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AASA’s Public Advocacy Work Covers Two Full Days at the ’23 Conference

AASA’s policy and advocacy team invites those at the AASA conference in San Antonio to journey with them into the weeds of federal education policy. There’s a strand of can’t-miss sessions taking place.  

On Thursday, Feb. 16, attendees can start their day with an update on everything advocacy-related that they need to know from the AASA advocacy team. Then they can learn about state and federal education policy issues and finish the day with steps to soften the looming fiscal cliff.

A Federal Education Update from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. will deliver the latest funding and legislative details from Congress before moving on to recent regulations and guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education as well as the various policy issues percolating at the agriculture and transportation departments and the Environmental Protection Agency.

At the annual Federal Relations Luncheon at noon, Morgan Polikoff, associate professor of education at the University of Southern California, will discuss state and federal education policy issues coming out of the 2022 midterm elections. Drawing on a review of current policy agendas and public opinion data on what Americans want from public education, Polikoff will deliver predictions for the next two years and strategies for state and local leaders to navigate ongoing controversies.

At 2:15 p.m., Jessica Swanson, senior fellow at the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, will present “Steps Districts Can Take Now to Soften the Impact of the Looming Fiscal Cliff.” She will walk through how a mix of factors — the end of ESSER funds, unprecedented enrollment declines, inflationary raises and broader economic downturn — are likely to hit school district budgets and how district leaders can prepare.  

On Friday, Feb. 17, “Using Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment Teams to Enhance School Safety, Equity, and Wellness” will begin at 8 a.m. with Makenzie Schiemann, president of the National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment. She will explore practical strategies, such as who should serve on the team, what types of difficulties or risks the team addresses and how teams assess risk.

At 11:15 a.m., the two AASA president-elect candidates will be part of a forum. Then at 12:45 p.m., Chris Borreca, the 2023 Friend of AASA awsrd winner will deliver a talk, “The Essential Federal Guidance and Regulatory Update for School Leaders.” His purpose is to ensure district policies and procedures are in line with current guidance and regulations.

At 3:45 p.m., Christine Pitts, director of impact and communications at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, will present “The State of the American School District.” She will focus on the challenges of rolling out pandemic recovery plans, including the nuances of local teacher staffing problems and the contours of navigating local politics.

You can follow the advocacy team’s work at the conference on the AASA blog and by following @AASAdvocacy and the advocacy team on Twitter: Noelle Ellerson (@Noellerson), Sasha Pudelski (@SPudelski), Kat Sturdevant (@K_Sturdevant) and Tara Thomas (@TaraEThomas1). Or you can follow along by downloading the AASA Advocacy app, available on the App Store and Google Play.

(Tara Thomas is AASA’s policy analyst.)

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