Federal Legislative Report 117-17

Delivered via email: March 2, 2023

With both chambers of Congress in recess last week, the 118th Congress has been working on getting things organized behind the scenes. A review of recent federal public policy issues affecting K-12 education and employment follows. Points of interest include a town hall on the teacher pay crisis, Department of Education grants to strengthen teacher diversity as well as awards to support mental health and student wellness, and  a new publication and other articles of interest. 


Teacher-Principal Training and Recruitment, Sanders holds Town Hall on Teacher Pay Crisis 

Senator Bernie Sanders, Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, hosted a town hall titled, “Respecting our Teachers: A Town Hall on the Teacher Pay Crisis in America.” Along with other educators, Sanders was joined by Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association (NEA), and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Items discussed included plans to introduce legislation to pay teachers a minimum of $60,000 a year and attributing the ongoing staff shortages across the country to harmfully low pay and “unconscionable” working conditions. 

Sanders stated, “If we are going to have the best public school system in the world, we have got to radically change our attitude toward education and make sure that every teacher in America receives the compensation that she or he deserves for the enormously important and difficult work that they do.” An archived recording on the town hall can be found online. 


The Department of Education recently announced grants totaling over $18 million awarded via the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence program (Hawkins Program) to increase high-quality teacher preparation programs for teachers of color, strengthen the diversity of the nation’s teacher pipeline, and address teacher shortages. 

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated “… I’m incredibly proud to announce the first-ever Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program grants, which will help Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions recruit and prepare a new generation of diverse and talented individuals into the teaching profession.” Additional information, including a list of the Hawkins Program awardees, can be found online. 


The Department of Education announced on February 16 over $188 million in awards across 170 grantees in over 30 states to “increase access to school-based mental health services and to strengthen the pipeline of mental health professionals in high-needs districts.” Communities will be able to use this investment to hire school-based mental health professionals and training even more, while broadening access to crucial mental health supports. Moreover, the funds will strengthen the certified mental health providers pipeline for those looking to work in schools with the greatest needs. While helping connect more students in need to school-based mental health services, this grant also ensures a channel of trained professionals to support students in the future. Additional information can be found in the Department of Education’s press release


Education Takes Center Stage in 2024 GOP Primary 
Politico (February 23, 2023) 

Democrats Forced to Play Defense on Education 
The Hill (February 22, 2023) 

3 Ways to Enhance Your District’s Cybersecurity Approach 
Smart Brief (February 22, 2023) 

Is a Change in Focus on the Horizon for NSBA? 
K-12 Dive (February 21, 2023) 

Ending ‘Government-Run Monopoly’ on Schools is Top Priority for Rep. Virginia Foxx 
Education Week (February 14, 2023) 

Educators say they lack resources to address worsening mental health crisis 
K-12 Dive (February 16, 2023) 


U.S. House and Senate 2022 Schedule
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. Senate Budget Committee
Congressional Budget Office
Federal legislative information

This Federal Legislative Report was written with assistance from the Consortium of State School Boards Associations.