June 2nd, 2021

May 2021 Policy News Round-Up

The President’s detailed FY 22 budget request is released, legislators introduce the Keeping All Students Safe Act and the DIVERSIFY Act, and IES shares ‘School Pulse’ survey data on the state of schools reopening. See how NCLD worked on behalf of students with disabilities this month. 

President Biden Releases Full Fiscal Year 2022 Budget

On May 28th, the Biden Administration released its full Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget request The budget request proposes $102.8 billion in discretionary spending for the U.S. Department of Education (ED), which is an increase of $29.8 billion, or 41 percent, from FY 2021. 

Proposals in the budget request that will benefit students with disabilities include:

  • A $2.6 billion increase to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Grants to States (Part B) program. Moreover, the budget states that “this is a significant first step on the path to fully funding IDEA.”
  • A $95 million increase for education research at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), including $58.5 million for the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)
  • A $13 million increase in funding for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights 

For more information on the Fiscal Year 2022 budget request, see NCLD’s blog post: The President’s Budget Request Proposes Historic Investments in Education. Additionally, the full budget request for ED can be found here

Sen. Murphy and Rep. Byer Introduce the Keeping All Students Safe Act (KASSA)

On May 26th, the Keeping All Students Safe Act was introduced in both the House and the Senate to protect students from the harm of seclusion and restraint. Data has shown that restraint and seclusion is much more prevalent among students with disabilities and students of color: 78% of students restrained or secluded were students with disabilities, according to 2018 Civil Rights Data Collection. 

This bill would make it illegal for any school receiving federal funds to seclude a child or use dangerous restraint practices that restrict breathing, such as prone or supine restraint. The bill would prohibit schools from physically restraining children, except when necessary to protect students and staff, and would better equip school personnel with the training they need to address behavior using evidence-based proactive strategies. 

Over 50 organizations, including NCLD, have endorsed the Keeping All Students Safe Act. Read NCLD’s response here or view the fact sheet.

Sen. Booker, Reps García and Hayes Re-Introduce the DIVERSIFY Act

On May 20th, the DIVERSIFY (Diversifying by Investing in Educators and Students to Improve outcomes For Youth) Act was introduced, seeking to double the maximum TEACH grant awards (from $4000 to $8000) to support students interested in becoming teachers. TEACH grants are awarded to pre-service teachers who will teach in a high-needs field and area, including special education. 

33 organizations, including NCLD, have endorsed the DIVERSIFY Act. Read NCLD’s response here

IES Shares ‘School Pulse’ Survey Data

Since January 2021, the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) has been collecting monthly data from a sample of schools across the country who serve 4th and 8th grade students. The data includes information on instructional mode (remote only, hybrid, or in-person), enrollment, and attendance. The monthly data collection is set to continue through June and will expand in August to include high schools.

Some insights from the most recent data (March 2021) include: 

  • 47% of schools have prioritized students with disabilities for in-person instruction.
  • Remote learning was more common for students of color: 48% of Black and 47% of Hispanic students participated in remote learning, compared to 19% of White students.
  • Attendance rates were similar for remote (93%), hybrid (91%), and in-person (91%) instruction.
  • Students with disabilities in remote learning had one of the lowest attendance rates (86%), compared to a 92% attendance rate for students with disabilities attending school in-person.

IES’ Monthly School Survey Dashboard can be found here. Data from April and May will be released soon. 

Other releases from the Biden-Harris Administration

In case you missed it: NCLD released a brief of research conducted by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Ed Together. Whose Emotions Matter? Student Disability and Race Representation in USB SEL by the Numbers highlights the lack of reporting on disability status and race in research when analyzing student outcomes of universal school-based (USB) social and emotional learning (SEL) interventions.

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