ED Review (06/09/23)

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June 9, 2023


Fiscal Responsibility Act 

On June 3, President Biden signed into law the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which, among other actions, suspends the public debt limit through January 1, 2025; increases the limit on January 2, 2025, to accommodate the obligations issued during that suspension, and establishes new discretionary spending limits. 

“[This bipartisan budget agreement] is an important step forward that reduces spending while protecting critical programs for working people and growing the economy for everyone,” the President emphasized in a statement.  “The agreement represents a compromise, which means not everyone gets what they want.  That’s the responsibility of governing.  And, the agreement is good news for the American people, because it prevents what could have been a catastrophic default and would have led to an economic recession, retirement accounts devastated, and millions of jobs lost.” 

“I know bipartisanship is hard and unity is hard, but we can never stop trying, because in moments like this one -- the one we just faced, where the American economy and the world economy is at risk of collapsing -- there is no other way,” the President subsequently explained in an Oval Office address.  “No matter how tough our politics get, we need to see each other not as adversaries but as fellow Americans.  Treat each other with dignity and respect.  Join forces to…lower the temperature and work together to pursue progress, secure prosperity, and keep the promise of America for everybody.” 

On Twitter, Secretary Cardona praised the President for “averting a crisis with this deal and for protecting our student debt relief plan in full.”  The agreement ends the suspension of federal student loan payments on August 30.  Yet, it does not affect the Administration’s targeted student debt relief plan.  (Separately, the President vetoed a Congressional resolution that would have canceled the plan -- see the President’s veto message and the Secretary’s response.  The U.S. Supreme Court is still considering a legal challenge.) 

Furthermore, in a letter responding to a measure in the agreement that rescinds some unobligated funding, the Department assured grantees that federal pandemic relief aid for K-12 schools have been committed. 


Gun Violence Awareness Day 

Also last week, the Administration marked National Gun Violence Awareness Day. 

“It is within our power to realize a future where our malls, grocery stores, movie theaters, and places of worship are safe from the threat of gun violence,” the President said in a statement.  “Where parents aren’t gripped with anxiety dropping their kids off at school every single day.  Where our children don’t learn to duck and cover before they learn to read and write.  But, it will require Congress to act.” 

“The number one cause of death for the children of America is gun violence,” Vice President Harris noted at a Springfield, Virginia, event, joined by Secretary Cardona.  “In this very moment, one in five Americans has lost a family member to gun violence.  In the 153 days of this year, there have been more than 260 mass shootings.  And because of gun violence, every single day, 120 Americans are killed with guns.” 

The Secretary wore orange at the event for the “teachers, students, and parents…who have begged for action when it comes to gun violence…and those we’ve lost to gun violence.  We cannot give up.” 

Later, in response to a shooting after a high school graduation, he stated “The loss of life in Richmond, Virginia, has turned a joyous occasion into yet another tragedy.  We grieve this loss of innocent lives.  And our leaders must pass common sense gun laws and keep our students safe in and out of the classroom.” 

In other news:

  • The White House issued a fact sheet on the Administration’s advancement of opportunity, equity, and safety for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.
  • The White House also announced new actions to protect LGBTQI+ communities from attacks on their rights and safety, including the appointment of a coordinator within the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to address the threat that book bans pose for the civil rights of students.  And, in honor of Pride Month, the Department and Secretary offered many messages of reassurance: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
  • Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten shared some insights about the Department’s commitment to combat antisemitism. 


School Infrastructure Grants 

The Department recently announced applications for two new competitive grant programs focused on ensuring school facilities provide safe, healthy, sustainable, and equitable learning environments: the Supporting America’s Schools Infrastructure (SASI) grant and the National Center on School Infrastructure (NCSI) grant.  The former will award approximately $40 million to State Education Agencies (SEAs) and state entities to increase the capacity of the state to support high-need districts and schools in leveraging available federal, state, and local resources to improve school facilities and environments.  The latter will award roughly $2 million to a research agency, institution, or organization to establish a national center that will serve as a clearinghouse of resources and offer technical assistance to SASI grantees and other high-need districts seeking to leverage existing resources to improve facilities.  To assist those preparing applications, the Department will post recorded pre-application webinars.  Applications are due August 7 (School Infrastructure Programs web page). 

