E-Update for the Week of June 13, 2022
- On June 9, U.S. Department of Education (USED) Secretary Miguel Cardona delivered an address to outline his vision for how the nation can support teachers across the country and elevate the teaching profession.
- On June 8, the House passed a wide-ranging package of gun control measures, H.R. 7910, the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” by a vote of 223 to 204. Additionally, on June 9, the House passed H.R. 2377, the “Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2021,” which would establish procedures for federal courts to issue federal extreme risk protection orders (also known as “Red Flags”), by a vote of 224 to 202.
- On June 7, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing to examine the FY2023 President’s budget request for USED, during which the Subcommittee heard testimony from USED Secretary Cardona.
Budget & Appropriations:
House sets $1.6 trillion budget ceiling for fiscal year (FY) 2023; Plan for House consideration of FY2023 Appropriations bills announced: On June 8, the House adopted a $1.6 trillion top-line discretionary spending total (also known as a cap) for FY2023, jumpstarting the process for appropriators to begin moving the spending bills through that chamber. While the Democratic and Republican leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee had been engaging in discussions with the goal of reaching an agreement on an overall spending level for FY2023 appropriations bills before beginning markups, House Democrats are now moving forward with drafting their own appropriations bills even as talks continue. Additionally, the House Appropriations Committee announced that its Labor/HHS bill for FY2023, which includes funding for USED and early childhood education programs, will be considered at the Subcommittee level on June 23 at 5:30 pm. The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the bill on June 30 at 10:00 am. The top-line spending levels (also known as Subcommittee allocations) for each House appropriations bill, such as the FY2023 House Labor/HHS Appropriations bill, have yet to be announced. Additionally, the Senate has not announced a plan for consideration of its FY2023 Senate appropriations bills. Given that a bipartisan, bicameral framework for FY2023 has yet to be reached, it is likely that a Continuing Resolution (CR) will be needed to extend federal funding beyond the end of the current fiscal year on September 30.
June 8, 2022
Nominations and Personnel:
USED announces its first Chief Economist: On June 8, USED announced that Jordan Matsudaira, who currently serves as Deputy Under Secretary, will be the Department’s first-ever chief economist. Matsudaira will continue to serve as Deputy Under Secretary, a role he was appointed to in February 2021. As chief economist, Matsudaira will work with the Office of the Chief Data Officer, the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), Budget Service, and Federal Student Aid (FSA) to: (1) provide the best-possible analysis and advice to guide real-time policymaking; (2) conduct rigorous research to further key elements of the Department’s learning agenda; (3) build a culture of experimentation, including partnerships with leading social science researchers to pilot-test new ways to serve students and borrowers; and (4) serve as a liaison to the research community so that leading researchers’ insights and evidence inform our agenda and we can work together to build the evidence and research base on how best to strengthen education. The Department also noted that while the role of Chief Economist will initially focus on higher education that the agency over time hopes to expand the scope of the Office of the Chief Economist. Previously, Matsudaira was an Associate Professor of economics and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
June 8, 2022
U.S. Senate confirms Amy Loyd nomination as USED Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education programs: On June 8, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Amy Loyd to serve as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) at USED. Prior to joining the Administration as a senior advisor, Amy Loyd was a vice president at Jobs for the Future where she designed and led programs to improve education and workforce outcomes. “I am thrilled by the Senate’s confirmation of Amy Loyd, whose expertise in the intersection between education and workforce development will make her an excellent assistant secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education,” said USED Secretary Cardona in a statement. “At the Department… Amy will continue to drive our efforts to grow the middle class by expanding career-connected learning and better aligning our K-12 and postsecondary systems with the needs of our workforce.”
