House Continues Work on Fiscal Year 2023 Education Funding and other Spending Bills
As shared previously, the House Committee on Appropriations advanced funding legislation for the upcoming 2023 federal fiscal year (FY23) set to begin October 1. The bill proposes a nearly 13 percent increase in funding for the U.S. Department of Education and the programs it administers and oversees. The bill is expected to be considered as part of wider funding legislation in the coming weeks. This week, however, House lawmakers focused attention on amending and passing the federal defense budget, with plans to take up approximately half of the approved FY23 funding measures sometime next week. NSBA therefore anticipates consideration of the Labor-HHS-ED funding bill to commence later in the month. Following these steps, formal activity will then center on the Senate where lawmakers in the upper chamber will need to pass comparable funding legislation ahead of the fast-approaching October 1 FY23 deadline.
As this process continues, NSBA will continue to advocate for robust investments in K-12 education programs to ensure more students have access to high-quality education and services across the country.
USED Announces new Student Engagement Initiative
The U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced the Engage Every Student Initiative on Thursday. The initiative is aimed at helping “communities utilize American Rescue Plan funds alongside other state and local funds to ensure that every child who wants a spot in a highquality out-of-school time (OST) program has one”. This initiative will be a public-private partnership with five coordinating organizations who will work with more than 20 allied organizations to ensure that students have access to these critical learning and development opportunities year-round. Learn more here.
White House Convenes ARP Workforce Summit
On Wednesday, July 13, the White House hosted a summit titled “The American Rescue Plan and the Workforce.” The half day event convened state and local stakeholders and high-ranking cabinet officials within the Biden Administration, including Vice President Harris and U.S. Secretary of Labor Walsh. The event was intended to highlight the ongoing impact the ARP is having on workers and learners, particularly regarding the more flexible aspects of the legislation passed last year. The event highlighted a number of promising strategies, including pre-apprenticeships and so-called “grow your own" program models to address critical workforce shortages in fields like K-12 teaching and childcare. More information on these efforts can be found here. Vice President Kamala Harris’ remarks during the event can be accessed here.
U.S. Department of Education Issues Findings to States on Special Education Services
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services has posted a summary of its 2022 Determination Letters on State Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The ED determinations are based on findings submitted by each state in annual performance reports and state performance plans.
For IDEA Part B grants to states and school districts which provide resources for students with disabilities (ages 3 through 21), 22 states or territories met requirements, three states need assistance (one year), 35 states or territories need assistance (two or more consecutive years), and no state or territory received a determination of needs substantial intervention.
Individual determination letters for each state are expected to be available by the end of July. The information is online at https://sites.ed.gov/idea/files/ideafactsheet-determinations-2022.pdf.
New Study Finds Continued At-Home Connectivity Gaps for Students Following Return to In-Person Learning
Now that most students have returned to school for in-person learning, a new study from the Consortium for School Network (CoSN) examines how network connectivity has changed, with a special focus on the home-toschool experience. Released July 14, the key findings from the 2022 Student Home Connectivity Study include:
- Addressing insufficient home internet connectivity must continue to be a priority for educators and policymakers; although students returned to school, there was more internet traffic outside of school hours than there was during school hours.
- Students experience significantly slower network speeds outside of school hours than during school hours.
- Students are experiencing slightly improved network performance and faster internet speeds outside of school hours this year (21-22) compared to at home last year (20-21).
- Ongoing gaps in network performance and internet speeds at all grade levels remain for students connecting from outside the school, with approximately one-third of high school students experiencing “Far Below” or “Below Guidelines” for connectivity from home.
- Large disparities persist among student subgroups around home connectivity, particularly by ethnicity and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.
Seven K-12 urban, suburban and rural school districts from across the United States with approximately 300,000 students participated in the study: Beaverton School District (OR); Boston Public Schools (MA); Dallas Independent School District (TX); Fauquier County Public Schools (VA); MSD of Wayne Township (IN); Santa Fe Public Schools (NM); and St. Charles CUSD 303 (IL).