Meanwhile, the White House launched Invest.gov, a new web site showing the historic investments that President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is bringing to states and territories across the country.  This site features an interactive map showing infrastructure projects now underway funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), as well as private sector investments mobilized by the BIL, the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP).  The site also includes impact summaries for each state and territory, noting jobs created, businesses started, spotlight projects funded, and manufacturing investments (fact sheet and Secretary’s tweet). 


Last month, OCR and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division jointly issued a “Resource on Confronting Racial Discrimination in Student Discipline.”  This resource demonstrates the agencies’ ongoing commitment to the vigorous enforcement of laws that protect students from discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in student discipline.  It raises specific examples of the agencies’ investigations into such discrimination over the last 10 years, reflecting continued urgency in assuring non-discrimination in student discipline in schools (press release). 

Also, the Department’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) and its Safe and Supportive Schools’ technical assistance centers released a series of fact sheets on how school leaders and communities may support students’ social, emotional, behavioral, and academic well-being and success -- through student and teacher support teams, educators and school-based staff, school and school district leaders, and enhanced relationships with families. 

The technical assistance centers will host webinars on the resource and fact sheets:

  • Introduction to the Department’s “Guiding Principles for Creating Safe, Inclusive, Supportive, and Fair School Climates” (August 9, 3 p.m. Eastern Time)
  • Strategies for School and District Leaders (August 23, 3 p.m. ET)
  • Strategies for Schools to Enhance Relationships with Families (September 20, 3 p.m. ET)
  • Strategies for Educators and School-Based Staff (October 4, 3 p.m. ET)
  • Strategies for Student and Teacher Support Teams (October 18, 3 p.m. ET) 


The Administration is committed to ensuring all students are guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex.  To that end, amending the Department’s regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a top priority. 

The proposed regulations released by the agency in July 2022 are historic.  They would strengthen protections for students who experience sexual harassment and assault at school and protect LGBTQI+ students from discrimination.  The agency received more than 240,000 public comments on the proposed rule, nearly twice as many comments as it received during its last rulemaking on the same issue.  Reviewing and considering the comments takes time and is essential to ensuring the final rule is enduring.  Therefore, the Department is updating the Spring Unified Agenda to reflect an anticipated date of October 2023 (see Homeroom blog). 

Similarly, the Department is updating its agenda for the final athletics rule to reflect an anticipated date of October 2023.  This proposed rule received over 150,000 public comments. 



“[Secretary] Miguel [Cardona] has four different degrees from your great university, but he couldn’t make the team.” 

-- President Joseph Biden (5/26/23), honoring the 2023 NCAA men’s basketball champion University of Connecticut Huskies (video excerpt) 

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in schools -- but it takes teamwork.  Today, I’m joining Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten in taking the pledge to stop bullying and violence, so every child is #FreeToLearn.” 

-- Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona (5/26/23), in a tweet after the Deputy Secretary visited Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Washington, D.C. 


Federal Student Aid (FSA) office staff will present 11 webinars in the Better FAFSA, Better Future Webinar Series in June and July. 

On June 21, from 1 to 2:15 p.m. ET, the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will present the results of the 2023 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) long-term trend assessment for 13-year-olds -- the final set of results from NAEP administered directly after the pandemic. 

On June 22 and 23, OCR and the Department’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) will host a National Convening on English Learners’ Civil Rights.  This virtual event will begin daily at 12:15 p.m. ET.  It will focus on laws and policies relevant to English learners and highlight guidance and resources to equip states and districts with the tools to meet their obligations to English learners and their families. 

Registration is also open for the fifth virtual session in the Family Engagement Learning Series, June 27 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. ET, which will explore how family engagement supports kindergarten readiness and early school success. 

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