E-Update for the Week of April 4, 2022

E-Update for the Week of April 4, 2022

Highlights:

  • On March 28, President Biden released his fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request, which includes $88.327 billion in funding for the U.S. Department of Education (USED), a $11.9 billion or 15.6% increase over the FY2022 level.
  • On March 28, USED Secretary Miguel Cardona issued a nationwide call to action for states, districts, and higher education leaders to use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to address the teacher shortage and aid student recovery.
  • On March 31, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing to examine the President’s budget request for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) for FY2023, during which HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra testified.

Budget & Appropriations:

President Biden releases his FY2023 budget request: On March 28, President Biden released his FY2023 budget request, which includes $88.327 billion in funding for USED, a $11.9 billion or 15.6% increase over the FY2022 level. The largest increases in the USED budget request are proposed for the core programs — Title I, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Pell Grants (See below). Additionally, FY2023 increases can be largely attributed to initiatives to address the health and well-being of students ($1 billion for a new School-Based Health Professionals initiative); Education, Innovation, and Research (EIR) Grants (a $280 million increase above the FY2022 level); postsecondary education supports (See below); efforts to enhance institutional capacity at Minority-Serving Institutions (See below); and student loan servicing (a $620 million increase above the FY2022 level). Following the release of the FY2023 President’s budget request, Congress will now begin the process to develop FY2023 appropriations bills.
March 28, 2022

Below are highlights of funding levels included in the FY2023 President’s budget request for key education and early learning programs:

  • Early Childhood Education: For core early childhood education programs — including Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG), Head Start, and Preschool Development Grants Birth through Five (PDG B-5) – a combined increase of $2.7 billion is proposed, compared to the FY2022 levels for these programs.
  • K-12 Education: The FY2023 budget request proposes $20.5 billion in discretionary funding for Title I, which is an increase of $3 billion or 17.1% above the FY2022 level. Additionally, $16 billion in mandatory funding is requested in FY2023 for Title I. The combined total level (discretionary + mandatory) requested is $36.5 billion; however, mandatory funding for Title I is unlikely to advance through the annual appropriations process. Additionally, the FY2023 budget request includes a $2.9 billion increase above the FY2022 level for IDEA Grants to States for a total of $16.3 billion.
  • Student Financial Assistance and Higher Education: The President proposes to increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $1,775 above the FY2022 level from $6,895 to $8,670. Regarding postsecondary education supports, the FY2023 budget request includes $110 million to support a new Retention and Completion Grants program to improve student outcomes. Additionally, the FY2023 budget request includes $450 million for a new Research and Development (R&D) Infrastructure Investments for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and MSIs program.

Deadlines for Members to submit appropriations requests announced: Deadlines for Members to submit FY2023 appropriations requests to the House and Senate Labor/HHHS Appropriations Subcommittees have been announced. The deadline for Members to submit requests for programs to be funded in FY2023 to the House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee is April 27 and the deadline for the Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee is May 25. Those looking to request that Members express support to the House and Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittees for programs to be funded at specific funding levels in FY2023 should check Members’ individual websites for each office’s internal deadline, which will be earlier than the Subcommittee deadlines.
April 27 and May 25, 2022

Coronavirus Updates (as related to education):

Administration:

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

USED Secretary Cardona calls on states, districts, and institutions of higher education to address the teacher shortage: On March 28, Secretary Cardona issued a “nationwide call to action” for states, districts, and higher education leaders to use ARP funds to address the teacher shortage and aid student recovery. “Educator vacancies and other staff shortages represent a real challenge as our schools work to recover, falling hardest on students of color, students in rural communities, students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities, and multilingual learners,” Secretary Cardona said. “I am calling on states, districts, and institutions of higher education to use ARP funds to address the teacher shortage and increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the teaching profession. My team will continue to advise state and local leaders on how they can seize this moment; put COVID relief dollars to work in our schools; and achieve a lasting, equitable recovery for our students.”

