- Legislative and advocacy
- October 28, 2022 NSBA Weekly Update
October 28, 2022 - NSBA Weekly Update
Congress Focuses on Midterms and Will Return Next Month
Both the Senate and House are currently only holding pro forma sessions until after the fast-approaching midterm elections take place on November 8th. Lawmakers will return to Washington, D.C. to resume debate regarding the federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) appropriations process and other year-end priorities on November 14 as part of the "lame duck" session of the current 117th Congress. NSBA expects this year-end session to continue until December 16th when temporary federal funding legislation is scheduled to expire and could extend as far as December 24 before adjourning.
Nation's Report Card Shows Precipitous Drop in Academic Achievement
On Monday, October 24, the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published results from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Known informally as the nation's report card, the NAEP is a nationally representative assessment that measures student academic achievement in grades 4 and 8 in core academic subjects such as reading, math, science and otherfields of study. The results released this week illustrate troubling trends in student scores in math and reading between 2019 and 2022, with the majority of states reporting a decline in student achievement in these subject areas for learners at both grade levels and across socio-economic and other student subpopulations.
Reacting to the NAEP results, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, in part, "The results released today from the National Assessment of Educational Progress are appalling, unacceptable, and a reminder of the impact that this pandemic has had on our learners. The data also represent a call to action for the important work we must do now for our students-especially those who have suffered the most during the pandemic."
GAO Examines School Dress Code Policy
This week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report examining the impacts school dress code policies have on equity, safety, and student disciplinary practices. The report found that school dress code policies most often impact women, students of color, and LGBTQ students. Due to these disparate impacts, these subpopulations of students disproportionately experience higher rates of disciplinary actions resulting in lower academic achievement and higher drop out rates. The report was published in response to two separate Congressional requests from Rep. Bobby Scott(D-VA), Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, and Reps. DeLauro (D-CT), Lee (D-CA), and Coleman (D-NJ). The full report can be accessed here.
USED Releases New CTE Data
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) published performance and enrollment data from states' Consolidated Annual Report (CAR) submissions as part of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act (Perkins V). These data, reflect student performance during the 2020-21 program year. This is the first year that state performance data has been published since Perkins V was reauthorized in 2018. The data indicate a slight uptick in CTE enrollments, with 12 million CTE participants across the nation, including 8.3 million at the secondary level and 3.5 million at the postsecondary level. In addition, students "concentrating" in CTE had a graduation rate of 96%-- substantially higher than the national average. The full set of data can be found here.
GAO Releases K-12 Cybersecurity Report
On Monday, October 24, the Government Accountability Office published a new K-12 Cybersecurity Report titled "Critical Infrastructure Protection: Additional Federal Coordination Is Needed to Enhance K-12 Cybersecurity". The report makes three recommendations to the U.S. Department of Education and one to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to improve coordination of K-12 schools' cybersecurity and to measure the effectiveness of products and services. USED agreed with one recommendation and partially concurred with the other two while DHS agreed with its recommendation. GAO continues to believe all recommendations are necessary for the safety and security of K-12 school networks moving forward.
Department of Energy Unveils School Infrastructure Grants
On Wednesday, October 26, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $80 million in new funding availability to support K-12 schools in making needed infrastructure upgrades and related improvements. The funding was authorized as part of last year's American Rescue Plan which authorized a "Renew America's Schools" program and allotted $500 million for similar activities. K-12 schools, charter school boards, and local education agencies can all apply for this first tranche of funding ahead of a January 2023 application deadline. More information on the program can be found here.
Discretionary Grant Program Updates
The Office of Postsecondary Education invited applications for the following programs:
Digital Learning Infrastructure and IT Modernization Pilot – The grants provided to HBCUs, TCUs, and other eligible MSIs through the Digital Learning Infrastructure and IT Modernization Pilot program support IT modernization and give these institutions opportunities to receive support and technical assistance in order to expand their digital learning infrastructure. Applicants for this program must "develop or enhance and implement digital learning infrastructure plans that address the leadership, human capital, instruction, and IT strategies" in order to improve the institution's "capacity to seamlessly expand learning and promote innovation that improves student outcomes." The estimated available funds for this program total $3,895,200 and are contingent upon the availability of funds and quality of applications. Applications are due by November 25, 2022, and further information is available here.
Registration Is Open for NSBA's Advocacy Institute
Join your fellow advocates on Jan. 29-31 to discuss key developments in education policy and legislation and how you can make an impact when developing relationships with your representatives. The early bird savings deadline is Nov. 18. Click here for more information and to register.
Bipartisan BGR Group Partnering with NSBA on Lobbying and Strategic Communications
NSBA is proud to announce a new partnership with BGR Group around government affairs and strategic public relations services. The bipartisan BGR team offers lobbying and strategic communications solutions that will help the NSBA achieve its policy and reputation management objectives in the ever-changing political environment in Washington, D.C.. As part of its work, BGR will work to position NSBA as a trusted student-centered advocate on priority federal initiatives. BGR will also support NSBA's Board of Directors in making connections, understanding federal policy, and gaining influence. Please see the attached PDF for more information on BGR.
BGR is made up of subject matter experts with decades of experience working on complex political and policy initiatives who specialize in creating, implementing, and changing public policy. In addition to providing strategic government affairs and public affairs guidance, BGR closely monitors the political landscape for changes and how they will impact the public policy debate. To that end, BGR has prepared a Midterm Election Outlook (attached) for NSBA that we are happy to share with you.
- Courtesy of NSBA's Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of October 28, 2022