July 1st, 2022

June Policy News Round Up

NCLD and Eye to Eye National hosted LD Day of Action, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies FY 2023 funding bill was approved, bipartisan gun legislation was signed into law, and SCOTUS decided taxpayer dollars can fund private religious schools through voucher programs in Maine. See how NCLD worked on behalf of students with disabilities this month.

NCLD and Eye to Eye National Hosted LD Day of Action 

On June 13-15th, NCLD and Eye to Eye National hosted the 4th annual LD Day of Action. 48 young adults with learning and attention issues traveled to Washington, DC to engage in advocacy for the 1 in 5 individuals with learning disabilities and attention issues. Highlights of these events include: 

  • 54 meetings Members of Congress’ offices,
  • A meeting with the U.S. Department of Education: Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Katy Neas (Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Related Services), and CJ Powell (Acting Chief of Staff, Office of Postsecondary Education),
  • A meeting with Emily Voorde, White House Associate Director of Public Engagement, and
  • A panel discussion titled “Seeing The Whole Picture: What We Know and Can Do About the Mental Health of Students with Learning Disabilities.”

House Advances LHHS FY 2023 Bill 

On June 30, the Appropriations Committee approved the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS), Education and Related Agencies funding bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. The bill provides $242.1 billion, a $28.5 billion increase in funds from the FY 2022 legislative budget. Within the Department of Education, the bill allocates $50.9 billion towards K-12 Education, including increased support for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs such as $16.26 billion for grants under Part B. 

The bill would provide $844 million for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), a significant increase of $107 million above the FY 2022 budget. $75 million of this amount would go towards a new National Center for Advanced Development in Education to address systemic inequities within the education system. 

Read more here.

President Biden Signs the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into Law

On June 25, the Safer Communities Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden, marking a significant bipartisan compromise and the first major piece of federal gun safety legislation in decades. In the face of several recent mass shootings across the country, the bill aims to reduce the threat of violence by requiring an enhanced review process for buyers under 21, solidifying protections for victims of domestic violence, and creating penalties for straw purchasing.  

The Safer Communities Act includes investments in programs to expand mental health services in schools through early intervention programs and improvements to school safety. These investments include $500 million in school programming through the School Based Mental Health Services Grant Program and $500 million for the training and development for school counselors and mental health staff. Read more here.

SCOTUS Ruling Could Put Students with Disabilities At-Risk

On June 21, the Supreme Court of the United States in ​​Carson v. Makin enabled Maine taxpayer money to fund private religious schools through voucher programs. School voucher programs direct public funding towards private schools to pay for all or part of a student’s tuition. According to NCLD’s analysis of over 60 voucher programs, though ten states have voucher programs specifically meant for students with disabilities, private schools may deny these students civil rights since they are not required to abide by federal laws such as IDEA, ADA, and Section 504. Public schools serve 90% of the nation’s children — the NCLD believes that public dollars should go towards public schools that serve all students. See here for more information on the implications of school vouchers, education savings accounts, and tax incentives. 

In Case You Missed It

  • NCLD will recognize the achievements of one courageous and innovative educator and one administrator for this year’s Everyday Champion Awards. Nominations close on July 11, 2022.
  • The Senate HELP Committee hosted a hearing on promising practices to support schools and students during COVID-19, discussing the importance of teacher retention, tutoring services, after school programs, and school-based mental health resources in order to provide critical support for students as they recover from the pandemic. Watch here.

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