Coinciding with the call to action, the Department released a fact sheet outlining examples of how states and districts have spent ARP funds to strengthen the teacher pipeline and address the current teacher shortage. In the fact sheet, Secretary Cardona urges states, districts, institutions of higher education (IHEs) and educator preparation programs (EPPs) to commit to specific actions that aim to increase the number of teachers in the classroom and accelerate student recovery. More specifically, Secretary Cardona calls on states to establish teaching as a Registered Apprenticeship and invest in evidence-based teacher residency programs. He also asks districts to commit to increasing the number of partnerships between EPPs, and IHEs to expand program capacity in teaching residency programs, amongst other actions.
March 28, 2022

Non-Coronavirus Updates:

Administration:

U.S. Department of Education (USED):

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) sanctions loan servicer for misleading borrowers: On March 30, the CFPB issued a penalty against EdFinancial Services, a student loan servicer, for “lying” to borrowers about federal debt relief. More specifically, the Bureau alleges that EdFinancial made misleading and “deceptive” statements to borrowers about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, including misrepresenting the forgiveness and repayment options available to them. “EdFinancial’s failure to tell the full truth to borrowers, so it could pad its bottom line highlights a systemic problem with loan servicing,” CFPB Director Rohit Chopra said in a statement. “When student loan companies lie about cancellation and repayment programs for borrowers, they are breaking the law.” The penalty follows warnings from the CFPB that they will closely scrutinize how loan servicing companies handle the PSLF program.
March 30, 2022

USED Secretary Cardona visits Florida on Transgender Day of Visibility: On March 31, Secretary Cardona traveled to Orlando, FL, with Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) to speak with students and families on the Transgender Day of Visibility. During the visit, Secretary Cardona and Rep. Soto visited a school to learn more about how the district is using Title I and ARP funds to support K-12 students’ recovery from the pandemic. They also held a roundtable discussion with LGBTQI+ students and family members to hear about their school experiences. The visit comes in the context of Florida’s recently passed “Parental Rights in Education Bill,” which prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through 3rd grade and prohibits instruction that is “not age appropriate” for students. “Make no mistake: this is a part of a disturbing and dangerous trend across the country of legislation targeting LGBTQI+ students, educators, and individuals,” Secretary Cardona said in a statement. “This comes at a time when we know lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning students are three to four times more likely than non-LGBTQI+ students to report experiencing persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and even self harm – not because of who they are but because of the hostility directed at them.” In his statement, Secretary Cardona urged students who believe they are experiencing discrimination to file a complaint with the Department’s Office of Civil Rights. Relatedly, on March 31, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) held a roundtable discussion on protecting parental rights. “Parents have a right to have a say in their child’s education,” she said in a statement.
March 31, 2022

Congress:

House:

Ed and Labor Democrats send letter to USDA on proposed rule for child nutrition programs: On March 24, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) led a group of Committee Democrats in a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack supporting the Department’s proposed rule for child nutrition programs. The new proposed rule establishes standards for milk, whole grains, and sodium for school years 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 while beginning a longer-term process to align meals given to children through federal child nutrition programs with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). USDA’s rule comes after the Department provided temporary and limited flexibility for meal providers in meeting certain programmatic requirements during the pandemic. “Many of these challenges are persisting as schools return to a traditional meal service, and we appreciate the need to provide limited and temporary flexibility for nutritional requirements, including those pertaining to milk, whole grains, and sodium,” the Members wrote. “However, as we look to the future, meal patterns should be based off a scientific process for assessing the evidence, as is the process in the DGAs, as expeditiously as possible.” While the new rule goes into effect July 1, 2022, USDA will continue to develop long-term nutrition standards and expects to publish a proposed rule on the updated standards in the fall of 2022.
March 25, 2022

House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee examines the FY2023 budget proposal for HHS: On March 31, the House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing with HHS Secretary Becerra to examine the President’s budget request for HHS in FY2023, which includes a $1.4 billion increase for CCDBG, $1.2 billion increase for Head Start, and $160 million increase for PDG B-5 above FY2022 levels. In her opening statement, Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) highlighted several increases for programs in the recently passed FY2022 Omnibus Appropriations Act, including for child care and early learning, saying “through these investments, we are able to bring transformational change to millions of hardworking American families.” Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA) used her time to question the HHS Secretary to ask how the FY2023 President’s budget request invests in the child care workforce, which she noted are overwhelmingly women and women of color. In response, HHS Secretary Becerra said, “We know that if we are able to get the child care proposals in the Build Back Better agenda, that we would have the ability to actually meaningfully tackle this, not just try to put a Band-Aid over it. It is tremendously important for the tens of millions of families who need child care.” Representative Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) asked the Secretary further about workforce issues impacting the child care industry inquiring how the budget will address child care deserts, especially shortages in low-income areas. HHS Secretary Becerra responded, “we’re going to do everything we can to make sure we elevate those caregivers and that workforce…if we get the dollars to expand access to childcare, we’re going to work with states to make sure that they are also making sure they’re providing that extra care.”
March 31, 2022

