Congress Negotiates a Continuing Resolution
As shared previously, federal legislators recently returned to Capitol Hill for a three-week work period before they break for the election. There are many legislative items lawmakers hope to attend to during this time, but providing more time to complete the federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) appropriations process is the top priority. As a reminder, the federal fiscal year begins on October 1. Both the House and Senate have thus far been unable to find agreement on the 12 individual spending bills that fund federal operations and programs. Consequently, Congress is currently now quickly negotiating a continuing resolution (CR)—short-term legislation that will extend current fiscal year 2022 (FY22) funding levels for a specific period of time.
At present, the CR will likely extend current FY22 funding levels for all federal operations and programs, like the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), until sometime after the midterm elections. Lawmakers are currently debating whether to include a variety of other provisions, including supplemental funding for the natural disasters, the war in Ukraine, and environmental permitting to this legislation. These talks are fluid and expected to continue through next week. NSBA expects that a CR to extend until mid-December will be passed before Congress leaves town. As these talks continue, NSBA will continue to advocate for robust investments in K-12 education programs, including ESSA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and other school board member federal funding priorities.
USED Announces New Teacher Grants
On Monday, September 12, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced $25 million in new awards intended to support teacher recruitment, retention, diversification, and preparation efforts. The Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program’s latest round of grants will make 22 five-year investments in several institutions of higher education intended to fund teacher preparation programs in high-needs communities throughout the country. More information on the announcement can be found here.
USED Issues Assessment Letter
On Tuesday, September 13, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) circulated a Dear Colleague letter to Chief State School Officers regarding the upcoming release of state assessment data from the 2021-22 school year. In anticipation of these releases, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona reiterated best practices for using and interpretating assessment data. The letter goes on to encourage states to use these results in a “constructive” manner. The letter can be found here.
DOJ to Appeal Title IX Ruling
Also on Tuesday, September 13, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that they intend to appeal a recent federal court ruling temporarily blocking the Biden Administration from implementing its recently issued proposed rules to help schools, districts, and institutions implement the requirements of Title IX. These rules have recently been available for public comment which garnered nearly 146,000 individual pieces of feedback. The full appeal can be found here.
USED Releases Title IV-A Guidance
Yesterday, September 15, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released new guidance to implement the recently passed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA)—legislation intended to help reduce gun violence in schools. Among the provisions contained in the BSCA was an additional, supplementary investment of $1 billion in ESSA’s Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program. These one-time supplementary funds are intended to help schools and districts provide for safer and healthier learning environments for students. The guidance provides important details regarding how these funds—which were released yesterday— can and should be spent for these purposes. Read the letter here.
House Hosts Youth Apprenticeship Hearing
On September 15, the House Small Business’ Subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Workforce Development held a hearing entitled “Back to School, Back to Startups: Supporting Youth Apprenticeship, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development.” The hearing focused on the impact the pandemic has had on small businesses and strategies to help these firms identify and hire the talent they need to be successful. During the hearing lawmakers explored a wide variety of innovative workforce development strategies targeted at youth that can provide important on-ramps from K-12 education into the labor force. The hearing also highlighted the urgent need to expand federal financial aid and support for these programs and wider efforts. An archive of the hearing can be found here.
- H.R.8826 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to expand working hours for employees between the ages of 14 and 16 years during periods in which schools are in session, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Johnson, Dusty [Rep.-R-SD-At Large]
- H.R.8822 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) To direct the Secretary of Education to carry out a grant program to support the placement of students and licensed professional social workers in public libraries, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Garcia, Sylvia R. [Rep.-D-TX-29]
- S.4845 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) A bill to provide for safe schools and safe communities. Sponsor: Cruz, Ted [Sen.-R-TX]
- Courtesy of NSBA's Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of September 16, 2022