March 2022 | Number 473
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, seated next to CAPE Board President Gary Arnold, speaks at the CAPE Board's spring meeting. Photo provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
Secretary Cardona Meets with CAPE Board and State CAPE Leaders
On March 14, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona met with members of the CAPE Board and State CAPE representatives at the Board's annual spring meeting. CAPE Board President Gary Arnold introduced Secretary Cardona, who is the nation's 12th Education Secretary.

During his remarks, Secretary Cardona spoke of the relationship between the Department of Education and private schools as one of "partnership," and expressed his desire to keep the lines of communication open. The secretary took questions from board members on a variety of issues, including school safety, teacher recruitment and retention, and federal emergency relief programs.

Attendees were very grateful for the secretary's appearance at the meeting and his kind words towards the private school community.
Photo provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
FCC Announces New Window for Emergency Connectivity Fund Applications
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on March 23 that it will be opening a third application window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF).

According to an FCC release, there will be a total of $1 billion available. The third application filing window will open on April 28, 2022 and close on May 13, 2022.

"During this third application filing window, eligible schools and libraries can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services between July 1, 2022, and December 31, 2023. Given past demand, the third application filing window will likely be the last opportunity for schools and libraries to request funding before the remaining Emergency Connectivity Funds are exhausted."

Per the ECF website, "For eligible schools and libraries, the ECF Program will cover reasonable costs of laptop and tablet computers; Wi-Fi hotspots; modems; routers; and broadband connectivity purchases for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons."
Federal Prekindergarten & Childcare Legislation...Still Alive?
CAPE Outlook readers will remember that the massive "Build Back Better" legislation, which included new pre-k and childcare programs of concern to many in the private school community, was derailed in the waning days of 2021. Since then, debate continues over whether that bill and/or its component parts are "dead." According to a March 29 POLITICO Playbook report, the saga continues:

"A letter being circulated by Rep. KATHERINE CLARK (D-Mass.) and Sens. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-Mass.) and TINA SMITH (D-Minn.) and obtained by Playbook will call on President JOE BIDEN to push a reconciliation bill 'that lowers the cost of child care for families, expands access to pre-K, and invests in the early childhood workforce and infrastructure.'"

The Playbook report goes on to say that "While care advocates told us the White House has reassured them there’s still a chance that items like universal pre-K and capping child care costs will make it into a reconciliation bill in the coming weeks or months, others said administration aides have privately acknowledged that’s highly improbable."

Read the whole thing here.
USDE Releases Title VIII Guidance for Comment
On March 30, the U.S. Department of Education released its long awaited and much anticipated draft Title VIII guidance for public comment. The guidance document addresses the equitable services requirements under Title VIII, Part F of the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 as authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.

The deadline to submit comments is April 29, 2022. To read the guidance and for information on how to submit comments, click here.

CAPE will be studying the draft guidance very closely and submitting comments in the coming days.
April 1 Webinar: Nonprofit Security Grant Program
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Grant Programs Directorate, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has invited faith-based, community, and nonprofit organizations to participate in a webinar on the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

The webinar will be on April 1 from 3:00 PM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT.

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program provides funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements and activities to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack. The intent is to integrate nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts. It is also designed to promote coordination and collaboration in emergency preparedness activities among public and private community representatives, as well as state and local government agencies.

Due to the potential number of participants and the limited capacity of online meetings, the webinar will open 30 minutes prior to the published start time of event.
Updated IDEA Guidance
The Department of Education has released newly revised equitable services guidance under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Q&A document updates and supersedes the Department’s April 2011 guidance and includes questions and answers that address new topics such as:

  • Equitable Services Providers—addressing personnel qualification requirements that apply to equitable services providers under IDEA.

  • Preschool Children with Disabilities—addressing the use of IDEA Part B funds for equitable services for preschool children with disabilities for whom FAPE has been made available. 

  • Children Who Reside Out-of-State or Whose Parents Live in Other Countries—clarifying the requirements that apply to parentally-placed private school children with disabilities from other States and other countries who attend private schools in the United States. 

  • State-funded School Voucher and Scholarship Programs—clarifying that children with disabilities who use State vouchers and scholarships to attend private schools are considered parentally-placed private school children with disabilities under IDEA and eligible for equitable services. 

  • Extended Public School Closures—addressing the responsibilities of LEAs to provide equitable services to parentally-placed private school children with disabilities just as they have a responsibility to serve children with disabilities in public schools, as appropriate, during an extended public school closure.

Michigan Ballot Initiative Would Bypass Governor's School Choice Vetoes

"Two vetoed bills that would empower education-minded families for the first time in Michigan’s history are getting another chance to become law, thanks to a provision in the state constitution.

"Michigan’s Republican-controlled legislature approved the bills last year that would have established an education savings account program to offer choice to families who meet income eligibility guidelines or who have children in foster care or with special needs.

"Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed both bills, which were opposed by the state’s teachers’ union.

"Let MI Kids Learn and Great Lakes Education Project political action committee are using a provision in Michigan’s constitution that allows petitions that garner 340,000 signatures to be put up for a legislative vote.

"Measures that are approved by voters bypass the governor and become law.

"As of last week, the groups have gathered more than 70,000 signatures since the campaign kicked off in February. The deadline for submitting signatures to the state is June 1.

"The first Let MI Kids Learn petition would change Michigan tax law to allow donors to give money to 'scholarship-granting organizations,' or newly created nonprofits that would provide parents and families funding for students who match certain criteria.

"The funding could be used for tuition or fees to attend a private school, tutoring, or extracurricular activities and other educational resources. Public school students who are eligible based on income could get up to $500, while students with disabilities could receive up to $1,100.

"The second petition allows donors to claim tax breaks on their contributions to the scholarship program. Residents or corporations making donations would be eligible for income tax credits equal to their donations. Let MI Kids Learn set a $500 million maximum in tax credits that could be claimed."
Private Education: Good for Students, Good for Families, Good for America
CAPE member organizations:

Agudath Israel of America

Association of Christian Schools

Association of Christian
Teachers and Schools

Association of Waldorf
Schools of N.A.

Christian Schools International

Council of Islamic Schools
in North America

Council on Educational Standards
and Accountability
Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America

Friends Council on Education

Islamic Schools League of America

Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

National Association of
Episcopal Schools

National Association of
Independent Schools

National Catholic
Educational Association
National Christian School

Office for Lasallian Education
Christian Brothers Conference

Oral Roberts University
Educational Fellowship

Seventh-day Adventist
Board of Education

United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran
Synod Schools
Affiliated State Organizations a coalition of national associations serving private schools K-12

Executive Director:
Michael Schuttloffel

Outlook is published monthly (September to June) by CAPE.
ISSN 0271-145

1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Tel: 844-883-CAPE
Michael Schuttloffel
Executive Director
Phone: 844-883-CAPE