversity and flexibility, and opposes the Trump administration’s latest proposal.” 

June 8, 2018

(ED FUNDING, SCHOOL SAFETY) Permanent link

New Federal Money for School Safety—Apply by July 23!

Superintendents are likely aware that after the tragedy at Parkland, Congress acted quickly to create a new funding stream to support efforts to deter school violence. The passage of the STOP School Violence Act was supported by many organizations (including AASA) and was a bipartisan achievement. It authorizes $75 million in funding for FY18 and $100m in funding for the following 9 years.

The STOP Act dollars are distributed by the Department of Justice and within the DOJ there are 3 separate grant applications for districts. While the grant solicitation indicates that STOP Act grantees are considered local governments, a school district can file directly (not as a subgrantee) since districts levy taxes and are considered a form of local government by DOJ. When you start to fill out the application you should select "independent school district" and put in all the correct information.  

The deadline to apply is July 23. Click here to register to apply.  This is very fast because the dollars must go out the door to districts by September 30th. Obviously, given that many schools are out of session this is particularly inconvenient timing but AASA is hosting a webinar featuring Sandy Hook Promise that will explain the ins and outs of the grant process for district leaders. Register here for our free webinar on June 21st from 4-5 pm ET. 

Here’s the information you need on the first two grant opportunities that are distributed through the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) division. The first grant is for School Violence Threat Assessment and Technology Reporting. The second grant is for School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Programs.

BJA STOP School Violence Threat Assessment and Technology Reporting Program 

(To view table on smartphone click here)

 

Eligible Applicants

States, Units of Local Government, and Federally-Recognized Indian Tribes

 

Note: BJA welcomes applicants with two or more entities, but only one may be the applicant.  Any others may be proposed subgrantees.

Geographic Distribution of Funding

  1. Category 1- State with Population Greater Than 5M (up to $1M for 4 awards)
  2. Category 2- State with Population of less than 5M (up to $500K for 6 awards)
  3. Category 3- Urban Are a/Large County with population greater than 500K (up to $500K for 14 awards)
  4. Category 4- Suburban area/medium-sized county with population between 100-500K (up to $250K for 12 awards)
  5. Category 5- Rural Area/Small County with population less than 100K (up to $150K for 11 awards)
  6. Category 6- Federally Recognized Indian Tribe (up to $100K for 5 awards)
  7. Category 7- Technology & Anonymous Reporting- No Population Requirement (up to $200K for 10 awards)

 

Totaling $21,150,000 for everything

To Apply

  1. Register on Grants.gov: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html by 11:59PM EST on July 23, 2018
 

Eligible Solicitation Funding

SOLICITATION LIMITS ALLOWABLE USES TO:

  • Development & operation of school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams

-School Threat Assessment:  note this can include threat assessment for individuals, security surveys, crime prevention through environmental design training and implementation, and target hardening prevention programs with the intention to limit access to school property to prevent acts of school violence

-Crisis Intervention Teams: can include coordination with law enforcement, school officials and possibly other disciplines from the community

  • Development of technology for local or regional anonymous reporting systems

-Can Also include: apps to assist school personnel and students during an active shooter incident, to include notification and sharing information with first responders

 

*Note there is a separate solicitation for training of school personnel and students, to include specialized training for school officials in responding to related mental health crises

Evidence-Based Requirement

 

demonstrates a statistically significant effect on relevant outcomes based on: o strong evidence from not less than one well-designed and well-implemented experimental study;

o moderate evidence from not less than one well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental study; or

o promising evidence from not less than one well-designed and well-implemented correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias;

 

• is consistent with best practices for school security, including: o applicable standards for school security established by a federal or state government agency;

 

8 BJA-2018-14489

o findings and recommendations of public commissions and task forces established to make recommendations or set standards for school security; and is

o compliant with all applicable codes, including building and life safety codes;

How Long will the Grant Be For

36-month performance period, beginning October 1, 2018

Cost-Sharing or Matching

25% Matching Requirement- BUT IT CAN BE IN-KIND

Award Date

By September 30, 2018

 

BJA STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program

(To view table on smartphone click here)

 

Eligible Applicants

States, Units of Local Government, and Federally-Recognized Indian Tribes

 

Note: BJA welcomes applicants with two or more entities, but only one may be the applicant.  Any others may be proposed subgrantees.

Geographic Distribution of Funding

  1. Category 1- State with Population Greater Than 5M (up to $1M for 6 awards)
  2. Category 2- State with Population of less than 5M (up to $500K for 8 awards)
  3. Category 3- Urban Are a/Large County with population greater than 500K (up to $500K for 18 awards)
  4. Category 4- Suburban area/medium-sized county with population between 100-500K (up to $250K for 16 awards)
  5. Category 5- Rural Area/Small County with population less than 100K (up to $150K for 16 awards)
  6. Category 6- Federally Recognized Indian Tribe (up to $100K for 6 awards)

 

Totaling $26,000,000 for everything

To Apply

  1. Register on Grants.gov: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html by 11:59PM EST on July 23, 2018
 

Eligible Solicitation Funding

  1. This solicitation specifically seeks applications that address training school personnel and educating students to prevent student violence and
  2. training school officials in responding to related mental health crises

 

Applicants may focus on either (a) or (b) separately OR they may incorporate both. Applicants are encouraged to design their applications to meet their localized needs regarding the prevention of school violence and response(s) to related mental health crises. Applicants should develop a strong and compelling proposal that details how they will address improving staff/student violence prevention efforts and their response to related mental health concerns.

 

Details on Deliverables:

Deliverables:

  • Training sessions for teachers and school personnel designed to prevent student violence
  • Education sessions for students with the intent to prevent violence
  • Training sessions for school officials related to responding to related mental health crises that may precipitate violent attacks on school grounds
  • Documentation of all training and education sessions conducted under the award

Evidence-Based Requirement

 

demonstrates a statistically significant effect on relevant outcomes based on: o strong evidence from not less than one well-designed and well-implemented experimental study;

o moderate evidence from not less than one well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental study; or

o promising evidence from not less than one well-designed and well-implemented correlational study with statistical controls for selection bias;

 

• is consistent with best practices for school security, including: o applicable standards for school security established by a federal or state government agency;

 

8 BJA-2018-14489

o findings and recommendations of public commissions and task forces established to make recommendations or set standards for school security; and is

o compliant with all applicable codes, including building and life safety codes;

How Long will the Grant Be For

36-month performance period, beginning October 1, 2018

Cost-Sharing or Matching

25% Matching Requirement- BUT IT CAN BE IN-KIND

Award Date

By September 30, 2018

 

We will be doing more in the coming weeks to make sure districts are aware of how these dollars can be spent, best practices and evidence-based programs they should consider funding with these dollars, and how district can make the grant process as successful as possible. Apply for the grants here