Homeland Security to Award $1.8 Million in Grants (August 18, 2018)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to award $1.8 million in grants for the development of “School-Age Trauma Training” programs. These programs are designed to teach students how to respond to traumatic hemorrhaging during mass casualty events.

Reportedly, the focus of the program is to control bleeding in an injured person in order to increase their chances of survival. The training is aimed at preparing bystanders to effectively react to traumatic events, including school shootings, while they await the arrival of first responders. However, the program has stirred controversy with those who support tighter gun restrictions in the wake of school shootings, including some parents who’ve lost children in such attacks and have expressed their displeasure with legislators who do not look at controlling the use of guns and instead appropriate funds for teaching schoolchildren how to stop bleeding for someone who is shot while in school.

PA Receives Highest Level of Determination Under Part B of IDEA (August 14, 2018)

PA Education Secretary Pedro Rivera has announced that the US Department of Education’s (USDE) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) notified him that Pennsylvania has received the highest level of determination – “Meets Requirements” – that the federal government awards to states under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Pennsylvania was one of only 22 states and territories that received the distinction this year.  This is the 11th out of 12 years that PA has been recognized with the “Meets Requirements” designation since the USDE has been issuing its determinations.

This determination is based on the totality of the state’s special education data and information, including the federal fiscal year 2016 State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR), other state-reported data, and additional publicly available information.  Consistent with the USDE’s Results Driven Accountability, 2018 determinations were based on PA’s compliance with the regulatory requirements of the IDEA as well as the extent to which positive outcomes are being achieved for students.  In making Part B determinations in 2018, the OSEP considered the following results data for students with disabilities: (1) participation on regular statewide assessments; (2) participation and performance on the most recently administered (school year 2016-17) National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); (3) graduation with a regular high school diploma; and (4) dropout rates.

PA’s Part B SPP/APR is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) website or the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network website.  The USDE has developed state profiles as a resource for IDEA-related, state-specific information.  Persons interested in reviewing that information may visit the Office of Special Education Programs GRADS360 website and click on Pennsylvania.

CHIP Funding Survives as Senate Narrowly Rejects Trump Rescission Package (June 22, 2018)

On Wednesday, June 20, 2018, the Senate narrowly rejected a funding rescission bill, 50-48, that aimed to pull back about $15 billion in previously appropriated government funding. The rescission package had already passed the House and, if it had passed, the bill would have clawed back billions of dollars from CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), affordable housing investments, infrastructure, rural development and innovative energy programs.


US House Votes to Slash CHIP Funding (June 15, 2018)

Last week, the US House of Representatives voted 210-206 to approve a package revoking nearly $7 billion in funding reserved for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The House vote last week supported a $15 billion rescission package proposed earlier this year by President Trump. Nearly half of that rescission package comes from CHIP, which provides health care to children from low-income families. The package now goes to the US Senate.

DeVos-Led School Safety Commission Won’t Look At Role of Guns in School Violence (June 6, 2018)

On Tuesday, June 5th, US Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told a Senate committee that the federal commission on school safety will not focus on the role of guns in school violence. She also evaded questions that would draw her into a debate regarding gun control.

When the Trump administration first announced the creation of the commission, it charged the commission with bringing “meaningful and actionable recommendations to keep students safe at school.” It also listed a number of areas the commission would examine. The first was age restrictions on certain firearm purchases. Other areas included the examination of ratings systems for video games, the effects of news media coverage of mass shootings, and the consumption of “violent entertainment,” and funding for mental health and school infrastructure resources. The commission has also been charged with considering whether to repeal a package of Obama-era school discipline policies targeted at addressing disciplinary policies that disproportionately affect minority students.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) pleaded with Sec. DeVos to examine the policies of other countries where school shootings are rare or nonexistent, including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Britain.