April 1st, 2022

March 2022 Policy News Round-Up

Congress passes the FY 2022 budget, President Biden releases his FY 2023 budget request, Secretary Cardona sends a letter to parents and educators, new legislation is introduced to support teachers, and more. See how NCLD worked on behalf of students with disabilities this month.

Congress Passes FY 2022 Budget & President Biden Releases FY 2023 Budget Proposal

On March 10, Congress finally passed the federal budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, wrapping up a prolonged appropriations process that involved multiple continuing resolutions to keep the government funded. The budget included $13 billion for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants under Part B, a $406 million increase from FY 2021, and $76.4 billion for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) overall, a $2.9 billion increase from FY 2021.

Just over two weeks later, on March 28, President Biden released his administration’s FY 2023 budget proposal, marking the start of the FY 2023 appropriations cycle. The proposal requests historic increases in funds for the ED, including key investments to increase funding for programs under the IDEA. 

Here’s how the proposed budget request for FY 2023 compares with the FY 2022 budget passed earlier in the month, as well as the FY 2021 budget:

Secretary Cardona Letter on COVID-19 Guidance for Students with Disabilities

U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona released an 8-page letter to educators and parents about new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) around COVID-19 and how that impacts students with disabilities. The letter reiterated to parents and educators that schools must not place students with disabilities and others at high risk of negative outcomes from COVID-19 in a segregated setting. Specifically, the document provided guidance around the following:

  • Leveraging the Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 process to ensure protections are in place to protect in person learning
  • Continuing the use of layered prevention strategies to keep school communities safe
  • Ensuring students receive education and services in the least restrictive environment

NCLD appreciates the Secretary’s commitment to ensuring students with disabilities continue to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment as schools continue to recover from the pandemic. 

Teachers LEAD Act is Introduced in Congress

On March 18, the Teachers LEAD Act was introduced in Congress by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Sen. Ben Ray Juján (D-NM). The legislation aims to address the educator shortage and retention crisis that has impacted schools and students across the country, including students with disabilities. If passed, the Teachers LEAD Act would be a significant step toward building a robust pipeline that would enable teachers to become leaders, and leverage educators’ talent to impact student achievement. NCLD applauds this effort and was one of 40 organizations to support the legislation when it was introduced.

Education Reform Now Releases Essential Assessment Toolkit

This week, Education Reform Now released an Essential Assessment Toolkit, which includes four resources designed to help families, advocates, district and school leaders, and State Education Agencies better understand and communicate the value of annual, summative assessments. These resources include a guide to addressing common misperceptions, talking points, guidance on how to build a balanced assessment system, and questions for families to ask about their child’s annual assessment. You can access the full toolkit here.

In Case You Missed It:

  • We want to hear from you! Are you a young adult with learning or attention issues, a parent, or a teacher who works with students with disabilities? Share your experiences about post-high school transition with NCLD. Take our 5-minute survey today.
  • Scholarship Opportunities: NCLD’s COVID-19 Impact scholarship is back for the upcoming school year! If you are a college student with a learning disability experiencing significant disruptions in your studies due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, learn more and apply today! Graduating high school seniors with a learning disability or ADHD can also apply to one of our scholarships!
  • The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) released a report on The Future of Education Research at IES. The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) was “encouraged” by the recommendations.

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