June 8, 2022
White House outlines how American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding is being used to help expand broadband access: On June 7, the White House highlighted how funding through the ARP is going to be used to help expand access to affordable, high-speed internet. Specifically, the White House announced the first state awards of ARP’s $10 billion Capital Projects Fund, which can support the expansion of affordable, reliable, high-speed internet infrastructure and other connectivity projects. The White House noted that the funding will provide affordable, reliable, high-speed internet to over 200,000 homes and small businesses. The White House also called attention to state and local examples of how ARP’s $8 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds have been used to support the construction of affordable and high-speed broadband infrastructure and provide assistance to households for Internet access and digital literacy. Additionally, the White House underscored how ARP’s $7.2 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund is helping over 10,000 schools, school districts, libraries, and consortia to close the “homework gap” and support off-campus learning to ensure students across the country have the necessary support to keep up with their education.
June 7, 2022
U.S. Department of Education (USED):
USED Secretary Cardona lays out his vision for supporting and elevating the teaching profession: On June 9, USED Secretary Cardona delivered an address to outline his vision for how the nation can support teachers across the country and elevate the teaching profession. Speaking at the Bank Street College of New York, Secretary Cardona discussed how the Department, states, school districts, and higher education institutions can recruit, prepare, and retain teachers and, in turn, improve our education system across the country. Specifically, Secretary Cardona’s vision focused on three areas: (1) recruiting diverse, high-qualified teachers into the profession and investing in high-quality teacher pipeline programs; (2) supporting educators’ professional development to ensure our nation’s students are receiving high-quality education to meet the demands of today’s economy; and (3) investing in strategies to retain high-quality educators and keep them in the profession long-term. Secretary Cardona also highlighted the work USED has done to support teachers and shared his own experience and perspective as a former teacher, principal, and school administrator. Coinciding with the event, the Department released a fact sheet on how ARP funds used to invest in educators can be sustained for the long-term using other existing sources of federal funds.
June 9, 2022
Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee holds a hearing to examine the FY2023 President’s budget request for USED: On June 7, the Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing to examine the FY2023 President’s budget request for USED, during which the Subcommittee heard testimony from USED Secretary Cardona. While the hearing was focused on the President’s budget proposal, Senate Labor/HHS Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Labor/HHS Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-MO), and USED Secretary Cardona each began their opening remarks by acknowledging the recent tragedy at Robb Elementary School, as well as the need to increase resources to improve school safety and access to mental health supports. Chairwoman Murray also used her opening statement to call for gun safety reforms, including universal background checks, assault weapons ban, and Red Fag laws, and went on to say, “It is a gun problem… we can’t ﬁx this by asking educators to be soldiers and bringing more guns into schools. We cannot ﬁx it by turning classrooms into prisons or simply buying more metal detectors. We have to pass commonsense gun safety reforms; there’s no getting around it.”
Related to the President’s FY2023 budget request, key issues raised by several Democratic and Republican members during the hearing included the use of COVID funding and how funds are being used to address learning loss, as well as inequities in education; mental health challenges students are facing; higher education affordability; and the need to fix the student loan system. Specifically, Chairwoman Murray emphasized, “There’s one word that keeps coming up when I talk to people about our student loan system: broken,” before going on to stress the importance of delivering relief for student borrowers who’ve been burdened with “unmanageable student debt” and making college more affordable for students across the country. Additionally, Ranking Member Blunt used his time questioning the Secretary to discuss the importance of mental health supports and to inquire about the Department’s proposal for $1 billion to create a new program to increase the number of health professionals in our public schools, including school counselors, nurses, school psychologists, social workers. In his opening statement, Ranking Member Blunt also noted that he is “frustrated” that the Department is moving forward with its “overreaching” charter school program regulations and “alarmed” by what would be “illegal student loan forgiveness” currently under discussion by the Biden Administration.
During his opening statement, USED Secretary Cardona highlighted several of the President’s proposed K-12 investments in K-12 education for FY2023, including funding for Title I schools, full-service community schools, mental health supports, and $350 million for recruiting and retaining teachers. Regarding federal funding for student financial assistance and postsecondary education, the Secretary called for a $1,775 increase to the maximum Pell Grant and investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), tribal colleges, and other inclusive institutions. Additionally, Secretary Cardona drew attention to the President’s FY2023 proposal of $200 million for career connected learning so more underserved students graduate high school with industry credentials and college credits.
