ED Review (12/09/22)

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December 9, 2022


This is the final issue of ED Review for 2022.  Publication will resume January 6, 2023.  We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. 


“We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case on our student debt relief plan for middle and working class borrowers this February.  This program is necessary to help over 40 million eligible Americans struggling under the burden of student loan debt recover from the pandemic and move forward with their lives.  The program is also legal, supported by careful analysis from administration lawyers.  President Biden will keep fighting against efforts to rob middle class families of the relief they need and deserve.  As we previously announced, student loan payments will remain paused while the Supreme Court resolves the case.” 

-- White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (12/1/22), in a statement on the Supreme Court agreeing to take up the Administration’s student debt relief plan 


FSA Training Conference 

With more than 18,000 registrants, the 2022 Virtual Federal Student Aid (FSA) Training Conference raised the bar for remote collaboration.  If you were unable to attend or would like to review a session, visit the event platform and navigate to the “On-Demand” page.  (Note: If you did not previously register for the conference, you will need to do so now to access the on-demand presentations.)  The platform will remain open through March 3, 2023. 

FSA Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray kicked off the conference with a welcome and opening remarks (Twitter thread). 

Secretary Cardona was the keynote speaker on the second day of the conference (Twitter thread with video highlights). 

Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal was the keynote speaker on the third day of the conference (Twitter thread with video highlights). 

Also, at the conclusion of conference, FSA posted its five-year Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2023-27 on the FSA Data Center site.  The strategic plan outlines FSA’s efforts over the next five years to enhance customer service, expand compliance and oversight capabilities, invest in internal operations by advancing the workforce and the workplace, and bolster operational efficiencies.  The office looks forward to collaborating with stakeholders to achieve shared goals: providing funding for postsecondary opportunities in a way that better serves students and families. 


Tribal Nations Summit 

Last week, President Biden hosted the second Tribal Nations Summit of his tenure to help foster nation-to-nation relationships and provide Tribal leaders with an opportunity to engage directly with senior Administration officials.  The President has prioritized relationships with Tribal nations built on respect for Tribal sovereignty and self-governance, honoring federal trust and treaty responsibilities, and conducting regular, meaningful, and robust consultation.  He has also advanced an economic agenda with historic levels of funding specifically for Tribal communities and Native people, including $32 billion in the American Rescue Plan (ARP), $13 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), and $700 million in the Inflation Reduction Act (fact sheet). 

Among the Department-related announcements made during the summit:

“Native American roots run deeply throughout this land,” Secretary Cardona emphasized in a tweet, “and their voices in the classroom are a key part of how we raise the bar for future generations.” 

“Native languages are about connection, identity & culture,” notes another tweet with video.  “These languages are verb or action-based and an evolution of how Native people relate to everything -- from ancestors to plants & animals.” 

Moreover, the White House released a progress report detailing actions taken by the Administration over the past two years. 


YOU Belong in STEM

This week, the Department hosted some 225 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) stakeholders from 30 states and territories for the YOU Belong in STEM National Coordinating Conference, as well as and launched the “Raise the Bar: STEM Excellence for All Students” initiative.  This new Administration initiative will help implement and scale equitable, high-quality STEM education for all students from pre-kindergarten to higher education -- regardless of background -- to ensure career readiness and global competitiveness. 

The initiative unites government, non-profit and professional organizations, industries, philanthropies, and other community stakeholders to take bold actions toward breaking down long-standing barriers for student success in the STEM fields.  With the support of $120 billion for K-12 education in the ARP and other federal education funding, the Department is galvanizing the broader education ecosystem to prioritize three goals:

  • ensure all students excel in rigorous, relevant, and joyful STEM learning;
  • develop and support STEM educators to join, grow, and stay in the STEM field; and
  • invest in STEM education strategically and sufficiently by using ARP and other federal, state, and local funds. 

In pursuit of these goals, the agency published a Dear Colleague Letter for state and school district leaders outlining how federal education funding may be used to enhance STEM teaching and learning. 

The agency also announced a partnership with Beyond100K through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  Beyond100K will help identify the key challenges to fully staffing schools with STEM teachers who reflect the diversity of their students and create classrooms of belonging.  It will also work to better understand and predict the supply and demand of STEM teachers at the state and local levels and co-sponsor a series of national communities of practice to support states, districts, and other education organizations in developing and implementing innovative solutions to the STEM educator shortage. 

