ED Review (05/13/22)

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May 13, 2022


Teacher Appreciation Week 

Last week, in recognition of National Teacher Appreciation Day (May 3) and National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-6), the Administration saluted the nation’s educators. 

President Biden issued a proclamation, noting “As the husband of a lifelong educator, who continues to teach full-time as First Lady, I have often heard Jill say: ‘Teaching is not what you do.  It’s who you are.’  Our nation’s teachers are selfless, dedicated, and caring individuals who devote themselves to the well-being and progress of our students.  During National Teacher Appreciation Day and throughout National Teacher Appreciation Week, we honor educators who touch the lives of students across America and who are essential to building the future of our nation.” 

Secretary Cardona announced the #ThankATeacher Challenge and, to kick it off, challenged the President, the Vice President, the First Lady, and the White House Press Secretary to thank a teacher who has impacted their journey -- all of them responded and issued further challenges spanning the Administration. 

Also, the Department’s Twitter feed highlighted teachers throughout the week (storybook), including videos of the State Teachers of the Year (1 and 2) and current and former students; photos of former teachers now serving at the Department (1 and 2) and the Secretary and Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten from their early days of teaching; and a Homeroom blog post on one family’s multi-generational journey in teaching. 

Moreover, the Secretary made personal calls to thank teachers for their service and hosted a roundtable discussion with educators who have received complete or partial relief through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.  The Department has made significant strides to fix this broken program.  Use the PSLF Help Tool to search for a qualifying employer, learn what actions to take to be eligible for PSLF, and generate the needed form. 

Finally, in a capstone op-ed published in USA Today, Secretary called on “state, local, and federal government leaders to treat the teaching profession as the profound public service it is.” 


Section 504 

Forty-five years after publication of the regulations implementing Section 504 of the landmark Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Department announced plans to gather public input on possible amendments to those regulations to protect and strengthen the rights of students with disabilities.  Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public and private programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, including K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions.  The Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will solicit public comments to help decide how best to improve current rules. 

Mental Health Awareness Month is observed each May.  Earlier this year, as part of his Unity Agenda, President Biden declared a strategy to address the nation’s mental health crisis.  The work that OCR will do this month to solicit and receive public feedback regarding improvements to the Department’s disability rights regulations will include input from people with disabilities who also have mental health needs, as well as their advocates. 

Interested parties are encouraged to visit a web page for instructions on submitting comments.  OCR will also hold listening sessions in the coming months. 


Secretary at Armstrong 

On May 2, Secretary Cardona traveled to Richmond, Virginia, with U.S. Senator Tim Kaine to speak with students enrolled in robust career and technical education (CTE) programs and teacher pipeline programs in high school and community college. 

First, the Secretary toured the CTE program at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and met with students and administrators involved in the program to spotlight the importance of job training.  As outlined in his vision for education in America, he wants the Department and school districts across the country to reimage education by ensuring that pathways through higher education lead to successful careers.  This includes collaboration among partners to invest in career preparation that meet the needs of today’s economy and prioritizing grant programs that allow students to pursue CTE program at any point in their lives and careers. 

Second, the Secretary toured Armstrong High School and met with residents and alumni of the Richmond Teacher Residency Program, which recruits, trains, and supports teachers in high-need schools. 

Meanwhile, Deputy Secretary Marten continued her #ARPStars tour in Colorado. 

The Secretary shared a video of the Deputy Secretary recapping her previous trip to Washington State, while the Department shared a video of Marten with Colorado Governor Jared Polis -- both of whom attended the same high school -- thanking their math teacher. 

Also, Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal participated in a roundtable discussion with undergraduate and graduate students about the PSLF program at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) campus and a separate roundtable discussion with student representatives from UIC, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and City Colleges of Chicago about student voting initiatives. 


