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Department of Education Seeking Peer Reviews for TQP Grant Competition

The U.S. Department of Education (Department), Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Effective Educator Development (EED) Division is seeking peer reviewers for the upcoming Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant competition. This program seeks to improve the quality of teachers, principals, and other school leaders nationwide.

WHO: The Department is seeking peer reviewers from various professions and backgrounds to independently read, score, and provide timely, well-written comments for EED grant applications submitted to the Department. The most qualified reviewers will have education-related backgrounds and experience in most, if not all, of the following areas:

U.S. Department of Education Announces $25 Million Teacher Quality Partnership Program Competition  

On April 4, 2024, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced a Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for the Teacher Quality Partnership program (TQP) in the Federal Register. This NIA will close on June 3, 2024.  

The Department plans to award approximately $25 million to eligible partnerships to support high-quality teacher preparation and professional development for prospective teachers and school leaders. TQP funds teacher preparation programs at the undergraduate or “fifth-year” level (Pre-Baccalaureate Models); and teaching residency programs for individuals new to teaching with strong academic and professional backgrounds (Residency Models). This NIA also includes two leadership priorities.   

U.S. Department of Education Launches Government Coordinating Council to Strengthen Cybersecurity in Schools 

The U.S. Department of Education (Department), in coordination with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), launched the Government Coordinating Council (GCC) for the Education Facilities Subsector, a pivotal step forward in the national effort to enhance cybersecurity across K-12 educational institutions. This new council signifies an unprecedented level of collaboration between federal, state, tribal, and local governments to protect schools from cybersecurity threats. The Education Facilities Subsector is part of the Government Facilities Sector, one of 16 critical infrastructure sectors defined in Presidential Policy Directive 21. 

In recent years, the PK-12 cybersecurity landscape has become increasingly complex, with school districts across the country experiencing ransomware attacks that shut down schools and data breaches that expose sensitive health, financial, and educational data on students, families, and staff. The formation of the GCC is a direct response to these challenges, aiming to foster a more resilient and secure K-12 digital infrastructure through structured dialogue and shared best practices. 

Biden-Harris Administration Approves Additional $5.8 Billion in Student Debt Relief for 78,000 Public Service Workers

President Biden will email an additional 380,000 public service workers thanking them for their service and notifying them they are on track to have their debt cancelled through PSLF within two years 

The Biden-Harris Administration announced the approval of $5.8 billion in additional student loan debt relief for 77,700 borrowers. These approvals are the result of fixes made by the Administration to Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Today’s announcement brings the total loan forgiveness approved by the Biden-Harris Administration to $143.6 billion for 3.96 million Americans. This action builds on President Biden and his Administration’s efforts to provide debt relief to as many borrowers as possible as quickly as possible. 

“For too long, our nation’s teachers, nurses, social workers, firefighters, and other public servants faced logistical troubles and trap doors when they tried to access the debt relief they were entitled to under the law. With this announcement, the Biden-Harris Administration is showing how we’re taking further steps not only to fix those trap doors, but also to expand opportunity to many more Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Today, more than 100 times more borrowers are eligible for PSLF than there were at the beginning of the Administration. The Biden Administration is turning a promise broken under our predecessor into a promise kept.” 

U.S. Department of Education Releases Voter Toolkit

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) released a “Toolkit for the Promotion of Voter Participation for Students” to provide resources for educational institutions to help them identify and implement actions to assist eligible students with voter registration and voting. Recognizing that our nation’s schools, colleges, and universities have a critical role in promoting civic engagement, the toolkit will provide them with strategies to support their students. 

“Voting is fundamental to our democracy, and our schools and colleges play an important role in helping our students become active participants in our democratic society,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “From providing civic education during a student’s elementary and secondary school years to facilitating the voting process for all students during their postsecondary educational experience, our education system helps students engage in the electoral process. I’m proud that the resources we are releasing today will help reduce the barriers and obstacles many students—especially our underserved students—face in participating fully in our democracy.”  

U.S. Department of Education Opens Applications for Two K-12 Mental Health Programs to Increase the Number of Mental Health Providers in Schools

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) opened applications for the School-Based Mental Health and Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration grant competitions to help bolster the pipeline of mental health professionals serving in schools and expand student access to school-based mental health services and supports. 