June 7, 2022
Senate Committee on Finance Republicans request information on Treasury’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds: On June 6, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID), Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-OH), and all Republican Finance Committee Members sent a letter to the Government and Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a detailed accounting of the COVID relief funds appropriated to governments of states, localities, territories and tribes under ARP’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Of note, State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds can be used to pay for the salary and benefits of school and child care staff, as well as infrastructure improvements to schools. Specifically, the letter requests information regarding what controls are in place to ensure states and localities abide by ARP restrictions and how much of the allocated funds have been recouped by Treasury Department. In the letter, the members write, “Based on several discussions with officials at the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) regarding obligations, expenditures, and uses of Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRFs) provided for in ARPA, there remains insufficient information on details, and reporting that is publicly available to date, which Treasury appears to take with casual indifference. Because of the lack of information and transparency on uses of and accounting for these federal funds, we request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) help to ensure there is proper oversight of at least $350 billion of ARPA funding and necessary accountability to Congress and the American people.”
June 6, 2022
House makes progress on gun control legislation and hears testimony on gun violence: On June 8, the House passed a wide-ranging package of gun control measures, H.R. 7910, the “Protecting Our Kids Act,” by a vote of 223 to 204. Five Republicans voted for the bill, including Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Fred Upton (R-MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Chris Jacobs (R-NY). Meanwhile, two Democrats – Reps. Jared Golden (D-ME) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) – voted against the measure. Amongst other provisions, the legislation raises the legal age to buy certain semiautomatic firearms from 18 to 21 years old, establishes new federal offenses for gun trafficking and related conduct, and allows local governments to compensate individuals who surrender such magazines through a buyback program. The measures would also take steps to strengthen existing federal regulations on bump stocks and ghost guns. Separately, on June 9, the House passed H.R. 2377, the “Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2021,” by a vote of 224 to 202 with the same five Republican members crossing the aisle to support the bill and Rep. Golden as the lone Democrat opposing the bill. The bill would establish procedures for federal courts to issue federal extreme risk protection orders (also known as “Red Flags”). While Senate action on the package remains uncertain, a bipartisan group of Senators, led by Chris Murphy (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), are attempting to negotiate a separate legislative package in the Senate.
The vote followed a House Oversight Committee hearing earlier that day on “The Urgent Need to Address the Gun Violence Epidemic.” The hearing featured testimony from a young survivor of the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, as well as the parents of a victim, and a pediatrician who responded to the tragedy. “Somewhere out there, there is a mom listening to our testimony, thinking, ‘I can’t even imagine their pain,’ not knowing that our reality will one day be hers, unless we act now,” said Kimberly Rubio, the mother of 10-year-old Lexi Rubio, who was killed in the attack. Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney’s (D-NY) opening statement is here. Ranking Member James Comer’s (R-KY) opening statement is here. A recording of the hearing, as well as witnesses’ testimonies, can be found here.
June 8 and 9, 2022
House Republicans continue to question Biden Administration’s authority to enact blanket student loan forgiveness: On June 8, House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sent a letter to USED Secretary Cardona in response to the Secretary stating that the Department was “ready to roll” on administering student loan forgiveness. In the letter, Ranking Member Foxx questioned both the Administration’s authority to grant blanket forgiveness in any amount and sought more details on the plan by which the Department would carry out the forgiveness. The day prior, Rep. Foxx remarked on the House floor that blanket loan forgiveness “is simply retroactive free college” and called the administration’s proposed actions a “scam.” While President Biden has yet to make a final decision on widespread debt cancellation, White House officials are considering forgiving $10,000 of loans for borrowers who make less than $150,000 per year. However, Republican leadership remains skeptical of the Administration’s authority to issue blanket loan relief.
