ED Review (07/08/22)

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July 8, 2022


Bipartisan Safer Communities Act 

On June 25, President Biden signed into law two important bills impacting education.

The Keep Kids Fed Act of 2022 (S. 2089) extends certain flexibilities for child nutrition programs and provides temporary increases in reimbursement rates for meals provided at schools and child care centers (fact sheet). 

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S. 2938) enhances certain restrictions and penalties on firearm purchases, promotes best practices for school safety, authorizes grants to expand access to mental health services, and appropriates emergency funding for mental health resources and school safety measures (fact sheet, President’s remarks and Secretary Cardona’s tweet). 

In related news, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) issued “Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2021,” highlighting new data on victimization, bullying, school conditions, and K-12 and postsecondary safety and security measures.  Overall, a number of crime and safety issues have become less prevalent over the past decade, while cyber-bullying has become more prevalent.  Also, there were more school shootings with casualties during the 2020-21 school year -- during the pandemic -- than in any other year since official data collection began in the 2000-01 school year (press release). 

And, the President released a statement on the shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, on Independence Day. 


National Partnership for Student Success 

This week, in an event at the White House, the Administration announced a series of actions to support students’ academic recovery and ensure recovery efforts are meeting student, parent, and family needs.  These actions help meet President Biden’s call for more schools to invest in key strategies to accelerate academic recovery using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding and galvanize more Americans to serve their communities by becoming tutors and mentors.  They build on progress school communities made over the last school year (fact sheet). 

Specifically, the Administration is: 

  • Launching the National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS) and recruiting 250,000 new tutors and mentors.  This coalition will bring together school districts, non-profit partners, and institutions of higher education to recruit, train, place, and support screened adults in high-impact roles -- such as tutors, mentors, and student success coaches.  Through the NPSS, individuals, schools and districts, colleges and universities, community-based organizations, and employers may sign up to support student recovery through volunteer opportunities, national service, mentoring programs, and work-study.  The NPSS will be run by a collaboration among the Department of Education, AmeriCorps, and Johns Hopkins University’s Everyone Graduates Center (video recap and Twitter thread).
  • Expanding the Department’s Best Practices Clearinghouse to share best practices on academic and mental health recovery efforts.  The revamped clearinghouse will spotlight evidence-based and promising practices implemented by states, districts, and schools using ARP funding to support learning recovery, increased academic opportunities, and student mental health.
  • Empowering parents and school communities with information about how their schools are using and can use federal funds to provide necessary academic and mental health supports.  Last month, the Department established a National Parents and Families Engagement Council to facilitate strong and effective relationships between schools and parents, families, and caregivers.  Now, the Department is calling on states and school communities to contribute to the clearinghouse to make sure all know how federal funding is being spent.  Moreover, to increase transparency and accountability, the agency updated an interactive map of state and local ARP plans (White House toolkit). 

“Now -- more than ever -- students need to feel supported, seen, heard, and understood by adults within their schools and communities,” Secretary Cardona said.  “Today’s announcements and the launch of the [NPSS] will mean more students have a trusted adult in their corner and more adults are prepared to address students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs.  Together, we can help all children make up for unfinished learning, recover from the pandemic, and prepare for future success -- both inside and outside the classroom.” 


College Students 

Also this week, the Department released proposed regulations that would expand and improve the major student loan discharge programs authorized by the Higher Education Act (HEA).  These regulations propose to alleviate student loan debt burdens for borrowers whose institutions closed or misled them, for those who are totally and permanently disabled, and for eligible workers who have met their commitments under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.  The regulations also propose stopping many instances of interest capitalization and giving borrowers their day in court if they have disputes with their schools (press release and fact sheet). 

The regulations will be open for comment for 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. 

“We are committed to fixing a broken system.  If a borrower qualifies for student loan relief, it shouldn’t take mountains of paperwork or a law degree to obtain it,” Secretary Cardona stressed.  “Student loan benefits also should not be so hard to get that borrowers never actually benefit from them.  The Biden Administration is determined to build a more accessible, affordable, and accountable student loan system. These proposed regulations will protect borrowers rights, save them time, money, and frustration, and will hold their colleges responsible for wrongdoing.” 