President Biden named tackling the mental health crisis, particularly among youth, a key pillar in his Unity Agenda for the nation. And, in line with the Administration’s goals, these programs play a key role in doubling the supply of qualified mental health professionals in our nation’s schools. These newly opened applications build on the progress made through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to integrate mental health services into our schools as part of the President’s National Mental Health Strategy. 

U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Releases New Resources on Students with Disabilities 

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released four new resources today with information for students, parents and families, and schools addressing the civil rights of students with disabilities, as well as a data snapshot about education access for students with disabilities drawn from OCR’s 2020-21 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). 

OCR issued these new resources to inform students with disabilities, and their families and schools, about their legal rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities by institutions that accept federal financial assistance, which includes almost all public schools and public and private institutions of higher education. 

“We issued these new resources to give students, including those with asthma, diabetes, food allergies, and GERD, as well as their families and schools, important tools to understand when and how they are protected by federal disability rights laws,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. 

U.S. Department of Education Releases 2023 Update to Equity Action Plan, Outlines New Commitments to Advance Equity 

The U.S. Department of Education(Department) released its 2023 Update to its Equity Action Plan, in coordination with the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government equity agenda. This Equity Action Plan is part of the Department’s efforts to implement the president’s executive order on “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through The Federal Government,” which reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to deliver equity and build an America in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.   

The Department believes that our nation’s future is brighter when we provide every student and every community with equitable access to an academically rigorous, well-rounded education in a safe and inclusive school. We are answering President Biden’s call to prioritize equity across government by working intentionally to ensure our policies, grants, and programs address longstanding disparities in education still faced by underserved students, families, and communities. 

U.S. Department of Education Deploys Federal Personnel, Funding, and Resources to Support Colleges, Students, and Families with Better FAFSA®

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today released a FAFSA College Support Strategy to provide additional personnel, funding, resources, and technology to help schools and students complete the better FAFSA form and to help colleges prepare to process student records as quickly and accurately as possible. The Department’s top priority is to ensure students can access the maximum financial aid possible to help them pursue their higher education goals and bring college within reach for more Americans. Since the new 2024–25 FAFSA form became available on December 30, more than 3.6 million forms have been successfully submitted. 

The Department’s FAFSA College Support Strategy includes the following: 

  • Deploying federal personnel and expertise to help colleges prepare and process financial aid forms 
  • Directing funding for technical assistance and support for under-resourced colleges 
  • Releasing tools to help colleges prepare to quickly and accurately process student records and deliver financial aid packages 

Administration Announces $25M in Grant Awards to Advance Career Connected High Schools

The Biden-Harris Administration today is announcing 19 new grant awards totaling $25 million through the first-ever Perkins Innovation and Modernization, Career Connected High Schools (CCHS) grant program. 

This investment, issued by the U.S. Department of Education (Department), builds the capacity of education and workforce systems to partner with business and industry, to develop new high-quality career-connected high school programs for more students. Grantees will leverage four evidence-based strategies, or “keys,” to help students in unlocking career success including: providing postsecondary education and career guidance; increasing access to dual or concurrent enrollment programs; increasing work-based learning opportunities; and providing industry-recognized credentials. 

U.S. Department of Education Releases 2024 National Educational Technology Plan

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today released the 2024 National Educational Technology Plan (NETP): A Call to Action for Closing the Digital Access, Design and Use Divides. First released in fulfillment of the 2000 Educate America Act, NETP has been updated multiple times since its original release, most recently in 2016. 

“From the American Rescue Plan to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and more, the Biden-Harris Administration has made bold investments aimed at closing the digital divide and ensuring all students can equitably access the latest digital tools and technology,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “As we work to Raise the Bar in education, it’s essential we focus on empowering teachers to become designers of active learning, using technology in effective ways to engage and inspire students. The 2024 National Educational Technology Plan is a forward-thinking approach to reframing and realizing the potential of educational technology to enhance the instructional core, reduce achievement gaps, and improve student learning in our schools. 