June 8, 2022
Upcoming Events (Congress & Administration):
- On June 14 at 10:15 am, the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL),” during which DOL Secretary Marty Walsh is expected to testify. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- On June 14 at 10:30 am, the House Budget Committee will hold a hearing titled, “How the American Rescue Plan Saved Lives and the U.S. Economy.” Witnesses include Dr. Julia Coronado, Founder and President of Macropolicy Perspectives; Ms. Sharon Parrott, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and The Honorable Vince Williams, Mayor of Union City, Georgia and President of the National League of Cities. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- On June 14 at 10:30 am, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Protecting America’s Consumers: Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Data Privacy and Security.” In advance of the hearing, the Committee has posted the “American Data Privacy and Protection Act,” which can be found here. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- On June 14 at 2:30 pm, the Senate Judiciary Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Strengthening our Workforce and Economy through Higher Education and Immigration.” Witnesses have yet to be announced. More information will be posted here.
- On June 15 at 9:30 am, the Senate Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a hearing to examine the FY2023 President’s budget request for DOL, during which DOL Secretary Marty Walsh is expected to testify. More information will be available here.
- On June 15 at 10:00 am, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine protecting America’s children from gun violence. Witnesses have yet to be announced. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- On June 15 at 10:00 am, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The Burnout Epidemic and what Working Women Need for a Stronger Economy.” Witnesses have yet to be announced. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- On June 16 at 9:30 am, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a hearing titled, “An Update on the Ongoing Federal Response to COVID-19: Current Status and Future Planning.” Witnesses include Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, Director of the CDC; Ahony Fauci, MD, Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID): Robert Califf, MD, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS. The hearing will be livestreamed here.
- On June 23 at 5:30 pm, the House Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up its FY2023 bill. More information is here.
- On June 30 at 10:00 am, the full House Appropriations Committee will mark up the FY2023 House Labor/HHS Appropriations bill. More information is here.
Upcoming Events (Outside Organizations):
- On June 13 at 4:00 pm, the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold an event titled, “Revisiting a State Analysis of Efficient Early Care and Education Systems.” The event will feature a discussion with child care experts from Maine, New Mexico, and North Dakota, who will highlight how they improved their early childhood education programming. More information and registration are here.
- On June 14 at 2:00 pm, the Wallace Foundation will hold a webinar titled, “Insights and Reflections on Planning and Implementing District-led Summer Programs.” The event will draw upon research conducted by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) and commissioned by the Wallace Foundation that sheds light on the complex array of policies, procedures, and resources that go into the design and operation of these programs. More information and registration are here.
- On June 14 at 4:00 pm, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research will hold a discussion titled, the “Fight for American Education: Betsy DeVos on Her Tenure as Secretary of Education.” During the event, former USED Secretary Betsy DeVos will discuss her new book titled, Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child. More information and registration are here.
Publications (Congress & Administration):
- On June 7, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) published a report titled, “Study of Teacher Coaching Based on Classroom Videos: Impacts on Student Achievement and Teachers’ Practices.” The report examines individualized coaching videos of teacher instruction for reflection, practice and feedback, and found that when compared to teachers who did not receive the study’s coaching, a certain number of video-based coaching improved end-of-year student test scores in English and Language Arts. The full study is here.
- On June 8, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a report titled, “Ventilation Improvement Strategies Among K–12 Public Schools – The National School COVID-19 Prevention Study, United States, February 14 – March 27, 2022.” The report found that schools in rural districts with moderate levels of low-income students were less likely to report using high-cost ventilation systems to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The nationally representative survey showed that some schools are struggling to adopt this critical mitigation strategy, despite the availability of federal funds. Moreover, rural schools were significantly less likely to use portable filtration systems, compared to urban and suburban schools. The full report is here.
- On June 9, GAO published a report titled, “Pandemic Learning: Less Academic Progress Overall, Student and Teacher Strain, and Implications for the Future.” The report surveyed K-12 public school teachers to measure the pandemic’s effect on academic progress in the 2020-2021 school year. Key findings include identifying that 52 percent of teachers said they had more of their students start the 2020-2021 school year behind compared to the typical school year; 64 percent of teachers said they had more students who made less academic progress than in a typical school year; and 45 percent of teachers said they had at least half their students end the school year a grade level behind. The full report is here.
Publications (Outside Organizations):
- On June 1, Education Resource Strategies (ERS) published a new resource, “How to Approach an ‘ESSER Halftime Review.’” This new tool is designed to help district leaders reflect on the effectiveness of their ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) spending, especially as it supports the highest need children through learning recovery. The guide is organized in three phases that, “help facilitate productive conversations, supported by data, that lead to better outcomes for students.” The resource introduction is here and the full tool PDF is here.
