Advocacy in Action (5/1/20) - Contact Policymakers Today

By Alison Maley posted 05-14-2020 14:39


May 1, 2020

Contact Congress and FCC to Expand E-Rate Program

IPA has joined NASSP and other national organizations to contact members of Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand allowable use of E-rate to fund home internet access for students.


The Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate program currently helps offset the cost of internet access in schools and libraries. The FCC has the power to allow E-Rate to fund home internet access for students in addition to schools and libraries, should they choose to do so. During this time of unprecedented national crisis, making this policy change would dramatically impact educational equity for millions of students. Additionally, as Congress considers additional emergency funding measures to address the crisis, national education groups like NASSP are asking for $2 billion in additional E-Rate funding to provide adequate support for those students.


Contact Congress on Limited IDEA Flexibility During School Closures

The CARES Act (emergency COVID-19 response legislation) required that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) produce a report with information regarding flexibility for schools that might be necessary during the ongoing pandemic.


On Monday, we learned that Secretary DeVos only requested limited waivers related to pre-k evaluations, and no other waivers for IDEA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The department's report states that she is not moving forward with any waivers that would alter or impede the core tenants of the IDEA, such as providing a FAPE in the least restrictive environment.


With this in mind, we are asking for your help in contacting your member of Congress and our U.S. Senators to obtain specific temporary and targeted IDEA flexibility actions that have also been requested by the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education, Council of Administrators of Special Education, and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education in two categories: Timelines and Procedures. Please for more specific information on these items.


Contact Gov. Pritzker to Prioritize K-12 Schools with Emergency Funding

In late March, Congress took a critical step with the passage of the CARES Act, a $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package. Included in this legislation is a $3 billion fund for education—the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund—which provides funding for each state. (Illinois should receive more than $108M of this fund.) The GEER Fund is designed to give governors flexibility to support education systems in their state in responding to the coronavirus. Funds can be distributed to both K-12 and higher education systems.


In the coming days, states will receive their GEER funds. As governors decide how to distribute these emergency funds, principals can make their voice heard and push for K-12 education to be prioritized. Principals are uniquely positioned to highlight why schools need additional support for remote learning, for providing student meals during the crisis, and for staving off layoffs of teachers and other school staff. With a looming economic downturn, which will likely result in declines in state and local aid for school districts, these needs will only grow.


The principal voice matters now more than ever. Governors need to hear from principals why a bold and urgent response to support K-12 schools during this crisis is needed.


Illinois Principals Association

2940 Baker Drive

Springfield, IL 62703


| 217-525-1383 |

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