Teachers Included in Administration Plan for Additional $4.9 Billion in Approved Student Debt Relief

The Biden-Harris Administration announced the approval of $4.9 billion in additional student loan debt relief for 73,600 borrowers. These discharges are the result of fixes made by the Administration to income-driven repayment (IDR) forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). 

Today’s announcement brings the total loan forgiveness approved by the Biden-Harris Administration to $136.6 billion for more than 3.7 million Americans. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration has worked relentlessly to fix our country’s broken student loan system and address the needless hurdles and administrative inaccuracies that, in the past, kept borrowers from getting the student debt forgiveness they deserved,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The nearly $5 billion in additional debt relief announced today will go to teachers, social workers, and other public servants whose service to our communities have earned them Public Service Loan Forgiveness, as well as borrowers qualifying for income-driven repayment forgiveness because their payments are for the first time being accurately accounted for. Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we’re approving this loan forgiveness while moving full speed ahead in our efforts to deliver even greater debt relief, and help more borrowers get on a faster track to loan forgiveness under our new, affordable SAVE repayment plan.” 

Biden-Harris Administration Announces More Than $6 Million in New Grants to Address Community Violence and Impacts on Student Mental Health

On January 11, Vice President Kamala Harris announced $6.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education (Department) to address community violence. The funding is being awarded to seven school districts across the country as part of the Project Prevent grant program. The Vice President will make the announcement in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she will be joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to highlight the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to reduce gun violence and expand access to mental health services for students. 

“Every child deserves the freedom to live safe from gun violence in their school and throughout their community. President Biden and I are committed to protecting this freedom and continuing to address an epidemic of gun violence that has become the leading cause of death for children across America,” said Vice President Harris. “With today’s announcement, we are reaffirming our Administration’s dedication to preventing this senseless violence and keeping our children, families, and communities safe. As we call on Congress to pass commonsense gun safety policies, we are proud to fund proven solutions like those supported by Project Prevent that help schools increase access to mental health and other resources for their students.” 

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $47 Million in New Funding to Support School Infrastructure Investments

The Biden-Harris Administration announced eight new grant awards today totaling more than $37 million over five years under the Supporting America’s School Infrastructure (SASI) program and one new grant for $10 million over five years under the National Center on School Infrastructure (NCSI) program. This $47 million investment, issued by the U.S. Department of Education (Department), bolsters the capacity of states to support school districts in improving school facilities with the goal of more equitable access to healthy, sustainable, and modern learning environments for all students.

“These new investments in modern, healthy, and sustainable school infrastructure reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to both promoting student success and protecting our planet for generations to come,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Research has shown that modern, well-maintained facilities and healthy learning environments can help schools Raise the Bar by increasing student achievement, reducing absenteeism, and improving teacher retention. At the Department of Education, we’re going to keep fighting to provide every student in every community with access to safe and healthy 21st-century schools that inspire learning, unleash imagination, and motivate children and youth to bring their best each day.”

Biden-Harris Administration Awards $44.5 Million to Improve Postsecondary Education Access and Completion for Students in Rural Communities

The Biden-Harris Administration announced $44.5 million in grants to 22 institutions of higher education to improve rates of postsecondary education enrollment, persistence, and completion among students in rural communities. The Rural Postsecondary and Economic Development (RPED) grant program promotes the development of high-quality career pathways aligned to high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand industry sectors and occupations in the region.

In America’s rural communities, only 29% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 are enrolled in higher education, compared to almost 48% of their counterparts in urban areas and 42% in suburban areas. In addition to navigating how to pay for college and the application process, students in rural areas face other barriers to accessing and completing college, including reliable transportation, food and housing insecurity, and access to health care and high-speed internet.

“The grants announced today by the Biden-Harris Administration reflect our commitment to empowering rural communities to build on their strengths, attract new investments, and prepare students for the high-skill, high-wage jobs of tomorrow,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “When we invest in postsecondary attainment in rural communities, we create pathways for students to find rewarding careers that do not require them to leave their hometowns for economic opportunity. These grant awards will help rural institutions Raise the Bar for student success and the attainment of valuable degrees and credentials that lead to brighter futures and greater prosperity.”

A full version of the press release is available on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.