- Legislative and advocacy
- January 27, 2023 NSBA Weekly Update
January 27, 2023 - NSBA Weekly Update
118th Congress Continues to Take Shape
Earlier this week, both the House and the Senate reconvened after recessing for the recent Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Lawmakers in the House continued to make important decisions related to committee assignments this week, which will have lasting impacts on K-12 education funding and policymaking for at least the next two years.
Of particular note, House Republicans announced that Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) will lead the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee — the body that determines the U.S. Department of Education’s budget and related programs. In addition, Republicans have named new members to this committee, as have Democrats, but neither party has assigned members to specific subcommittees.
Elsewhere, House Republican Leadership announced that the newly renamed House Education and Workforce Committee will be smaller in size than previous Congresses. Led by Chair Virginia Foxx (R-VA), the committee will include the following Republican members this Congress—listed in order of seniority: Joe Wilson (SC-02); Glenn Thompson (PA-15); Tim Walberg (MI-05); Glenn Grothman (WI-06); Elise Stefanik (NY-21); Rick Allen (GA-12); Jim Banks (IN-03); James Comer (KY-01); Lloyd Smucker (PA-11); Burgess Owens (UT-04); Bob Good (VA-05); Lisa McClain (MI-09); Mary Miller (IL-15); Michelle Steel (CA-45); Kevin Kiley (CA-03); Aaron Bean (FL-04); Eric Burlison (MO-07); Nathaniel Moran (TX-01); John James (MI-10); Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-05); Brandon Williams (NY-22); and Erin Houchin (IN-09).
House Democrats have yet to provide a list of members who will be on the committee this year, although leadership recently confirmed that Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) will serve as Ranking Member.
In the Senate, committee assignments are still being determined. A needed “organized resolution” is the next step in the process within the Senate, but Senators have not yet moved forward with this procedural requirement.
As Congress works to organize, NSBA’s advocacy team will continue to monitor these developments and engage with policymakers as the new 118th Congress continues to take shape.
House GOP Looks To Expand Education Savings Accounts to Cover Private Schools, Homeschooling
House Republicans are introducing legislation that would expand 529 education savings plans so that money saved under these plans could be applied to all grade levels, including for private and homeschooled students. More on the legislation can be found here.
Sen. Scott, Colleagues Introduce National School Choice Week Resolution
U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Congressional School Choice Caucus co-chair, and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), recently introduced a resolution designating Jan. 22-28, 2023, as National School Choice Week. More on the resolution can be found here. Read the approval letter.
Secretary Cardona Lays Out USED Priorities
In a major speech on Jan. 24, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona outlined his vision for the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for the coming year. The speech entitled “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” highlighted several priority areas for the department this year, including efforts to boost academic excellence, improve learning conditions, and create more pathways to opportunities for learners.
Significantly, Secretary Cardona highlighted the importance of Career and Technical Education (CTE) saying, in part, “We must challenge our myopic view that emphasizing the importance of career pathways is about limiting students, or the view that it’s four-year-college or bust. Advancing career pathways in high schools is about more options for students, not less. What it does is prepare them for the careers of today with options, and in some cases, their employer will pay for their future education. If we do this well, our graduates will be able to compete on a global stage. It’s my intention to Raise the Bar so we can lead the world in advanced career and technical education.”
Secretary Cardona’s full remarks can be found here.
USED Outlines How Schools Can Use Federal Funds to Sustain Tech Programs
In a Jan. 25 letter to K-12 leaders, Roberto Rodríguez, the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education (USED) emphasized that any tech investments made with federal dollars need to be part of a broad strategy to bolster teaching and learning.
USED Webinar Shares Risks, Solutions for Teen Fentanyl Use
The U.S. Department of Education (USED) recently hosted a webinar — the first of two focusing on fentanyl dangers and solutions — targeted to state and district education leaders, school administrators, student support personnel, educators, parents, and education stakeholders. More on the webinar can be found here.
