ED Review (04/28/23)

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April 28, 2023


Budget Hearing 

Last week, Secretary Cardona testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education on the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget request for the Department of Education (opening statement and video). 

“My time in front of you today is about choices,” the Secretary noted.  “The choice to invest in America’s children, or the choice to protect the status quo of under-achievement.  The choice to come together on behalf of the students, parents, and educators who are looking to us to serve and Raise the Bar for education in this country, versus the choice to break down in partisanship or divisive culture wars. 

“It’s best to think of this budget proposal by thinking of a child’s journey through education,” he continued.  “In this scenario, a child starting her educational journey builds a strong foundation for learning right away -- because this budget made it possible to expand high-quality preschool for more four-year-olds across America.  Now, imagine when she gets to elementary school.  If she is a student with disabilities, she benefits from the additional $2.7 billion in this budget to help include and support her.  If she goes to a Title I school, she learns the fundamentals of reading, math, and other rigorous subjects she’ll need to succeed in life -- because that school is able to tailor instruction and use data to provide one-on-one support, thanks to $2.2 billion in additional funding for Title I schools in this budget.  Wherever she goes to school, she can also count on having a highly qualified teacher who has gained years of experience in helping students learn and grow -- because we invested early to fully prepare, develop, and empower our educators.  And, as she walks around her school, she feels welcomed and included, gaining the benefits of a strong, intentional focus on a safe, supportive school climate that helps her learn…. 

“As that student comes closer to adulthood, she has pathways to careers and skills to succeed in the world.  We set her up to compete and succeed in a stronger economy, with well-paying jobs at the ready -- because this budget delivered more funding for career and technical education, more funding to create career-connected high schools, and more investments in helping every student become multilingual.  She also has a jump start on her path toward earning a college degree or credential -- because we worked together to make postsecondary education inclusive and affordable.  We increased the Pell Grant….  We supported our HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs.  And we made free community college a reality nationwide.” 

After he testified, the Secretary issued a statement on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt limit proposal (Twitter thread), and the Department subsequently released a fact sheet and state-by-state information (Twitter thread). 


Escuela Key 

Also last week, Secretary Cardona traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for a series of events.  First, he visited Avondale Elementary School, where he met with military families to discuss the Department’s support for children of servicemembers -- highlighting the Month of the Military Child -- and toured classrooms to see how teachers are working across grade level to support instructional alignment and continuity in preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade.  Later, he visited Columbus State Community College, observing some traditional academic programs and industry-sponsored workforce development programs that support education to career pathways (video).  On site, he also met with local leaders to discuss how school districts, community colleges, and employers are collaborating to train students to meet growing job needs, supported by the Administration’s investments in the economy.  This trip was on the heels of the Administration’s Investing in America Tour and continues to share its agenda of bringing manufacturing back, rebuilding the middle class, and creating good-paying jobs (Secretary’s tweet). 

Separately, albeit on the same day as the Secretary’s aforementioned trip, Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten continued her “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” tour in greater Santa Fe, New Mexico.  There, she visited the Santa Fe Indian School, learning more about its community-based education model (photos).  She also visited Ramirez Thomas Elementary School and Capital High School, observing their standards-based learning model and wrap-around supports for educators.  And, she participated in a roundtable discussion with students, parents, and school staff.  The Deputy Secretary’s tour will resume next month. 

Then, this week, in advance of the International Summit on the Teaching Profession (see more below), Secretary Cardona, joined by education leaders from other countries, visited Escuela Key Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia, where students spend half the day learning in English and half the day learning in Spanish (photos). 


ED-Green Ribbon Schools RISE Award HonoreeNational Teacher of the Year

On April 20, in the lead up to Earth Day, the Secretary announced the 2023 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.  A total of 26 schools, 11 districts, and four postsecondary institutions -- nominated by 18 states -- were selected for their progress in reducing environmental impact and utility costs, promoting better health for students and staff, and offering effective environmental education.  To learn more about these honorees, review the nomination packageshighlights document, and Homeroom blog.  They will be presented plaques at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in August.  (Note: There are resources for all schools at all levels available through the agency’s Green Strides portal.) 