House Education and Labor Committee Democrats introduce a bill to reauthorize workforce development programs:  On March 31, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Higher Education Workforce Investment Subcommittee Chairwoman Frederica Wilson (D-FL) introduced the “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022,” which would reauthorize the “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act” (WIOA, H.R.7309). The reauthorization aims to expand the nation’s workforce development system by authorizing $74 billion over six years for WIOA programs. The legislation also focuses on increasing workforce development opportunities for workers from historically underrepresented communities, such as people of color, women, and justice-involved individuals. “For decades, WIOA programs have strengthened our economy and helped workers find more sustainable and better-paying jobs,” Chairman Scott said. “Now, as Americans across the country are getting back to work, it is more critical than ever that we expand access to high-quality job training opportunities.” A fact sheet for the WIOA Act of 2022 is here, a section-by-section summary is here, and the full text of the legislation is here.
March 31, 2022

Senate:

Senate passes Bipartisan Innovation Act, likely leading to a Conference Committee with the House: On March 28, the Senate voted 68-28 to pass the House-passed, America Competes Act (H.R. 4521), which aims to boost the nation’s economic competitiveness. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) amended the House bill to replace it with language from the Senate-passed, United States Innovation and Competition Act, or USICA, (S. 1260). The amended bill will now return to the House setting the stage for a Conference Committee. The Conference Committee will work to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bills to produce a Bipartisan Innovation Act.
March 23, 2022

Upcoming Events (Congress & Administration):

  • On April 5 at 10:15 pm, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Communities in Need: Legislation to Support Mental Health and Well-Being.” During the hearing, the Committee will consider multiple bills that relate to youth mental health. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
  • On April 6 at 9:00 am, the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).” The hearing will feature testimony from HHS Secretary Becerra. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
  • On April 6 at 10:00 am, the House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Social and Emotional Learning and Whole Child Approaches in K-12 Education.” The hearing will feature testimony from Pamela Cantor, Founder & Senior Science Advisor at Turnaround for Children; Linda Darling-Hammond, President & CEO of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI); Max Eden, Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI); and Tim Shriver, Co-founder & Board Chair of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
  • On April 27 at 11:00 am, the National Science Foundation’s STEM Education Advisory Panel will meet. The purpose of the meeting is to provide advice to the Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (CoSTEM) and to assess CoSTEM’s progress. The meeting will include reflections on the STEM Strategic Plan. The Federal Register notice announcing the meeting is here.

Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):

  • On April 5 at 2:00 pm, The Hunt Institute will hold a webinar titled, “Early Efforts: Creating Robust Mixed Delivery Pre-K Systems.” The event will feature a panel of national experts who will discuss the implementation and benefits of a mixed delivery pre-k system for children. More information and registration are here.
  • On April 6 at 3:00 pm, Attendance Works and the Institute for Education Leadership will hold an event titled, “Keep Kids Engaged and Showing Up For Learning: Relationships, Routines and Partnerships.” The webinar will feature a panel discussion that will examine how schools can leverage health services, expanded learning, and a community schools approach that motivates students to be engaged and learning for the remainder of the year and throughout the summer. More information and registration are here.

