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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.

Image shows lots of cash. Rolls of dollars lay flat on a light blue background.
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Education Funding U.S. Senators Tee Up Big Boost in School Funding for Next Year
The fiscal 2022 bill would increase aid for disadvantaged students, mental-health professionals, research, and state academic assessments.
Andrew Ujifusa, October 18, 2021
3 min read
Image shows an illustration of money providing relief against coronavirus.
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Federal California, Florida, and Other States Waiting on Green Light for Their COVID Relief Plans
The list of states with Ed. Dept. approval for their American Rescue Plan blueprints is growing steadily, but two big states aren't on it.
Andrew Ujifusa, October 14, 2021
4 min read
Student writes a note for "HELP" on her schoolwork
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Student Well-Being Students With Depression, Anxiety May Qualify for Accommodations, Feds Tell Schools
As COVID fuels concerns, the Education and Justice departments detailed schools' obligations to students with mental health conditions.
Evie Blad, October 13, 2021
3 min read
Scales of justice and Gavel on wooden table.
Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock
School Climate & Safety Law Against 'Disorderly Conduct' in Schools Led to Unfair Student Arrests, Judge Rules
The South Carolina ruling is a model for other states where students are still being arrested for minor incidents, an attorney said.
Evie Blad, October 11, 2021
6 min read
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine Texas's abortion law, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine Texas's abortion law, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Tom Williams/Pool via AP
Federal Is the Justice Dept. Silencing Parents or Stepping Up to Protect Educators?
Merrick Garland's move to use the FBI to help protect school officials from violence and harassment has drawn anger and praise.
Andrew Ujifusa, October 8, 2021
5 min read
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Nov. 30, 2020. A program announced by Arizona's Republican governor last month to give private school vouchers to students whose parents object to school mask requirements has seen a surge of applications, with twice as many either completed or started than can be funded with the $10 million in federal coronavirus relief cash he earmarked for the program.
A program announced by Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in September earmarks federal money to give private school vouchers to students whose parents object to public school mask requirements.
Ross D. Franklin/AP
Federal Don't Use Federal COVID Aid to Undermine School Mask Rules, U.S. Treasury Tells Governor
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey violated the intent of COVID aid programs by using them to discourage school mask mandates, an agency letter says.
Evie Blad, October 6, 2021
2 min read
Illustration of a helping hand with dollar bill bridging economy gap during coronavirus pandemic, assisting business people to overcome financial difficulties.
Feodora Chiosea/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Federal Districts Would Have to Show Equity for High-Poverty Schools Under Proposed Biden Rule
The U.S. Department of Education says the move would promote transparency and accountability for schools getting COVID-19 aid.
Andrew Ujifusa, October 5, 2021
4 min read
Attorney General nominee Judge Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., on Jan. 7, 2021.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said "threats against public servants ... run counter to our nation's values."
Susan Walsh/AP
Federal Justice Department Says FBI Will Address Violent Threats Against School Leaders
The Biden administration's response comes several days after a request by a school boards group for federal intervention.
Andrew Ujifusa, October 4, 2021
4 min read
Marcus Morgan, 14, waits to receive his Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Families Together of Orange County in Tustin, Calif., on May 13, 2021.
Marcus Morgan, 14, waits to receive his Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Families Together of Orange County in Tustin, Calif., on May 13, 2021.
Jae C. Hong/AP
States California Is Mandating COVID Vaccines for Kids. Will Other States Follow?
California's is the first statewide student requirement for COVID-19 vaccines. Will other states follow? And what about loopholes?
Evie Blad, October 4, 2021
5 min read
Peggy Donahue, a nurse at McGlynn Middle School, hands a student a q-tip to perform a self-administered COVID-19 test at McGlynn Middle School in Medford, Mass., on March 15, 2021.
Peggy Donahue, a school nurse, hands a student a cotton swab to perform a self-administered COVID-19 test at McGlynn Middle School in Medford, Mass.
Nathan Klima for Education Week
Federal Senators Grill Biden Officials on Schools' COVID Testing Challenges
COVID-19 testing is a key Biden strategy for opening schools, but administrators have struggled with shortages of staffing and supplies.
Evie Blad, September 30, 2021
4 min read
Protesters against a COVID-19 mandate gesture as they are escorted out of the Clark County School Board meeting at the Clark County Government Center, on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Las Vegas.
Protesters against a COVID-19 mask mandate gesture as they are escorted out of the Clark County School Board meeting in Las Vegas in August.
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
Federal School Boards Ask Biden to Review Threats and Violence as Possible 'Domestic Terrorism'
The White House should aid education leaders facing rising disruptions and harassment over COVID-19 rules, a national group says.
Andrew Ujifusa, September 30, 2021
5 min read
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Families & the Community Parents: Schools Haven't Sought Our Input on How to Spend Billions in COVID Aid
In a poll, parents say they don't know how schools are spending their COVID aid, and that they haven't been consulted as required by law.
Evie Blad, September 29, 2021
4 min read
Opponents of legislation that tightened  rules on exemptions for vaccinations demonstrate outside the office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom in Sacramento, Calif., in Sept. 2019. Medical exemptions in California more than tripled in the three years after they became the only allowable reason for a student to be unvaccinated.
Opponents of legislation that tightened rules on exemptions for vaccinations demonstrate outside the office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom in Sacramento, Calif., in Sept. 2019.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP
States How Vaccine Loopholes Could Weaken COVID Shot Mandates for Kids
For years before the pandemic, states sought to tighten loopholes in school vaccine requirements. Those efforts may now be put to the test.
Evie Blad, September 28, 2021
9 min read
Food service assistant Brenda Bartee, rear, gives students breakfast, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, during the first day of school at Washington Elementary School in Riviera Beach, Fla.
Food service assistant Brenda Bartee, rear, gives students breakfast, last month on the first day of school at Washington Elementary School in Riviera Beach, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How a Big Federal Spending Package Could Affect School Meals and Student Poverty Counts
Legislation to expand access to free school meals highlights a persistent concern: how to improve the ways we identify students in poverty.
Andrew Ujifusa, September 23, 2021
6 min read