The Department started negotiations on student loan issues with a series of public hearings in June 2021.  The negotiating committee reached consensus on three issues in this package: interest capitalization, total and permanent disability discharges, and false certification discharges.  The committee also reached agreement on regulations governing a statutory change to make incarcerated individuals eligible to receive federal Pell Grants; those regulations and income-driven repayment changes will be released via a separate notice this summer. 

The agency also negotiated issues related to ensuring accountability for institutions and programs that receive federal aid.  Proposed regulations for two of those issues, the 90/10 rule and rules governing changes in ownership for colleges, will be released separately as well.  The remainder of the issues, including Gainful Employment regulations that would require career training programs to meet minimum standards for their outcomes to retain eligibility for federal aid, will be released in early 2023. 


Last week, across its many social media channels, the Department recognized this year’s cohort of U.S. Presidential Scholars.  Be sure to watch the Secretary’s congratulatory video, browse the Flickr album, view the slideshow, take the quizzes, and enjoy the IG ReelCongratulations 2022 Scholars! 


On July 1, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited a health clinic in Henrico County, Virginia, encouraging parents to vaccinate all children from six months to five years of age against COVID-19 (First Lady’s remarks). 

The Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Services also issued a new Dear Colleague Letter, calling on early childhood education programs to help get more young children vaccinated. 

And today, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Secretary Cardona, White House COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha, and experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will discuss the importance of improving air quality in schools.  Register in advance.  A Zoom link will be shared after registering. 


  • The Secretary participated in a virtual discussion with six students, educators, school counselors, and policy leaders in honor of Immigrant Heritage Month and the anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers temporary status to undocumented students and professionals (readout and tweet).
  • Both White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and the Secretary issued statements on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law going into effect.
  • The Department issued Notices Inviting Applications (NIAs) for two charter school programs: grants to state entities and grants to charter school developers.  Together, these programs will provide an estimated $77 million in new funds to support high-quality charter schools.  The agency also released a Notice of Final Priorities (NFP) for both these programs, as well as grants to charter management organizations (fact sheet and blog post).
  • Plus, the Department issued an NIA for some $25 million under the Promise Neighborhoods Program (blog post).
  • As required by law, the Department issued annual determinations regarding states’ implementation of Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • A new Homeroom blog details the work of educators and child welfare professionals to support students in the foster care system.
  • NCES released the latest round of findings from the School Pulse Panel, examining student and teacher absenteeism and student behavioral development.
  • To support the continued recruitment of new school bus drivers during the pandemic, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted a 90-day extension of its temporary waiver of the “under-the-hood” skills test that is part of a new commercial driver’s license (CDL) application. 


“Today we mark the 246th anniversary [of our] independence as a nation and recommit ourselves to the great experiment of America….  For America is always on the move, always a work in progress….  It’s often been the case that, after we’ve taken giant steps forward, we’ve taken a few steps backwards, and after doing the work of laying the foundation for a better future, the worst of our past has reached out and pulled us back on occasion.  But I know this: that from the deepest depths of our worst crises, we’ve always risen to our higher heights.  We’ve always come out better than we went in.  We’ve been tested before, just as we’re being tested today.  But we’ve never failed because we have never walked away from the core beliefs and promises that define this nation.  Chief among those promises is the proposition that we are all created equal….  That’s how I see America on July the Fourth -- as big and a big-hearted a place where we debate and disagree, yet where we’re united by a love of country.” 

-- President Joseph Biden (7/4/22), from remarks to military families on Independence Day 


Join Secretary Cardona and the Afterschool Alliance, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, the National League of Cities, the National Summer Learning Association, and the National Comprehensive Center at Westat on July 14, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET, for a special in-person event at the Department celebrating National Summer Learning Week and launching the Engage Every Student Initiative. 

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