Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

Biden Administration Lays Out Its Top Priorities for Education Grants

By Andrew Ujifusa — December 10, 2021 2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington on Aug. 5, 2021.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Biden administration’s priorities for education grants will include promoting equity in resources and opportunities, addressing learning loss caused by the pandemic, and advancing “systemic change” in schools.

These priorities, named in a Federal Register notice Dec. 10, involve U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s top issues for grants that Cardona and his department award at their discretion for both K-12 and higher education.

Beyond that, they represent the Biden administration’s overarching philosophy for the most important issues facing schools.

The six priorities don’t apply to federal money that goes out to states and school districts through formulas set by Congress, such as Title I aid for disadvantaged students. And they cover a very small portion of the Education Department’s overall budget. Yet they will serve as a lens through which federal officials will judge hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to schools for a variety of projects.

In a related move, the department simultaneously announced a new grant competition to bolster efforts to help students and schools recover from the pandemic. The grants will be overseen by the Institute for Education Sciences, and will fund “research recovery network” for pre-K, K-12, and community colleges.

In June, the department released a draft version of the discretionary grant priorities for public comment. Those top issues didn’t change in the final version, but the department did tweak some details about them after getting feedback from educators and others.

Some told the department that its use of the term “educator” in its draft lacked clarity about who the term referred to. In response, the department added a definition for the term that includes “early childhood educators, teachers, principals and other school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel (e.g., school psychologists, counselors, school social workers), paraprofessionals, and faculty.”

And for the priority for grants to address COVID-19’s affects, the agency added a focus on “underserved students.”

The priorities detail ways grants can be used to further the Biden administrations’ top issues for schools, and such strategies can vary widely.

For example, the department’s priority dealing with K-12 workforce would apply to projects focused on “increasing the number of diverse educator candidates who have access to an evidence-based comprehensive educator preparation program,” or those that address “implementing or expanding loan forgiveness or service-scholarship programs for educators based on completing service obligation requirements.”

During the Trump administration, former education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ priorities for federal grants included school choice and STEM.

Here are the official discretionary grants priorities released Friday:

  • “Addressing the Impact of COVID–19 on Students, Educators, and Faculty”
  • “Promoting Equity in Student Access to Educational Resources and Opportunities
  • “Supporting a Diverse Educator Workforce and Professional Growth To Strengthen Student Learning”
  • “Meeting Student Social, Emotional, and Academic Needs”
  • “Increasing Postsecondary Education Access, Affordability, Completion, and Post-Enrollment Success”
  • “Strengthening Cross-Agency Coordination and Community Engagement To Advance Systemic Change”

Events

Curriculum Webinar Computer Science Education Movement Gathers Momentum. How Should Schools React?
Discover how schools can expand opportunities for students to study computer science education.
School & District Management Webinar Fostering Student Well-Being with Programs That Work
Protecting student well-being has never been more important. Join this webinar to learn how to ensure your programs yield the best outcomes.
Reading & Literacy Webinar 'Science of Reading': What Are the Components?
Learn how to adopt a “science of reading” approach to early literacy to effectively build students’ vocabulary and content knowledge.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Conservatives Hammer on Hot-Button K-12 Education Issues at Federalist Society Event
The influential legal group discussed critical race theory, gender identity, and Title IX.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks at the Phoenix International Academy in Phoenix on Oct. 15, 2020.
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was among a phalanx of conservatives addressing K-12 issues at a conference of the Federalist Society.
Matt York/AP
Federal Cardona Back-to-School Tour to Focus on Teacher Pipeline, Academic Recovery
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will spend a week traveling to six states to highlight a range of K-12 priorities.
2 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona answers questions during an interview in his office in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona continues a tradition of on-site visits by the nation's top education official as the school year opens.
Alyssa Schukar for Education Week
Federal Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness: How Much Will It Help Teachers?
Advocates say Black educators—who tend to carry heavier debt loads—won't benefit as much.
5 min read
Illustration of student loans.
alexsl/iStock/Getty
Federal Q&A U.S. Education Secretary Cardona: How to Fix Teacher Shortages, Create Safe Schools
In an exclusive interview with Education Week, the secretary looks ahead to the challenges of this school year.
10 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona answers questions during an interview in his office in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona answers questions during an interview in his office in Washington on Aug. 23.
Alyssa Schukar for Education Week