On September 19, 2017, Chiefs for Change sent the following letter to Congressional leaders:
Dear Chairman Blunt, Ranking Member Murray, Chairman Cole, and Ranking Member DeLauro:
As you continue to work on Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriations for the Department of Education, we, Chiefs for Change (CFC), a coalition of over two dozen state and district education chiefs, serving 5.3 million students and 330,000 teachers, and dedicated to excellence and equity for all students, urge you to fund the Title II, Part A (Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants) at no less than $2.055 billion, the FY 2017 appropriation. This program helps ensure that educators have the skills needed to improve student achievement, particularly in high-need schools and subject areas, and is thus an important and essential element of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as recently reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
As education leaders who have implemented successful education reforms in states and local communities around the country, we believe that Title II-A, the largest Federal resource dedicated specifically for the development of teachers and school leaders, is vital to our efforts. Indeed, it would be extremely unwise to reduce or, even worse, eliminate funding for the program just as states and school districts enter a critical period in the implementation of ESSA. CFC applauds the Senate Appropriations Committee for providing level-funding for Title II and strongly recommends that the final FY 2018 appropriation include at least that funding level.
We have seen firsthand the impact that Title II-A funding has in our states and districts. For example:
The current fiscal environment for most states would make it very difficult to bridge any funding gaps in education left from cuts to major Federal programs. In FY 2017, 23 states reported net mid-year budget cuts due to lower than projected revenue collection, totaling $4.9 billion. A cut to Title II-A would result in a loss of over $270 million annually for CFC members (based on FY 2017 appropriations levels). These funds do have an important impact on state and local budgets.
We are encouraged by the Senate Appropriations funding level, which would ensure stable funding for Title II-A. CFC believes that continued, strong support for Title II-A will help improve outcomes for students in our states by supporting the development of effective educators, principals, and other school leaders. Thank you for considering this request, and please contact us if we can be of any assistance.
Mike Magee, CEO
Chiefs for Change