Schools would be required to conduct comprehensive background checks for any employee using state criminal and child abuse registries and the FBI's fingerprint database, under a bill that the U.S. House of Representatives is considering today.
The buzz is that education could get a much more prominent role than usual in the president's State of the Union address early next year. And lawmakers want to be ready.
Federal education programs will be frozen until March 4 under a budget deal up for a vote this week, and next year a new, more conservative Congress will set spending levels for K-12.
Senate leaders' decision to stop action on a big giant spending bill could spell flat funding for most federal programs, including Title I and special education, until a new Congress is in place.
The Teacher Incentive Fund and the School Improvement Grant program would see some tweaks under the giant spending bill under consideration in the Senate.
Survey data shows that the stop-gap efforts couldn't stave off cuts forever. Now that federal dollars are drying up, districts are still facing shaky revenues.
The Senate's version of a spending bill for fiscal year 2011 includes some surprising increases for education and goes beyond what the House of Representatives is considering.
Instead of having the new round of grants go to individual states, state schools chiefs want states to be able to collaborate together on grant applications.
New numbers from the Department of Education show that only 53 percent of the schools receiving SIG money are urban, while 23 percent are rural, and 24 percent are suburban.
Leaders in the Democratic-for-now House of Representatives have included $550 million to extend the Race to the Top program in a big, giant spending bill that finances most government programs at last year's levels until Sept. 30.