E-Update for the Week of July 4, 2022
- On June 24, the House passed two bills that support mental health services for students in higher education.
- On June 27, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in favor of Joseph Kennedy, a high school football coach who lost his job because of his post-game prayers at the 50-yard line.
- On June 30, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) funding bill.
Budget & Appropriations:
House Appropriations Committee approves FY2023 Labor/HHS funding bill: On June 30, the House Appropriations Committee advanced the FY2023 Labor/HHS funding bill by a 32 to 24 party line vote. The package includes increased funding for child care, Head Start, and preschool development grants, including $7.2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and $12.4 billion for Head Start. Programs that increase access to postsecondary education also saw increases, including an $500 increase to the maximum Pell grant and $1.1 billion to assist primarily Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). During the markup, Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced a manager’s amendment to clarify terms in the bill and add more defined language, which passed. Meanwhile, two amendments proposed by Republican members failed, including an amendment introduced by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI), which would block the Biden Administration’s proposed rule for the Charter Schools Program, and an amendment introduced by Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA), which would block the Biden Administration’s ability to enact widespread loan forgiveness. The bill will now be considered by the full House in July. It is expected that the Senate will also begin to release its FY2023 appropriations bills and consider the bills at the committee level in July.
June 30, 2022
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Secretary Cardona participates in virtual conversation with students, educators, school counselors, and policy leaders in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy: On June 29, USED recognized Immigrant Heritage Month and the tenth anniversary of the DACA program in a conversation with DACA recipients. During the event, participants shared how the program has impacted their lives and emphasized the need for young students to understand the importance of DACA. Others shared lessons they’ve learned during their time counseling DACA recipients on their career and education goals. Meanwhile, Secretary Cardona highlighted the outsized role DACA educators play in our education systems. “There are an estimated 200,000 DACA educators in our nation’s schools and classrooms who are a lifeline for our students,” he said. “Since the implementation of the program, over 830,000 people have been able to live, study, and work without fear of deportation and continue to contribute billions in taxes each year.”
June 29, 2022
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
HHS Secretary Becerra hosts roundtable with transgender youth and their families: On June 27, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra hosted families and transgender children from Massachusetts, Virginia, Texas, California, Georgia, and Florida in a roundtable conversation. During the event, Secretary Becerra listened to the families’ experiences while emphasizing the Department’s “commitment to protecting access to health care, including gender-affirming care.” Assistant Secretary at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) January Contreras and Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine also joined, along with representatives from the National Center for Transgender Equality, the GenderCool Project, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The leaders emphasized the disparities that LGBTQI+ youth face in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and are “uniquely burdened” by the school-to-prison pipeline. Secretary Becerra also affirmed the Department’s commitment to releasing guidance that helps child welfare agencies and health care providers protect the safety of LGBTQI+ children.
June 27, 2022
House passes two bills to improve mental health services for college students: On June 24, the House passed two bills that support mental health services for students in higher education. H.R. 5407, the “Enhancing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Through Campus Planning Act,” passed by a vote of 406 to 16, and directs USED to encourage colleges and universities to better support students’ mental health through increased services and suicide prevention plans. H.R. 6493, the “Campus Prevention and Recovery Services for Students Act of 2022,” passed by a vote of 371 to 49, and supports institutions of higher education in preventing substance abuse through evidence-based programs. The bill also reauthorizes the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Provision of the Higher Education Act. “Even before the pandemic, there was a rising demand for substance prevention and recovery programs on campuses. And unfortunately, the pandemic only exacerbated the mental health and student well-being crisis,” Chairman Scott said in a statement. “If we want to tackle the mental health crisis head on and help our students reach their full potential, then we must invest in their well-being.” A fact sheet for H.R. 5407 and section-by-section summary can be found here and here. A fact sheet for H.R. 6493 and section-by-section summary can be found here and here.
