Federal Advocacy and Weekly Policy Update

Federal Advocacy and Weekly Policy Update

Department of Education Grants ESSA Waivers Related to Pandemic

According to the Department of Education, 45 states have applied for the accountability and assessment waiver the department authorized due to pandemic emergency.  All of these states have been granted initial approval. This waiver allows states to “bypass standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year.” A waiver may be granted to any state that is unable to assess its students due to the ongoing national emergency – this allows states to cancel statewide assessments for the 2019-2020 school year.

Agriculture Department Issues New Nutrition Program Waivers

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced additional nutrition program flexibilities to help communities navigate the pandemic emergency.  Secretary Perdue said, “USDA is committed to maximizing our services and flexibilities to ensure children and others who need food can get it during this coronavirus epidemic,” said Perdue. The USDA’s new waivers provide states the option to allow parents or guardians to take meals home to their children. USDA’s press release also notes that states can waive meal pattern requirements to let local operators prepare foods with the supplies they have available. It also delays administrative deadlines associated with the Community Eligibility Provision to relax burdens on schools closed by the pandemic.

Department of Education Invites Data Grant Applications

The Department of Education invited applications for the Statistical and Research Methodology in Education and Using Longitudinal Data to Support State Education Policymaking Grant Program. The program seeks to “support the development of a wide range of methodological and statistical tools to better enable applied education scientists to conduct rigorous education research.” The program will be used to expand the research use of State Longitudinal Data Systems to provide further evidence for State education policymaking. Congress has not yet enacted an appropriation for fiscal 2021, however they are seeking applications now so that applicants have adequate time to prepare. Applications are due July 30, 2020, and further information is available here.



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