- Legislative and advocacy
- June 10, 2022 NSBA Weekly Update
June 10, 2022 - NSBA Weekly Update
Cardona Testifies on Budget as the House Moves Forward on FY23 Funding
On Tuesday, June 7, the Senate Committee on Appropriations’ Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hosted U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to testify about the Administration’s fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request for the U.S. Department of Education. The hearing focused extensively on forthcoming student loan proposals currently under consideration by the Biden Administration. In the wake of the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Senators also debated policy approaches to increasing school safety, including greater investments in mental health, school infrastructure changes, and providing firearms and related training to teachers. In addition to these subjects, lawmakers asked a wide range of questions of Secretary Cardona regarding online and remote learning, student data privacy, and efforts to mitigate student learning loss among other topics.
An archived webcast of the hearing, including Secretary Cardona’s testimony, can be accessed here. In other FY23 funding news, lawmakers in the House advanced a key procedural measure this week to begin debate on the 12 individual appropriations bills that compose the federal discretionary budget. This measure sets an overall $1.6 trillion budget limit for FY23—the same amount that was requested in President Biden’s most recent budget request—which will allow appropriators to begin to allocate this proposed amount among forthcoming spending bills. NSBA’s advocacy team expects this work to begin later this month, potentially as soon as next week, ahead of the July 4th Congressional recess. As these efforts get underway, we will continue to advocate for a robust investment in schools and districts to meet the significant funding needs of the K-12 community.
Senate Confirms New OCTAE Leader
On Wednesday, June 8, the Senate voted 57-42 to confirm Dr. Amy Loyd to be the next Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education. In this position Dr. Loyd will lead the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) within the U.S. Department of Education—a posting that oversees career and technical education programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). Following the vote, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a statement saying, in part, “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.”
Victims Speak about Impact of Tragedy in Uvalde, TX
This week the House Committee on Oversight and Reform convened a hearing that included testimony from victims of the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. While a focus of the hearing was proposed changes to firearms laws, witnesses’ testimonies yielded information and examples pertinent to the need for more resources and greater access to mental health supports for youth, which has been prioritized by several congressional committees including the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Education and Labor, as well as the Senate Committees on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and Finance. As NSBA continues advocacy regarding increased supports for youth mental health services, we are providing this update along with the following statements about the hearing from the Majority and Minority Committee members.
GAO Study on Pandemic’s Impact on Learning
On June 8, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a new report examining the pandemic’s impact on student academic achievement and progress in the 2020-21 school year. The study made use of data from a nationally representative survey and found that 52 percent of teachers reported having more of their students start the 2020-21 school year further behind than in a typical year. It also found that 64 percent of respondents reported having students making less academic progress than in a typical school year and nearly half of surveyed teachers reported having at least half of their students end the school year a grade level behind. Additional information about the study can be found here.
Secretary Cardona Highlights Efforts Needed to Support the Teaching Profession
On May 9, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona discussed how the nation can support teachers and elevate the teaching profession. During an address and fireside chat at the Bank Street College of New York, Secretary Cardona detailed how his Department, states, school districts, and higher education institutions can recruit, prepare, and retain effective teachers. He highlighted a number of points, including the need to provide teachers with livable wages, greater professional learning and leadership opportunities after induction, more residency and mentorship programs, access to public service loan forgiveness, and improved reciprocity to ensure that teacher licensure is easier among states. Secretary Cardona also cited existing challenges in that many teachers qualify for public assistance in several states, the average starting salary for teachers in some states is about $34,000, and in a number of areas, teachers earn about 60 percent of what other college-educated professionals earn.
Secretary Cardona noted that the administration’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget request to Congress includes nearly $722 million in additional funding for teachers/effective instruction, and that Oct. 31 is the last day to apply for public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) under flexibilities in program rules as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. PSLF is available to teachers and other public service employees (https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service).
For additional details about these efforts to support educators and the teaching profession, please see the Department’s fact sheet on Sustaining Investments in Teachers Beyond the American Rescue Plan at https://www2.ed.gov/documents/coronavirus/factsheet-teachers.pdf.
In addition to Secretary Cardona’s address, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education held a recent hearing on addressing teacher shortages that yielded findings and recommendations about increasing high-quality teacher residencies, local “grow your own” programs, and ways to attract and retain effective educators in high-needs disciplines such as special education. You can view a recording of the hearing at https://appropriations.house.gov/events/hearings/tackling-teacher-shortages.
NSBA continues to urge greater federal support to help address educator shortages through resources for innovation and implementation of locally developed strategies to improve teacher and principal effectiveness.
USED published notice on a discretionary grant program for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Indian Education Discretionary Grants Program – Native American Language Program – The Native American Language Program provides support to schools that use Native American and Alaska Native languages as the primary language and it seeks to use, practice, maintain and revitalize the rights of Native Americans and Alaska Natives to use these languages. This program further encourages the Nation’s First Peoples’ to revitalize their language and cultures and improve educational opportunities for Native American and Alaska Native Communities. The estimated available funds for this program total $1,054, 537, which is contingent on the availability of funds and quality of applications. Applications are due by August 2, 2022, and further information is available here.
ESSA State Plan Amendments
The U.S. Department of Education is now reviewing ESSA consolidated state plan amendments that are submitted using the COVID-19 State Plan Addendum for the 2021-2022 school year. The following state plan addendums have now been approved:
- H.R.7966 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) To provide for increased authorization of funding to secure schools, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Hudson, Richard [R-NC-8]
- H.R.7956 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) 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. Carter, Earl L. "Buddy" [R-GA-1]
- H.Res.1154 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) Expressing support for the designation of June 2022 as "National Cybersecurity Education Month". Sponsor: Rep. Garbarino, Andrew R. [R-NY-2]
- H.R.7942 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) Securing Our Students Act Sponsor: Rep. Owens, Burgess [R-UT4]
- H.R.7933 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) Keep Infant Formula Safe and On the Shelves Act of 2022 Sponsor: Rep. DeLauro, Rosa L. [D-CT-3]
NSBA Supports Homework Gap Funding
NSBA joined 41 education and library organizations in endorsing efforts in Congress to find additional funding for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). The ECF was created as part of the American Rescue Plan to help bridge the gap for students lacking the home broadband and devices necessary for education. Schools and libraries have received over $4.8 billion through the program, which they have used to subsidize the purchase of more than 10 million devices and 5 million home broadband connections. In total, the ECF has connected more than 12.5 million students to the internet. To maintain this impressive progress in closing the homework gap, schools and libraries requested another $2.8 billion for the next school year. With only an estimated $1.5 billion remaining, the ECF will be unable to meet that demand. The 42 endorsing organizations were listed in a Dear Colleague letter from Rep. Grace Meng asking Members of Congress to join her in asking Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer to help find additional funding for ECF.
- Courtesy of NSBA's Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of June 10, 2022