Also, on April 26, the Secretary announced the selection of Carlene Pacheco, a paraprofessional, Title VI liaison, and family service specialist at Churchill County High School in Fallon, Nevada, as the nation’s Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award honoree.  This recognition, established by Congress in 2019, elevates classified school employees’ outstanding contributions to quality K-12 education.  Such employees include paraprofessionals and those in administrative and clerical services, custodial and maintenance services, food and nutrition services, health and student services, skilled trades, technical services, and transportation services.  The agency received 29 nominations from 16 states.  Governors’ offices determined their processes for selecting up to two nominees, documenting excellence in five critical areas: work performance, school and community involvement, leadership and commitment, local support (from co-workers, school administrators, community members, etc.), and enhancement of school employees’ image in schools and the community (award ceremony photos and videos and Homeroom blog). 

Additionally, on April 24, the Secretary joined President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year program at the White House, congratulating Oklahoma high school mathematics teacher Rebecka Peterson as this year’s honoree (President’s and First Lady’s remarks, video, and tweets 12, and 3). 

ISTP 2023 

April 25-27, the Department co-hosted the 2023 International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP), welcoming more than 22 member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  The theme for this year’s summit was “Poised for the Future: Transformative Teaching for Global Engagement, Sustainability, and Digital Access.”  Building on discussions held during the summits in 2021 and 2022, ISTP 2023 focused on elevating and enhancing the teaching profession, educating for global and cultural competence and civic engagement, and leveraging digital technologies to ensure equitable access and enhanced learning for all.  The second day featured remarks from First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and participation by the 2023 National Teacher of the Year and State Teachers of the Year (see also Secretary Cardona’s opening remarks).  Teams met on the third day to develop commitments for the coming year (group photo). 


On the Department’s Homeroom blog, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Roberto Rodriguez provides an update on the College Scorecard, a free, online tool to help students, families, educators, counselors, and other college access professionals make data-informed decisions on choosing a postsecondary institution.  This year’s enhancements include data on the median earnings of former graduates, four years after completion of their requisite field of study; new demographic data, including race/ethnicity data for full-time staff and student-to-faculty ratios; and greater information for prospective graduate students on fields of study, earnings, and student debt trends.  Moreover, beyond the data, users will benefit from a new, more friendly field of study interface that makes it easier to navigate data, discover programs, and compare information across multiple institutions. 

Three other blogs -- “Celebrating our Nation’s Community Colleges” by Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education Amy Loyd, “My Hometown Community College and the Change It’s Made in Me” by Oxnard College student Angel Gabriel Garcia, and “Investing in Student and Community Success” by Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College President Mary Graham -- appropriately honor Community College Month. 

Meanwhile, the Department’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) office announced it had signed contracts with five companies -- under the Unified Servicing and Data Solutions solicitation -- to modernize and enhance loan servicing for more than 37 million borrowers with federally managed loans. 

FSA also issued a detailed update on payment count adjustments toward Income-Drive Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs. 

Finally, in recognition of National Financial Capability Month, the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) released a checklist with resources for students, program leaders, educators, and financial aid professionals to help prepare students for future financial decision-making. 



“Teaching should not be a life-threatening profession, and educators should not need to be armed to feel safe in a classroom.” 

-- President Joseph Biden (4/25/23), from remarks at the National and State Teachers of the Year celebration at the White House 

“We’re here to take a moment on one of the biggest stages in the world, the White House, to say that teachers change lives.  And I think that message matters more than ever.  Because lately, when I turn on the TV, I see pundits and politicians talking about our profession.  I hear them attacking our public schools, distorting the truth about what we do, and saying that parents and teachers are at odds.  But that’s not what I’ve seen.  As I’ve traveled this country, I’ve visited some pretty amazing programs where parents and teachers are working hand in hand to help kids overcome challenges and make our schools better for everyone.  There’s no divide between those who love our students and those who teach them -- because we all do both.  Parents know that we are our children’s first teachers.  And educators know that this isn’t just a job we walk away from at 3:15.  When we’re caring for our own kids, we’re thinking about someone else’s children too….  Parents and educators are partners.  We, together, know what our students need.” 

-- First Lady Dr. Jill Biden (4/25/23), from remarks at the National and State Teachers of the Year celebration at the White House 


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

The Administration will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12) with a variety of activities. 

Schools and communities are encouraged to celebrate College Signing Day throughout the spring by posting on social media using #CollegeSigningDay. 

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