CoSN believes the resulting findings will serve as a guide for school district technology leaders across the U.S. working to improve online learning equity, especially during after-school hours when students are doing schoolwork from home. CoSN stresses that policymakers and educators must not lose sight of the considerable inequities that remain around at-home internet connectivity, especially for at-risk populations. Access the study here.
The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education invited applications for the following program:
- Full-Service Community Schools Program – The Full Service Community Schools Program offers support to full-service community schools in order to “improve the coordination, integration, accessibility, and effectiveness” of services that are offered, with particular focus on children attending high-poverty schools, including high-poverty rural schools. Authorized by ESEA, this program provides funds to schools with community organization partnerships to provide educational opportunities and meet the social, emotional, physical, and mental health needs of students, in addition to academic needs. The estimated available funds for this program total $68,000,000, contingent upon the availability of funds and quality of applications. Applications are due by September 12, 2022, and further information is available here.
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services invited applications for the following program:
- Technical Assistance on State Data Collection – the Rhonda Weiss National Technical Assistance Center to Improve State Capacity to Collect, Report, Analyze, and Use Accurate IDEA Data in Accessible Formats – The state data collection program serves to help states meet data collection and reporting requirements under IDEA Part B and Part C. This program will help states develop an openly licensed software program in order to report and publish data that is accessible, usable, and manipulatable by persons with disabilities. This program will also provide technical assistance on accessible data reporting and publication. The estimated available funds for this program total $3,000,000, contingent upon the availability of funds and quality of applications. Applications are due by August 22, 2022, and further information is available here.
NSBA Advocacy Team Congressional Meetings
This week NSBA’s Advocacy team met with Senator Murray’s staff about potential mental health legislation and regarding efforts to utilize ESSER funding to address learning loss. NSBA’s Advocacy team also met with House and Senate appropriators on FY2023 appropriations bills and funding levels for a variety of k-12 education programs. During meetings, several staff also expressed an interest in legislation to address educator shortages.
NSBA Urges Congress to Keep STEM Provisions in Competitiveness Bill
Congress is considering the America COMPETES Act (S.1260) and the U.S. Innovation and Innovation and Competition Act (H.R.4521)—economic competitiveness legislation that could feature new computer science and STEM education programs. A version has passed the House and Senate and it is currently in conference.
This week, NSBA sent a letter to congressional leaders urging they “preserve the Postsecondary STEM Pathways and the Improving Access to Elementary and Secondary Computer Science Education programs as the Senate and House work to resolve differences between the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act of 2022 (H.R.4521) and the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (S.1260).”
NSBA Action Alert
Urge Congress to Strengthen Investments in Special Education A legislative action alert is available regarding support for increased investments in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)—both through the current Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations process and the bicameral, tripartisan IDEA Full Funding Act (H.R. 5984 and S. 3213).
As we reported earlier, the House Appropriations Committee’s mark for the FY2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies funding bill would invest $16.3 billion in IDEA Part B grants to states and school districts, representing a $2.9 billion increase above the current funding level. This proposed increase would raise the federal share of funding for IDEA from the current 12 percent of the average per pupil expenditure to approximately 15 percent, and would represent more than a 20 percent increase in the federal share of funding for IDEA Part B grants for most states.
As Congress considers Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations for education, NSBA urges greater investments in special education for the more than seven million students with disabilities who are served under IDEA, and also continues support for final passage and enactment of the IDEA Full Funding Act. This legislation would establish a clear path towards a strong federal commitment for IDEA—to provide up to 40 percent of the average per pupil expenditure promised when IDEA was enacted in 1975—that will help close achievement gaps and support the goal of equity in education for all students. More details are available at https://p2a.co/KnyOZYJ.
- Courtesy of NSBA's Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of July 15, 2022