This week, the Secretary announced the 2022 class of U.S. Presidential Scholars.  This program was established by Executive Order in 1964 to honor academic achievement of graduating high school seniors.  It was expanded in 1979 to honor students in the arts and in 2015 to honor students in CTE.  Each year, 161 students are named, including at least one young man and woman from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American families living abroad.  Another 15 students are chosen at-large, 20 are scholars in the arts, and 20 are scholars in CTE.  This year, more than 5,000 candidates qualified based on outstanding ACT or SAT scores or through nominations by Chief State School Officers, partner organizations, and the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts competition.  The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars -- appointed by the President -- selects the finalists based on their academic success, school evaluations, transcripts, and essays, as well as clear evidence of community service, leadership, and commitment to high ideals (tweet).  (Note: The class will be recognized this summer with an online program.) 


The Department recently issued a nationwide call for student performing artists currently enrolled in elementary, secondary, or postsecondary schools who are interested in showcasing their talent -- in-person or virtually -- at agency-hosted events.  Performers may include, but are not limited to, soloists, bands/marching bands, choirs, color guards, dancers, poets/spoken word artists, and theatrical performers.  Responses are voluntary and will provide the Department with a repository of student talent that may be matched with specific events that amplify the mission and initiatives of the agency. 

Follow the link above for answers to Frequently Asked Questions, past performance examples, and submission instructions. 

If you have questions or require a reasonable accommodation to complete your submission, please contact studentart@ed.gov. 


  • President Biden also saluted America’s dedicated public servants in a proclamation on Public Service Recognition Week.
  • As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the President and Vice President worked with Congress to establish the Affordable Connectivity Program, which will help tens of millions of households to reduce their Internet service costs by up to $30 a month.  In his remarks, the President mentioned parents having to park outside of restaurants to get connected to the Internet, so their children could do their homework during the pandemic.  “It’s just not right,” he stressed.  “It’s not who we are.”
  • States may still apply for key school nutrition waivers from the Department of Agriculture (checklist).
  • On May 7, Vice President Harris delivered the commencement address at Tennessee State University, emphasizing the opportunity and responsibility of leadership in this moment in history (see also video).
  • Also on May 7, Secretary Cardona wished students a happy #CollegeSigningDay.
  • Plus, the Secretary offered commentary on research showing the high costs of long school closures.
  • Earlier, the Secretary led the American delegation attending the inauguration of the new president of Costa Rica (photos).
  • A Mother’s Day video tells the story of three generations of teachers.
  • Video from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Summit, “From Recovery to Thriving,” is compiled on the Department’s YouTube page.
  • The latest “Lessons from the Field” webinar was on the role of evidence-based, high-impact tutoring in addressing learning loss experienced by students during the pandemic, with examples from field practitioners via AmeriCorps partnerships.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a resources hub that focuses on data by geographic locale: “Education Across America: Cities, Suburbs, Towns, and Rural Areas” (blog post).
  • A Twitter thread lays out the Department’s support for high-quality charter schools and goals for federal charter school grants. 


“It is Teacher Appreciation Week, and it shouldn’t take a pandemic for us to realize the role teachers have in this country.  Nor should it just be a week.  I really want to see Teacher Appreciation Year.  I’m dropping off goodies in Virginia today, but more important than the donuts and coffee…is eligibility for loan forgiveness for teachers and the importance that we’re placing on making sure working conditions for teachers are adequate, that they have the supports that they need, competitive salary, teacher voice.  With regard to mental health, American Rescue Plan funds are intended to provide a recovery, not only for our students but for our educators, making sure that we’re recognizing that our educators…have also experienced trauma during this pandemic and using American Rescue Plan funds to make sure they have the support they need to thrive in the classroom.” 

-- Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona (5/2/22), from a virtual appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America 


Among other key observances, May is designated Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage MonthNational Foster Care Month, and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. 

Please register to join the Department and the Learning Policy Institute for a virtual discussion with practitioners and researchers on May 26, from 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern Time, about what it takes to operate a quality, sustainable community school; how community schools have enabled educators to support students through the pandemic; and what makes community schools an effective strategy for supporting the whole child.  This is the first session in a new learning series: “Community Schools: An Evidence-Based Whole Child Approach to Education.”  The Department values comprehensive whole child strategy as a promising method for addressing the impacts of the pandemic on schools and students and reimagining public schools to better serve all students. 

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