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Study looks at ways federal government shortchanges K-12 public education

From EdWeek: “The federal government contributes roughly 8 percent of the $795 billion that annually goes toward educating the nation’s 50 million children. In many cases, however, the federal share falls short of its self-imposed targets, shortchanging schools on everything from high-need students and special education to facilities and school meals.

“This shortfall will persist without more vigorous and reliable federal intervention, argue the authors of a new report on funding sources for K-12 schools.

“Instead of asking school districts to rely on volatile state and local revenue, they say, the federal government needs to dramatically step up its investment in K-12 education and proactively establish funding programs that help schools during economic downturns.” (more…)

Federal “Keep Kids Fed Act” signed into law

On June 25, President Biden signed the bipartisan Keep Kids Fed Act into law, thereby extending several pandemic-era school nutrition waivers. Those waivers, first issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as the pandemic disrupted school operations in 2020, had been set to expire on June 30.

Those 2020 waivers provided school food programs with more flexible nutrition requirements that helped them combat supply shortages, offer options such as “grab-and-go” meals, and provided school meal programs with higher than normal reimbursement rates for meals. The waivers also allowed school food authorities to provide free school meals to all students regardless of family income for the first time in U.S. history. (more…)

New bipartisan school and gun safety law also includes additional resources for schools, children and families

The new bipartisan school and gun safety law signed by President Biden on Saturday (see previous post) also includes a host of programs providing additional federal resources for schools, children and families. These programs are summarized below.

The new law builds on a couple of school security measures that were adopted in the wake of the 2018  Parkland, Florida school shooting, including:

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President signs bipartisan school and gun safety package

From ABC News: “President Joe Biden on Saturday signed into law the gun safety package passed by Congress this week.

“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act broke a nearly 30-year stalemate on Capitol Hill, becoming the first major piece of federal gun reform to clear both chambers since the Brady bill.

“A bipartisan group of senators began crafting the legislation in the aftermath of a tragic mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 young children and two teachers dead. (more…)

Bipartisan bill would extend school meal waivers

A bipartisan effort is underway in Congress to extend school meal waivers that were enacted in response to the pandemic. Without Congressional action, those waivers are set to expire on June 30, 2022.

The existing waivers, which allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to waive various requirements that govern how schools can serve meals and who can get them, also increased the reimbursement rates for school food programs. (more…)

U.S. Senate moves closer to passage of bipartisan school and gun safety package

A bipartisan package of measures aimed at improving school safety (see previous post) has cleared its first hurdle toward passage in the U.S. Senate. The 64-to-34 vote came just hours after Republicans and Democrats released the text of the legislation.  Proponents hope to pass the bill through the U.S. Senate by Saturday.

The 80-page bill, called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, would provide millions of dollars for expanding mental health resources in communities and schools in addition to funds devoted to boosting school safety. 

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