- The U.S. House of Representatives voted today (Thursday May 4) to approve a bill to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act (a/k/a “Obamacare”) with new legislation known as the American Health Care Act (ACHA). The measure was passed on a 217-213 vote.
Among other things, the ACHA would make profound changes to the state-federal partnership program known as Medicaid or Medical Assistance, including reducing by $880 billion over the next 10 years the amount of Medicaid dollars the federal government sends to states. These changes would significantly impact the ability of students with disabilities and students in poverty to receive critically necessary health services in public schools. The changes would require schools to compete for limited Medicaid funding, which would likely result in arbitrary caps on the amount of Medicaid reimbursements made to public schools.
Continue reading U.S. House Passes Obamacare Repeal Bill, Deep Cuts to Medicaid Will Impact Special Education
Newly confirmed U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced an interim final rule on Monday (May 1) that postpones further sodium reductions in school meals for at least three years, allows schools to serve 1 percent flavored milk, and gives states authority to exempt schools from having to replace all their grain-based products with whole-grain-rich products.
During a visit to a Leesburg, Virginia elementary school to mark School Nutrition Employee Week, Perdue signed a proclamation which he said begins the process of restoring local control of guidelines on whole grains, sodium, and milk. Perdue claimed the new rule is needed to give schools more flexibility in meeting the strict standards. Some see the measures as an attempt to roll back healthy school lunch standards promoted by former first lady Michelle Obama.
Continue reading USDA Relaxes School Meals Nutrition Rules
On Monday morning (April 3), the School Administrators Alliance is hosting an event at the Concourse Hotel in Madison entitled, “What Wisconsin Can Learn About Education Innovations From the World’s Top Performing Countries.”
This gathering will explore a bipartisan report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), entitled “No Time to Lose,” which carefully examined the education policies and practices of high-performing countries with an eye toward learning what it might take to build a world-class education system state by state here in the U.S. Continue reading What Can Top-Performing Education Systems in Other Countries Teach Us About Improving Education in WI?
Federal Enforcement Actions: The joint decision by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education to withdraw and rescind past guidance on transgendered students means those departments will not be independently pursuing enforcement actions against schools and/or threatening the loss of federal funds based on a school district’s alleged failure to implement each and every aspect of the former guidelines.
As a practical matter, enforcement of the rescinded guidance has been on hold since last August when a federal district court in Texas issued a nationwide injunction blocking enforcement. (See previous post.) The Wisconsin Department of Justice was one of several state departments that joined a federal lawsuit challenging the guidance that resulted in the issuance of that injunction. (See previous post.) Given the latest action from the new Trump administration, that lawsuit is “essentially moot,” according to a state DOJ spokesman. Continue reading Where Does The Feds’ Withdrawal of Transgender Guidance Leave School Districts?
The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have withdrawn and rescinded written policy and guidance statements related to transgender students that had been issued by the Departments in 2015 and 2016, including the “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students” issued last May, in order to “further and more completely consider the legal issues involved.” The Departments will no longer rely on the views expressed in those documents.
The now-withdrawn statements had taken the position that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IX’s implementing regulations, which expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, require school districts to provide students with access to sex-segregated facilities (such as restrooms and locker rooms) on the basis of gender identity.
Continue reading Feds Withdraw and Rescind Policy Guidance on Transgender Students
Governor Scott Walker signed three Executive Orders related to the Opioid Abuse Task Force co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Representative John Nygren (pictured) which also released its recommendations for fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing Wisconsin and the nation.
One of the Executive Orders requests a special session of the Wisconsin State Legislature beginning on January 5, 2017, to consider and act upon several pieces of legislation including a measure brought to the task force by the WASB, relating to opioid antidote (e.g., Narcan) administration in schools.
Continue reading Opioid Abuse Task Force Releases Recommendations; Including WASB-Initiated Measure