George Petersen-Augustus Mays

College of Education Founding Dean George J. Petersen and WestEd Director of Government Relations Augustus Mays

The Clemson University College of Education Senior Advisory Board received an overview of the federal educational policy landscape during its April 14 meeting at Clemson’s Madren Center.

Augustus Mays, director of governmental relations at WestEd – an education-focused, nonpartisan, research, development and service agency – spoke to the group about recent changes in the U.S. Department of Education.

Identifying key players in the new department, including the background and experience of new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Mays addressed new funding and policy priorities for the Trump Administration as well as legislative priorities of for the 115th Congress.

Mays covered keys themes and initiatives including the congressional budget timeline, legislative priorities for Higher Education Act, and the reauthorization of educational legislation for Head Start, the Education Sciences Reform Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Other points of discussion included congressional priorities, the change in accountability standards, and the U.S. Department of Education’s revised Every Student Succeeds Act, which will impact schools and universities in South Carolina.

“The information that Augustus provided was invaluable for the college and our board members, who hail from various entities impacted by federal education policy,” said George J. Petersen, founding dean of the College of Education. “We learned that the new administration will be looking for K-12 and university partnerships with non-profit organizations and businesses, educational approaches that involve innovation and rigorous evaluation, and teacher preparation efforts that focus on economic imperatives.”

In addition to May’s keynote address, the Senior Advisory Board heard from Petersen about current initiatives in the college – including the college’s new B.A. to M.Ed. program and teacher residency efforts.

With members hailing from governmental entities, school districts, corporations and nonprofit organizations, the Senior Advisory Board meets biannually to help advise and guide the College of Education’s work.