June 24, 2022
House Education and Labor and Natural Resources subcommittees hold joint hearings to examine the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE): On June 28, the House Education and Labor Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee and the Indigenous People of the United States Subcommittee held a joint hearing to examine the policies and priorities of the BIE. Witnesses included Assistant Director of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Beth Sirois and Director of the BIE Tony Dearman. During the hearing, witnesses discussed how the BIE is responding to a recently released GAO report that classified the Bureau as “high-risk,” or “especially vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or in need of transformation.” In his opening remarks, Subcommittee Chair Gregorio Sablan (D-NMI-At-Large) underscored how “core management and accountability challenges” have prevented the Bureau from “repairing dilapidated school facilities, fully serving students with disabilities, and meeting student’s academic and mental health needs.” Subcommittee Ranking Member Burgess Owens (R-UT) agreed, acknowledging that while the Bureau “has undertaken multiple efforts to reform and reorganize to better support students,” it seems that “those reforms seem to have been unsuccessful so far.” Subcommittee Ranking Member Burgess Owens (R-UT) said in his opening remarks. A recording of the hearing is here.
June 28, 2022
Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS):
SCOTUS sides with high school football coach in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District: On June 27, SCOTUS ruled in favor of Joseph Kennedy, a high school football coach who lost his job because of his post-game prayers at the 50-yard line. By a vote of 6-3, the justices ruled that Kennedy’s conduct was protected by the First Amendment. The majority opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, rejected the public school district’s argument that allowing Kennedy’s prayers to continue would have violated the Constitution’s establishment clause, which bars the government from both establishing an official religion and preferring one religion over another. But in a dissenting opinion that was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that Gorsuch had “misconstrue[d] the facts” of the case, depicting Kennedy’s prayers as “private and quiet” when the prayers had actually caused “severe disruption to school events.”
June 27, 2022
Upcoming Events (Congress & Administration):
- Please note, both houses of Congress are on recess during the week of July 4.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On July 7 at 4:00 pm, the Urban Institute will hold an event titled, “Can College Level the Playing Field? Higher Education in an Unequal Society.” The event will feature a conversation about the role of higher education in reducing inequality. More information and registration are here.
Publications (Congress & Administration):
- On June 28, the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) published a new report titled, “Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2021.” Working with the Bureau of Justice, the National Center on Education Statistics (NCES) report, “presents data on crime at school from the perspectives of students, teachers, principals, and the general population from an array of sources.” The key findings noted that school reported lower percentages of both student bullying and student sexual harassment between the 2009-2010 and 2019-2020 school years. The report can be found here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On June 27, Learning Policy Institute (LPI) published a new report titled, “Building a Well-Qualified Transitional Kindergarten Workforce in California: Needs and Opportunities.” Analyzing the new expansions in early childhood learning and transition kindergarten that California made in 2021, the report, “provides estimates for how many [transitional kindergarten] teachers California will need through 2025–26 and discusses potential pathways to support a diverse, well-prepared workforce, both in TK and in other early childhood programs.” It also offers policy opportunities that California education leaders can use to build the workforce and meet the need for educators across the state. The report can be found here.
- On June 30, EdResearch for Recovery at the Annenberg Institute at Brown University released a new evidence brief titled, “Tier 1 Instructional Strategies to Improve K-4 Reading Comprehension.” This brief aims to help systems leaders identify strategies to improve reading comprehension for students in Kindergarten to grade 4. Strategies include how to choose effective curricula, what supports can be most effective, and what strategies leaders should avoid. The brief can be found here.
- In June, EdChoice and Morning Consult released a national polling brief titled, “School Safety Observations and Perspectives Among Parents, Teachers, and the Public.” The poll was conducted from June 15-21, 2022, and included over 2,000 adults and 1,000 teachers. The poll found that teachers were less positive than parents on how schools address mental health, guns, bullying, and violent behavior. Key findings also noted that teachers are more supportive of policies that prevent gun violence. The brief can be found here.
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to establish an emergency grant aid program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY)
A bill to authorize the National Science Foundation to make awards to institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations for research, development, and related activities to advance innovative approaches to developing, improving, and expanding evidence-based microelectronics education and workforce development activities and learning experiences at all levels of education, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI)
A resolution recognizing that it is the duty of the Federal Government to develop and implement a Transgender Bill of Rights to protect and codify the rights of transgender and nonbinary people under the law and ensure their access to medical care, shelter, safety, and economic security.
Sponsor: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)