- On June 6, the Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) Alliance, along with 50 education and youth development organizations, sent a letter to USED Secretary Cardona outlining a recommended path to pandemic recovery. The letter, titled, “Charting a path to COVID recovery for all young people,” notes that “accelerating COVID recovery requires a focus on the whole child.” The letter calls for three initial, immediate actions including, first, that USED and education providers commit to “adopting a shared mindset” that it will take several years to recover; second, that education stakeholders need “the best information we have from existing evidence and continuously improve that information over time;” and third, that redesigning and aligning schools and other learning environments is crucial. The letter is here.
- On June 6, the Century Foundation published a report titled, “Parent PLUS Borrowers: The Hidden Casualties of the Student Debt Crisis.” The report analyzed borrower outcomes from the Parent PLUS Loan program and found that parents who take out loans through the program are taking on “one of the riskiest federal student loan options.” According to the report, more than 3.7 million families owe more than $104 billion in federal student loans, and ten years after parents start repayments, 55 percent of the principal remains unpaid. The report is based on recently released data from the College Scorecard system that included new data on loan repayment. The full report is here.
- On June 6, Chalkbeat published a report titled, “The Pandemic’s Toll: Study Documents Fatality Rates of Teachers, Child Care Workers in 2020.” The report found that child care workers were more likely than the typical American worker to die of COVID in 2020. More specifically, among over 1 million child care workers, 405 died from COVID that year. Meanwhile, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, on the other hand, had somewhat lower mortality rates than the typical worker. The full report is here.
- On June 7, the National Women’s Law Center released a report titled, “At the Crossroads: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2021.” The report examines state policies in key areas as of February 2021 and found “both progress and continuing shortfalls.” Key findings include identifying that over 30,000 fewer children were on waiting lists for child care assistance in 2021, compared to 2020, and that in 18 states, copayments for a low-income family of three decreased as a percentage of income, during the same period. At the same time, however, 13 states had waiting lists or frozen intake for child care assistance, and only two states set their payment rates for child care providers at the federally recommended level. The full report is here.
- On June 8, the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education released a report titled, “Title IX At 50.” The report is comprised of nine briefs that discuss sexual harassment in schools, discipline based on sex and race, athletics and Title IX coordinators. The full report is here.
- On June 8, the Center for American Progress (CAP) published a new column titled, “Why K-12 Teachers and their Students Need Investments in Child Care.” The piece describes how federal investments in child care can help recruit and retain a diverse educator workforce by improving the affordability of child care for educators and by ensuring students start school ready to learn. The column is here.
- On June 9, CAP and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education published a report titled, “The Alternative Teacher Certification Sector Outside Higher Education.” The study found that the completion of alternative teacher certification programs is lower compared to programs at institutes of higher education. More specifically, the report found that completion of an alternative certification program was down 10 percent between 2010-2011 to 2018-2019. The full report is here.
- On June 9, the Education Development Center published a report titled, “Supporting Quality in Summer Learning: How Districts Plan, Develop, and Implement Programs.” The study outlines how districts plan, develop, and implement summer learning, and found that districts typically blend funding for these programs from multiple sources, including the federal, state, and local level. The report recommends that districts collaborate with partners and advance “whole-child” learning between academic and enrichment activities. The full report is here.
A bill to require the President to submit a report to Congress on the actions Executive agencies are taking to make school security improvements at public elementary and secondary schools, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA)
A bill to require disclosure of the total amount of interest that would be paid over the life of a loan for certain Federal student loans.
Sponsor: Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA)
A bill to provide for increased authorization of funding to secure schools, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide for deferment on the repayment of loans for borrowers who are victims of sexual violence, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA)
A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow certain Federal student loans to be transferred from a parent to a child, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL)
A resolution expressing the commitment of the House of Representatives to building on the twenty years of success of the George McGovern-Robert Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.
Sponsor: Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)