Further, the Department calls on all states, districts, schools, and STEM-connected organizations and industries to make specific, tangible commitments aligned to these goals.  To date, over 90 public and private sector organizations have made such commitments. 


From state flowers to notable landmarks, American students once again designed one-of-a-kind ornaments to celebrate the places they proudly call home.  The ornaments now adorn 58 smaller trees that surround the National Christmas Tree in President’s Park, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Outlying Areas, and schools managed by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) and Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).  The America Celebrates ornament program is an annual collaboration of the Department, the National Park Service, and the National Park Foundation.  Each federal agency worked with their stakeholders to identify elementary, middle, and high schools.  This year, approximately 2,600 students -- ages 4- to 19-years-old -- participated.  (Note: If you are unable to view the trees in person, be sure to visit the President’s Park Facebook page for some great photos.) 


  • The October 2022 update from the School Pulse Panel examines staffing, school meal programs, school supply chain issues, learning mode offerings, and quarantine prevalence.
  • Secretary Cardona is wrapping up his time in France, after leading a delegation at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Summit.  As part of the summit, he spoke with dozens of nations about lifelong education and reimagining education for an equitable future.  He also joined officials for a school visit, to learn how teachers are addressing academic recovery and increasing multilingual education (photos and video recap).
  • The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief [ESSER] Programs and Governor’s Emergency Education Relief [GEER] Programs Use of Funds FAQs December 7, 2022 Update has 27 new FAQs drawn from inquiries from states and districts and revisions to eight existing FAQs.
  • The Secretary celebrated via video the New Jersey Partnership for Student Success – “wonderfully” building on the National Partnership for Student Success -- and called for more states and districts to follow suit.
  • The Department issued a statement regarding not moving forward on the National Parents and Families Engagement Council.
  • In a blog post, “47 Years Later, Are We Delivering on the Promise of IDEA?,” Valerie Williams of the Department’s Office of Special Education Programs shares her perspective on the 47th anniversary of the signing of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • The latest “Lessons from the Field” webinar focused on supporting the needs of students who have run away or are homeless.
  • Register to watch a recording of the Department’s webinar highlighting the Chicago Roadmap, a partnership between Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago designed to support students along a seamless path to and through college on their way to chosen careers.
  • Applications are now open for the Renew America’s Schools grant program.  This initial funding, up to $80 million of the $500 million program, is available to public schools to perform energy improvements in the highest-need districts.  The deadline for applicant concept papers is January 26, 2023, and full applications are due April 21, 2023.  (Note: In tandem with the grant program, the Department of Energy also launched a $4.5 million prize program.)
  • The Interagency Task Force on Sexual Violence in Education presented its first report to Congress.
  • The Administration hosted an economic dialogue with the government of Puerto Rico to jointly advance economic development in 2023.
  • In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a commemorative report that explores the history and use of federal education data (blog post). 


Research shows how a sense of belonging in rich and rigorous classrooms is directly correlated to students’ long-term academic success.  Moreover, the Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection [CRDC] continues to demonstrate that students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately excluded from learning opportunities in STEM.  Today, we are saying unequivocally to all students and all educators that they belong in STEM and that they deserve to have rigorous and relevant educational experiences that inspire and empower them to reach their full potential as productive, contributing members of our nation’s workforce.”

-- Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten (12/7/22), launching the Administration’s “Raise the Bar: STEM Excellence for All Students” initiative 


The Department is holding a webinar series to accompany the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) Stronger Connections Grant Program.  The first webinar, held on November 30, was titled “Building Stronger Connections: Engaging Families and Communities.”  Register today for the upcoming sessions: “Building Stronger Connections: Selecting High-Quality Evidence-based Strategies for Safe, Healthy, and Supportive Schools Part I” on December 14 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time; “Building Stronger Connections: Selecting High-Quality Evidenced-based Strategies for Safe, Healthy, and Supportive Schools Part II” on January 18, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. ET; and “Building Stronger Connections: Professional Development and Training for All School Staff on Strategies for Safe, Healthy, and Supportive Schools” on January 26, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. ET (BSCA landing page). 

On December 14, at 3:00 p.m. ET, the next “Lessons from the Field” webinar will discuss the facts about student vaping and approaches to prevention. 

Additionally on December 14, at 4:00 p.m. ET, the Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) is hosting a webinar titled “Working Together to Support All Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities.” 

ED Review is a product of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Communications and Outreach, State and Local Engagement

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