Publications (Congressional and Administration):

  • On March 29, the Senate Finance Committee released a report titled, “Mental Health Care in the United States: The Case for Federal Action.”  The report marks the Committee’s “next step” in its effort to understand the current behavioral health care crisis and draft a bipartisan legislative package that could be considered this summer. The report synthesized hundreds of comments received from a public request for information issued last year, witnesses’ testimonies from multiple hearings over the past few months, and relevant research to identify a few major issues that will inform the Committee’s work. In the report, the Committee outlines that the nation needs a strong mental health care workforce that will “provide appropriate care – where people are, whether that’s in schools for youth, community clinics, residential

programs, hospitals, or virtually by telehealth.” Additionally, the report calls for reforms that remove barriers to health care so that people can receive treatment as quickly as possible; that insurance companies must put “mental health care on par with physical care” by ensuring parity; and that all reforms must acknowledge the disparities latent in our health care system. The full report is here.

Publications (Outside Organizations):

  • On March 30, The First Five Years Fund (FFYF) released findings from a poll of likely voters in seven battleground states. The poll found that the majority of likely voters in Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia favor legislation that would take steps to address high costs of living for families, including the cost of rent, groceries, and child care. Seven in ten likely voters said that child care should be included in a budget reconciliation package, despite the cost. Additionally, two in three likely voters said that they would be “disappointed or upset” with their Member of Congress if they approved legislation that didn’t include child care. The full findings are here.
  • On March 30, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, published a new resource titled, “District Checklist: Taking Full Advantage of American Rescue Plan Funds to Identify and Support Students Experiencing Homelessness & Housing Instability.” The checklist, developed in partnership with SchoolHouse Connection, is designed to help district leaders take full advantage of new and existing federal resources to meet the significant needs – greatly exacerbated by the pandemic – of students experiencing homelessness and housing instability. More specifically, the resource includes strategies for effectively collaborating with districts’ homeless education liaison, tips for assessing current strategies in supporting this population, and planning tools to support districts in meeting the specific needs of students experiencing homelessness. The resource is here.
  • On March 31, EdResearch for Recovery released a brief titled, “District Strategies to Reduce Student Absenteeism.” The brief outlines a tiered set of strategies districts should consider to help ensure that students are able to attend school. The brief identifies that the biggest drivers of absenteeism are transportation challenges, student health, school climate, mobility, and poverty. Key strategies presented include providing safe, reliable transportation to and from school and a safe school environment promote daily attendance; providing detailed and timely information to parents about their child’s absences and positive messaging; and connecting schoolwork to students’ identity to promote a sense of belonging. The brief is here.
  • On March 31, EdResearch for Recovery released a brief titled, “Helping Students Make Informed Choices About College.” The brief presents certain strategies schools and districts should consider (and avoid) when helping students navigate the transition between high school and college. Specific strategies identified include expanding access to college counselors; tracking student progress, and facilitating targeted outreach to boost application completion; and connecting with students during the transition between high school and college. The brief is here.
  • On March 31, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a report titled, “The Future of Education Research at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES): Advancing an Equity-Oriented Science.” In response to a request from IES, the report provides guidance on the future of education research at the National Center for Education Research (NCER) and the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER), two centers directed by IES. The report identifies critical problems and issues, new methods and approaches, and new and different kinds of research training investments. The report also outlines specific long- and short-term recommendations on what IES needs to “change or adapt in order to meet the current and future needs of education research.” The full report is here.

Legislation:

H.R.7233
A bill to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide for requirements under Medicaid State plans for health screenings and referrals for certain eligible juveniles in public institutions; and to require the HHS Secretary to issue clear and specific guidance under the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance programs to improve the delivery of health care services, including mental health services, in elementary and secondary schools and school-based health centers.
Sponsor: Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)

H.R. 7521
A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to provide grants to eligible local educational agencies to encourage female students to pursue studies and careers in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.
Sponsor: Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA)

H.R.7269
A bill to prohibit the disbursement of Federal funds to schools that violate any State law relating to materials that are harmful to minors, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Mark Green (R-TN)

H.R.7288
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 in order to increase usage of the Federal student loan income-based repayment plan and improve repayment options for borrowers, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

H.R.7294
A bill to require public IHEs to disseminate information on the rights of, and accommodations and resources for, pregnant students, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA)

S.3952
A bill to establish a new higher education data system to allow for more accurate, complete, and secure data on student retention, graduation, and earnings outcomes, at all levels of postsecondary enrollment, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

S.3953
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 in order to increase usage of the Federal student loan income-based repayment plan and improve repayment options for borrowers, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

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