Education Funding Bills on the Move

School financing and education business concept as a group of children drawing a hopscotch game on a floor with dollar signs as a symbol of student loans and paying for schooling fees.This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE. 

As you will recall, in July the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill . The bill included historic increases for education from the FY 2021 level—a 41% increase for the Department of Education, which would bring the Department’s total budget to $102.8 billion. This week, a bit unexpectedly, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released drafts of the nine remaining fiscal year (FY) 2022 Senate appropriations bills, including the Labor-HHS-Education bill. This is an unusual move, as we usually don’t see bills until they have gone through the Subcommittee markup. These drafts have not been approved by either Subcommittees or the full committee. Rather, they are intended to be a marker to keep the process rolling.

The Senate draft appropriations bills have the same discretionary total as the President requested and as in the House bills but provide more for defense funding—meaning cuts across non-defense spending were inevitable. The Labor-HHS-Education bill  provides a 35% increase compared to the 41% increase in the President’s budget proposal and the House-passed appropriations bill. However, this does not mean that all programs took a cut, and many received increases, including

  • School Safety National Activities– up $810 million over 2021; the House and President’s budget put money into other mental health grant programs;
  • Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness– funded at the FY 2021 level of $50 million, which is $25 million more than the other two budgets;
  • Congressionally Directed Spending (aka, earmarks) in the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education – $72 million more than the House-passed level;
  • Magnet Schools Assistance– increased by $62 million over the FY 2021 level of $109 million, which is $30 million more than the President’s budget proposal and the House bill; and
  • Institute of Education Statistics – $52 million above the House level, with a new line-item for program administration.

Key Programs Related to Educator Support and Preparation


Current level 
FY 2021

2022  President’s Request; Discretionary

House Recommended FY 2022 level

Senate Draft  FY 2022 level

IDEA Personnel Preparation

$90.2 M

$250 M



Teacher Quality Partnership Grants

$52.1 M

$132 M

$132 M


Hawkins Centers of Excellence


$20 M

$20 M


Title I

$17 B

$37 B

$36 B


Title II


$2.149 B

$2.3 B



$12.9 B

$15.5 B

$15.5 B



















Negotiations between House and Senate appropriations leaders will now take place behind the scenes, with the goal of producing an omnibus appropriations package before December 3, when the current extension of FY 2021 funding expires. It remains unclear if Congress will meet the December 3rd deadline or if they will need to pass another, short-term, continuing resolution to keep the government running.

The White House and the Department of Education on the Move

Executive Order

This week, President Biden signed an Executive Order  on the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans. In a statement, the White House notes, “This is just the latest action taken by President Biden and Vice President Harris to tackle systemic racism and make investments to rebuild our economy and our social safety net so all people, including Black Americans, can thrive.” The order is aimed at addressing “entrenched disparities [that] continue to plague America’s education system, holding far too many Black students back from achieving their full potential.” 

Teachers of the Year

After a nearly two-year hiatus, educators from around the country joined First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday to honor the 2020 and 2021 National Teachers of the Year. Tabatha Rospro, the 2020 honoree serves as a preschool teacher in Kansas, and Juliana Urtubey, the 2021 winner, is an elementary special education teacher in Las Vegas. The ceremony was a moment of appreciation and levity for the field during a time when many teachers say their jobs feel more challenging than ever before.

 Mental Health Guidance

This week, the Department of Education released a 103-page resource  that addresses the social, emotional, behavioral and mental health of children and students. The document focuses on seven “key challenges” facing mental health programs in early childhood programs, K-12 schools and higher education, such as ineffective practices, policy, funding gaps and disparities among student groups, and offers a set of recommendations.  “The mental health crisis for children and youth in the United States has reached a critical oint,” the document reads. “Without increasing the number of high-quality, evidence-based mental health services, the increased need for services for children and youth will not be met.” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described the document on Tuesday as “the most comprehensive resource on mental health [the department] has ever published”.

This all comes as The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association declared a  “National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health” on Tuesday. The “worsening crisis” in child and adolescent mental health care is tied to stress brought on by Covid-19 and the ongoing struggle for racial justice, the groups declared in a joint statement, though it also “represents an acceleration of trends observed prior to 2020.”

Catherine Lhamon Headed to OCR

This week, Vice President Harris cast a tie-breaking vote to confirm the nomination of Catherine Lhamon to run the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, despite Republican opposition. Lhamon, who held the position during President Barack Obama’s second term, faced sharp partisan division as the Senate HELP Committee deadlocked over her nomination in August. Several conservative lawmakers have opposed her over her views on transgender students’ rights and the DeVos-era Title IX rule, which spells out how schools must respond to sexual misconduct reports.

“Lhamon does not believe in the presumption of innocence for students accused of sexual assault,” House Education and Labor ranking member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) wrote in a statement. “Students’ safety and rights are too important to recycle Obama-era officials who have already shown us what they will do to jeopardize both.”

While she may not have the support from many in the GOP, Lhamon does have the backing of several education and civil rights organizations and Senate HELP Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA). “She is extremely qualified for this role,” Murray said in floor remarks ahead of the vote. “During her past tenure, she demonstrated her commitment to students across the country as she worked to combat sexual assault on college campuses, protect transgender students, reduce the use of seclusion and restraint, reduce disparities in school discipline based on a student’s race or disability and enforce civil rights laws to protect students.”

President Biden nominated Lhamon in May. Since then she has been serving as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council for Racial Justice and Equity.

Opportunities for Educators

  • The U.S. Departments of Education and Treasury are hosting a two-part webinar series, “Using American Rescue Plan Funds and Other Federal Supports to Address State and Local Teacher and School Staff Labor Shortages.” You can register for Webinar 1: Teacher and substitute teacher shortages on Oct 27, 2021 at 4:00m. ET here. You can register forWebinar 2: Staff shortages, such as school bus drivers and food service workers on Oct 28, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. ET here.
  • The Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab) is hosting a Virtual Fall Forum, which will highlight research-based best practices in creating and supporting pre-k-12/IHE partnerships. Such partnerships are vital to high-quality educator preparation to ensure a diverse, effective, and sustainable educator workforce. The forum will take place virtually on Thursday November 18 at 12:00 p.m. ET. The deadline to register is November 11.

Read the full Washington Update on my website for more information. Follow us on Twitter 

@janewestdc and @brennan_kait.



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Jane E. West

AACTE Education Policy Consultant