APLU Sends Congress Letter Urging the Completion of FY2017 Appropriations
Today, APLU sent FY 2017 Appropriations letters to congressional leadership and House and Senate appropriators on the Commerce-Justice-Science, Defense, Energy & Water, Interior, Labor-HHS-Ed, and State and Foreign Operations appropriations bills. The letters urge Congress to complete FY 2017 appropriations by the end of the calendar year and ask for robust investments in research and higher education. The letters can be accessed here.
Department of Education Releases Final Teacher Preparation Regulations
On October 12, the Department of Education released its final teacher preparation regulations. The regulations require states to annually report on and rate teacher preparation programs using a number of measures including placement and retention rates of graduates, feedback from graduates and their employers on the effectiveness of the program, and student learning outcomes. The final regulations give states more discretion to determine criteria for measuring “student learning outcomes.” States must report whether teacher preparation programs are “low-performing, at-risk, or effective.” Programs rated less than “effective” for two out of any three years can lose TEACH Grant eligibility. States must begin to implement the regulations on a pilot basis in the 2017-2018 school year, but the first year a program could lose eligibility based on the new standards is 2021-2022. The Department has stated it will release non-regulatory guidance related to the final regulations to help states and districts with implementation.
Senate and House education committee Chairmen Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and John Kline (R-MN) released statements opposing the regulation. The two major teachers’ unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, also released statements. The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education released a preliminary statement while the organization continues to analyze the new rule.
Associations Letter in Support of Ag-Biotech Funding
APLU, along with a number of agricultural and scientific organizations, sent a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership on October 5 in support of funding for agriculture and biotechnology education funding in the final fiscal year 2017 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The letter expresses support for $3 million in FY2017 for the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture to help the public better understand science and fact-based information about agricultural biotechnology.
Federal Trade Commission Study on Patent Assertion Entities
On October 6, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its study “Patent Assertion Entity Activity” which includes an analysis of 22 patent assertion entities (PAEs) and 2,500 affiliates and related entities. The FTC defines PAEs as businesses that acquire patents from third parties and seek to generate revenue by asserting them against alleged infringers. The study acknowledges the patent and licensing and litigation system is complex and finds that PAEs use different business models, not all of which focus on nuisance litigation. The study provides recommendations for legislative and judicial reform but also cautions the findings are not generalizable to the entire universe of patent assertion entity activity and changes must be supported by evidence. The study does not focus on university technology transfer practices or discuss the Bayh-Dole Act.