July Government Relations Update

Rita and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Mayors Endorse “Parent-Trigger” Efforts Nationwide At their annual conference last month, the U.S. Conference of Mayors endorsed so-called “parent-trigger” laws that enable parents to take over failing schools to implement personnel and program changes. Though the laws are opposed by teachers’ unions, support for the laws among the nation’s mayors crosses party lines, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.  Versions of the law are in place in Louisiana, Texas and California, but have yet to be put to practical use.  Education News and Reuters provide more coverage of the mayors’ positions.

Administration Proposes “Master Teacher Corps” Last week, President Obama announced his plans for a “Master Teacher Corps” to improve student achievement in STEM education. As proposed, the $1 billion program will award high-performing teachers with an additional $20,000 in annual salary for multiple-year commitments. The administration has requested $1 billion from Congress for the program in its FY2013 budget, and in the meantime will make $100 million available immediately from an existing fund.  Initially, the program will have 2,500 teachers in 50 different sites, and will is slated to grow to 10,000 teachers of over the next four years. For reactions from various education organizations, see here, and for more coverage of the program, visit here.

Affordable Care Act Facts With the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) coming last month, some of the misinformation surrounding the law’s implementation has come back to the forefront, encouraged by certain pundits and politicians. For instance, businesses with fewer than 25 full time employees are not required to provide health insurance and there is no penalty if they don’t. Moreover, new tax credits could help out businesses that do provide insurance. For further facts about the ACA and how it impacts business, visit healthcare.gov or check Politifact.com for information on specific claims.