It appears control of the next Congress will be split between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are on track for a narrow majority in the Senate and Republicans are on track for a narrow majority in the House. As leadership and congressional committee updates become available, we will share them with you.
Educators, Parents, Students Won Big in Historic Midterm Elections
Voters headed to the polls at historically high rates, and in key local, state, and federal races, they elected candidates who articulated a clear, positive message about public education. Overall, the election results demonstrate widespread support for public schools, many of which are dealing with the effects of the nationwide educator shortage. It was a relief to millions of educators and parents that many candidates espousing dangerous plans to hurt public schools, students, and the teaching profession were defeated. More on the midterms can be found here.
House cybersecurity education funding bill draws bipartisan support
A bill to create a $10 million fund for cybersecurity education, a response to rising digital threats, is drawing rare bipartisan cooperation in the House. Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) recently introduced the Cybersecurity Skills Integration Act. The bill would distribute grants of up to $500,000 per year from the Department of Education to universities, trade schools, and other institutions that “incorporate cybersecurity education and prepare individuals to meet workforce needs in critical infrastructure sectors.” More on the bill can be found here.
A Proclamation on American Education Week, 2022
That is why my Administration fought so hard to pass the American Rescue Plan, which provided a historic $130 billion to help schools across the country reopen safely, tackle learning loss, boost teacher pay, increase mental health services, and expand afterschool and summer programs. Since I took office, schools have hired 328,000 new educators and staff and increased the number of social workers, counselors, and school nurses on hand to support students. Meanwhile, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is investing historic amounts in our Nation’s roads, bridges, and communities. More on this proclamation can be found here.
DHS Sec. Mayorkas: Relationships, Not Tech, Central to Creating Safe Schools
Amid a surge in mass school shootings, districts nationwide have pumped more than $3 billion into school security. The Department of Homeland Security has endorsed “threat assessment,” a process where educators, mental health professionals and the police analyze a student’s behaviors and statements to determine if they, as Mayorkas put it, are “descending down a path towards violence.” Mayorkas fielded questions about the sharp uptick in mass school shootings, the botched police response in Uvalde, Texas, and a massive ransomware attack that targeted the Los Angeles Unified School District. More on Mayorkas’ interview can be found here.
Ed Department Wants Expedited Evaluations For Students With Disabilities Who Move
Guidance issued this month from the U.S. Department of Education spells out steps schools ought to be taking to ease the transition for “highly mobile children” in accessing special education services. This category incorporates a broad range of kids including those from military families, migrants, homeless as well as foster children. Education Department officials said that school districts should try to complete evaluations within 30 days, if possible, coordinating with other districts to quickly exchange relevant records and other information. More on the guidance can be found here.
U.S. Department of Education Launches New Initiative to Support Career-Connected Learning and Increase Job Pathways for Young Americans
Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the launch of Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success, a new Biden-Harris Administration initiative supported by the Departments of Commerce and Labor to increase and expand access to high-quality training programs to help young Americans pursue jobs in today’s in-demand fields and be prepared for careers of the future. With the support of the $120 billion dollars dedicated to K-12 education in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and Perkins funding, the Administration is ensuring the next generation is building the skills necessary to fill high-paying jobs like those created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and CHIPS and Science Act. As part of today’s launch, the Department is announcing $5.6 million dollars in Perkins funding for a new program to expand work-based learning opportunities for students and this morning will issue new guidance on how federal funds can be used to develop and expand career pathway programs, including Registered Apprenticeships. More information on the initiative can be found here.
USDA Invests $50 Million for Schools & Food Industry to Work Together to Strengthen School Meals
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service today launched a new and innovative initiative for healthier school meals through a $50 million grant opportunity that will support collaboration with the food industry to develop nutritious, appetizing school meals for students. The request for grant applications opened today marks the second phase of USDA’s $100 million Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative. The initiative is designed to improve the quality of school meals by strengthening access to nutritious food products. More on this initiative can be found here.
New CPE Report: Community Schools: A Strategy Focusing on Student Needs and Parent Engagement
The concept of community schools can be traced back to the early 20th century when industrialization, immigration, and urbanization were rapidly increasing, and public schools in cities were struggling to meet the social and civic needs of students from low-income families. In a new research brief, "Community Schools: A Strategy Focusing on Student Needs and Parent Engagement," NSBA’s Center for Public Education (CPE) conducted a literature review and briefly reported on the characteristics of community schools and how they engage parents and all stakeholders to improve student achievement and well-being. The announcement can be found here.
Early Bird Savings Deadline is Today for NSBA’s Advocacy Institute
The NSBA Advocacy Institute on Jan. 29-31 in Washington, D.C., will provide attendees with the latest developments in key education policy. Topics include district funding, parental rights and engagement, choice legislation, and teacher shortages. Don't miss the opportunity to champion the interests of public K-12 students, advocate for education priorities and federal policies, and network with colleagues from across the country. The early bird savings deadline ends today, Nov. 18 - register now!
Education Secretary, NSBA, National PTA, and Others Host Town Hall on Parental Involvement
On Nov. 17, NSBA Executive Director and CEO John Heim joined U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, National PTA President Anna King, and other education leaders in a virtual town hall to celebrate National Parent Involvement Day.
Town hall participants discussed the importance of parental involvement in schools and how PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships can enhance efforts to help children and communities thrive.
Heim noted that the National PTA’s “Collaborating with Community” standard may be of particular importance to school board members. He noted that the standard contains recommendations and goals focused on mapping community needs and assets; developing continuous feedback cycles with families, staff, and community leaders to evaluate the impact of strategic actions and address shifting priorities; and identifying the specific roles necessary for a community partnership to be successful.
“When I started my career in education, we thought collaborating was sending home a newsletter and bringing cookies and cupcakes,” Heim said. “I love cookies, but PTA’s standards show us a much better way. Remember, as a school board member, you help set the vision and imagine what effective family-school partnerships should look like in your communities. Parents are a critical part of that process.”
Video of the town hall is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETsZInSiAYo.