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Department of Education Launches New Centers, Biden-Harris Administration Announces Grants

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

As of the writing of this update, the House has been without a speaker and effectively paralyzed for ten days.

Meanwhile, eyes around the world are focused on the horrific events occurring in Israel. The uptick in acts of antisemitism and Islamophobia at colleges and universities has prompted new pressure on the Department of Education to release a proposal that, as reported by Politico, would potentially force college administrators to investigate claims of discrimination against ethnic groups or risk losing federal money.

Congress will need to act swiftly to pass an aid package for both Israel and Ukraine and still needs to pass an FY24 spending bill before November 17 to avoid a potential government shutdown. 

With Congress caught up in the selection of a new Speaker of the House, today’s newsletter focuses on several recent announcements from the Biden-Harris Administration.

Department of Education Announces Technical Assistance Centers to Support Students

The Department of Education announced technical assistance centers to support state and local efforts to support and enhance student well-being, academic success, and school safety. These centers further the Department’s commitment to accelerate learning, meet student mental health needs, and expand academic opportunity and success inside and outside of the regular school day.

Read more about the centers on the Department of Education’s website.

Twelve Organizations Receive Funding to Strengthen Family Engagement Programs

This week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced $11.4 million in grants awarded to 12 organizations in states and school districts across the country to improve and strengthen family engagement programs.

As reported in a press release from the Department, the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFEC) program provides financial support to statewide organizations to carry out parent education and family engagement programs. In addition, the program provides technical assistance and support to state educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) in the implementation and enhancement of systemic and effective family engagement policies, programs, and activities that lead to improvements in student development and academic achievement.

You can view the complete list of the 12 SFEC grant awardees here.

Administration Announces Support for Campus-Based Childcare Programs

The Biden-Harris Administration announced more than $13 million in grants to 34 institutions of higher education to support or establish high-quality, campus-based childcare programs to meet the needs of student parents with low incomes enrolled on their campuses. View the full list of awardees on the Department’s website.

The Department also announced more than $75 million in awards through the Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) Part A grant program, the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) state grant program, and the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP).

New Resources for Educators

  • ACT released its annual snapshot on the United States High School graduating class.

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