President Biden has approved many executive actions (orders, directives, memoranda, proclamations, etc.) that concern schools, students, and families. Below is a summary of the major education-related actions:
- Pausing Federal Student Loan Payments (January 20) — at the President’s request, the Acting Secretary is extending the pause on both federal student loan payments and collections from January 31, 2021, to September 30, 2021, and maintaining the interest rate at 0%.
- Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation (January 20) — extends federal non-discrimination protections to the members of the LGBTQ community.
- Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (January 20) — orders agencies to conduct assessments and reallocate resources to “advance equity for all,” as well as revokes President Trump’s Advisory 1776 Commission.
- Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (January 20) — reaffirms the deferred removal of certain undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
- Executive Order on Establishing the COVID-19 Pandemic Testing Board and Ensuring a Sustainable Public Health Workforce… (January 21) — supports diagnostic, screening, and surveillance testing for schools.
- Memorandum to…Increase Reimbursement and Other Assistance Provided to States (January 21) — instructs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reinstate “full reimbursement” from a disaster aid fund to cover personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies to reopen schools.
- Executive Order on Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers (January 21) — directs the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to develop guidance for K-12 schools “in deciding whether and how to reopen, and how to remain open, for in-person learning and in safely conducting in-person learning.”
- Executive Actions to Deliver Economic Relief for American Families [and Children]…Amid COVID-19 (January 22) — increases access to nutritious food for as many as 12 million children missing meals due to school closures.
Of course, two additional actions negatively impact education funding for Wyoming and other states with mineral production on federal lands:
- Department of the Interior Order 3395
- Summary of Executive Order “Tackling the Climate Crisis At Home and Abroad”
I am excited to see the rollout of a new FAFSA campaign in Wyoming – more to come. In the meantime, since the 2021-22 FAFSA form became available on October 1, 2020, the completion rate among high school seniors is down 12% compared to the same time last year. Students, educators, counselors, and parents can access resources at StudentAid.gov and via the myStudentAid mobile application using a computer, tablet, or cell phone.
CYBER SAFETY RESOURCE
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) launched a Reduce the Risk of Ransomware campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of ransomware among schools and other organizations that hackers have particularly targeted.
February is CTE Month. It feels very different in 2021 and I miss the students, teachers, & advisors coming to the Capitol to visit with legislators and others.
Last week some of WDE’s senior staff volunteered for the Friday Food Bag Foundation in Cheyenne. We know programs like this exist all over the state and we are grateful that school serves as the hub for distributing weekend meals.
Memos to be released today: