February 19, 2016 


Inside This Issue
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What Else? ESSA Updates!

Will anything be different under ESSA? As encouragement I offer you the National Education Association's own
 guidance on private schools. In this one-page summary, they agree our students are entitled to equitable services in all the listed programs, and that consultation must address a series of detailed questions. When you meet with your local district, be sure to bring this flyer and be ready to point out that even the NEA agrees your students deserve their fair share of educational resources.

The House Subcommittee that oversees K-12 education held a hearing last week on implementation of ESSA. Although
the focus was on returning power to the states, there were two important and positive takeaways for the Catholic school community.
  1. Rep. Todd Rokita, Chairman of the Subcommittee, said, "Congress promised to restore state and local control over K-12 education, and now it's our job to ensure that promise is kept." During our visit 
    with him last week, Rep. Rokita agreed it is important Congress has input during implementation. If Congress remains vigilant, the strong language put in to protect Catholic school students will be put into practice.
  2. Secondly, the pleas from state education officials for control over their own school systems should be taken seriously by Catholic schools. The majority party in Congress intends for them to be in control, so now is the time to:
    1. form a strong relationship with your state superintendent
    2. open a dialogue with your district superintendent about consultation
The House Committee has invited ED's Acting Secretary King for two hearings next week, February 24 and 25. We will let you know if news for Catholic schools comes out of those hearings.
School Lunch
In case you missed it in the lead up to that barn-burner of a football game, Super Bowl L, USDA announced new funding to help schools buy equipment to comply with National School Lunch Program requirements. You can find more details, including the application, here.
On the legislative front, the Senate passed a reauthorization of the NSLP last month (full text) and the House is in the midst of drafting their own bill as well. We are looking to put some language in that House draft to make enrolling in NSLP easier for our schools and students. Stay tuned!
A blessed Lent to you,