FDA Asks Experts to Review Seafood Safety for Children Through Health Equity Lens
Recognizing the cultural significance of seafood varies among different groups of Americans, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked an expert panel to consider health equity and environmental justice issues in their review of children’s exposure to toxins from seafood. More on the FDA’s panel can be found here.
USED Awards Over $35 Million for Grants to Support Cradle-to-Career Solutions in High-Needs Communities
The U.S. Department of Education (USED) recently announced new awards totaling more than $35 million for the Promise Neighborhoods and Project Prevent grant programs. Promise Neighborhoods grants provide coordinated support services and programs to students from low-income backgrounds at every stage of their education, from early childhood through their careers. More on the funding can be found here.
USDA Invests $25M to Expand Healthy Incentives in SNAP
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is improving access to fruits and vegetables by expanding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s healthy incentive initiatives. This year, FNS will select up to three states to receive funding and support to run an Electronic Healthy Incentives Pilot, or eHIP, for SNAP participants in their state, according to a news release. More on the incentives can be found here.
USED Announces 2023 Presidential Scholars Slate of Candidates
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced 5,000 students who were named as candidates to become U.S. Presidential Scholars — an initiative that annually recognizes 161 high school seniors for academic, technical, and artistic achievements. A panel of educators and experts will review these candidate nominations and, using a variety of criteria including transcripts, test scores, and portfolios of work, narrow down the list to approximately 600 semifinalists later this spring. Ultimately, the commission will select the final 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars for the upcoming 59th cohort in the program’s history, expected to be announced this May. More information on the program can be found here.
CISA Publishes K-12 Cybersecurity Report and Toolkit
On Jan. 24, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) published a long-awaited report, “Protecting our Future: Partnering to Safeguard K-12 Organizations from Cybersecurity Threats.” Congress directed CISA to write the paper through passage of the K-12 Cybersecurity Act. The report provides a number of recommendations for K-12 education leaders, including investing in cybersecurity measures, recognizing and actively addressing resource constraints, and focusing on collaboration and information-sharing. CISA also has provided a toolkit to provide additional support to education leaders seeking to implement these recommendations.
Office of Indian Education Accepting Applications for Formula Grants to LEAs
The Office of Indian Education Formula Grants program supports the development and implementation of elementary and secondary school programs that serve Indian students through grants to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs), Indian Tribes and organizations, and other eligible entities. These funds must support “comprehensive programs that are designed to meet the unique cultural, language, and education needs of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students and ensure that all students meet challenging State academic standards.” The estimated available funds for this program total $110,381,000. Part I of the application is due by March 10, 2023, and Part II is due by May 12, 2023. Further information on this grant program is available here.
Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program Now Accepting Grant Applications
The Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program provides for the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in the United States, which includes providing opportunities for faculty, teachers, and students to conduct group projects overseas. This can include (1) short-term seminars, curriculum development, or group research or study; or (2) long-term advanced intensive language programs. For fiscal year 2023, the Administration has requested $8,811,000 for awards for the Fulbright-Hays Overseas program — the Department intends to use an estimated $3,717,000 for this competition. Applications are due by March 27, 2023, and further information is available here.
USED Approves Short-Term Changes to Maryland’s ESEA Consolidated State Plan
The U.S. Department of Education (USED) published Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) consolidated state plan amendments that states submitted using the COVID-19 State Plan Addendum for the 2021-2022 school year. The Department recently approved Maryland’s state plan addendums.
Selected Education-Related Bills Recently Introduced
- H.R.463 — 118th Congress (2023-2024) To have education funds follow the student. Sponsor: Good, Bob [Rep.-R-VA-5]
- H.R.452 — 118th Congress (2023-2024) To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to allow parents of eligible military dependent children to establish Military Education Savings Accounts, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Banks, Jim [Rep.-R-IN-3] (Introduced 01/24/2023)
- Courtesy of NSBA's Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of January 27, 2023