CAPE March 2013 Meeting Notes

For Immediate Release

Contact: Marcy K. Krever, Chief Communications Officer
Phone: No calls please.

American Montessori Society
116 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003-2163

March 29, 3013

Catherine Maresca, a member of the AMS Public Policy Committee, attends the monthly meeting of the Council for American Private Education. Located in Washington, DC, CAPE is a coalition of national organizations and state affiliates serving private elementary and secondary schools. Catherine filed this report with us:

The Monthly Meeting Group is still meeting with the staff of new members of Congress who are on the House Education and Workforce Committee, the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Impressions so far are that education is low on the list, and the staff assigned are not too interested and not very knowledgeable. So the meetings are a bit like tutorials on the education appropriations issues, with a focus on equitable distribution to schools in the private sector. There is no indication that there will be action on education any time soon. The staff of the committees are key, as the staff of the representatives rely heavily on them.

On March 14, the U.S. Department of Education published a letter to state and local education officers to improve equitable distribution of ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) funds. Private Schools have been complaining to the USDE about this for many years. But there are no new regulations and no real enforcement, so this action doesn’t seem to have real possibilities of helping us.

Regarding school safety regulations in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings: there is a heartening commitment of equitable services in the administration's policy. The budget for this will come our way in April.

Tax-related issues: The Coalition for Charitable Giving is ready to launch a Web site with good info and resources. The House Committee on Ways and Means has set up working groups to keep an eye on impacted groups including education. Congressman Dave Reichert does not want to "hurt" charitable giving. This issue is not going away any time soon. In a recent hearing, Committee members had questions looking for the "truly charitable."

President Obama’s plan for Pre-K: President Obama talked about Pre-K in his State of the Union Address in February. The problem as we see it is that the government is interested in creating high-quality standards for Pre-K that could influence private Pre-K programs, and this could be problematic for staffing small nursery school programs run by some faith communities. CAPE has a position paper, worked out several years ago, that will serve us well in this discussion.

Of special interest to AMS members: AMS executive director Richard Ungerer has been elected vice president of the CAPE Board of Directors.

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