We're more than 12 hours into the government shutdown. What's the impact on school districts, states, and general Edu-land so far? Mostly a lot of watching, waiting—and nervously looking ahead to the fiscal fight that's around the corner later this month: raising the federal debt ceiling.
For now, school districts and states still aren't feeling major effects from a short-term shutdown.
"Right now we're not seeing anything," said John Barge, the state schools' chief in Georgia. He noted, for example, that states can still access their federal Race to the Top grant money. He added that, longer term, there might be some ramifications.
In the short run, Terry Holliday, the commissioner of education in Kentucky, is worried about getting the state's questions answered by federal officials. "I told everybody, 'Don't bother to call [the federal] Education Department. Nobody is there to answer the phone," he said.
Kentucky was scheduled to have a call on its No Child Left Behind Act waiver monitoring that will likely be delayed if the shutdown continues, Holliday said. If the call is postponed, "we won't know what we need to know to tweak [our plan] as we gear up for waiver renewal."
The shutdown may be a bigger deal for Head Start centers, 23 of which were expecting a round of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant funding that will be delayed. It's unclear how many children will actually be affected—the Head Start centers can dip into their reserves, for example, to cover the lapse, a spokesman said. But, of course, the shutdown is coming on top of a 5 percent hit to Head Start through sequestration—those across-the-board cuts to federal spending that went into effect in March. Still, at least one Head Start center, in North Florida, has had to close its doors, according to my colleague Christina Samuels of Early Years fame...