Dear Colleagues:

Just before the holiday break, Members completed their final task as the 117th Congress- passing the FY2023 omnibus spending package. The bill provides a $3.2 billion increase over the FY2022 level of funding provided to the Department of Education, with several significant increases in programmatic funding to address the educator workforce.

And just as one door closes, another door opens…almost. January 3rd marked what was to be the swearing in day for the 118th Congress. New Members of the Senate were been sworn in on Tuesday; however, as of Friday afternoon a new Speaker of the House has not been selected (keep in mind, by the time you read this things may have changed).

In the Republican majority House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy needs 218 votes to secure the Speakership, this means he can only afford lose 4 Republican votes. In the first 12 rounds of voting, twenty Republican Members of House have voted for alternative Republican candidates, leading to continued rounds of voting. This is the first time in over 100 years that a Speaker of the House has not been selected on the 1st ballot.

There are several implications for not having Speaker of the House. For example, without a Speaker, Members cannot be sworn in- this also means their offices are not staffed or operating as is standard, new Members do not have email addresses or the capacity to hire staff, Committee leadership roles have not yet been determined, classified briefings have not yet occurred, and the list goes on.  Republican leadership have spent their evenings this week after the House adjourned strategizing and making deals in an effort to get Members from the so called “never Kevin” camp to vote for Rep. McCarthy- which ultimately would allow Congress to get back to work on behalf of People. It is my hope that by our next update I will be able to report on the complete makeup of the 118th Congress-including the Speaker…stay tuned!

1. FY2023 Spending Bill Passes with Increases to Education Funding 

Just before the holiday break, President Biden signed into law the long awaited FY2023 spending bill-which will keep the government funded through September 30, 2023.  The bill provides a $3.2 billion increase over the FY 2022 level of funding provided for the Department of Education; that increase is about $1 billion larger than the increase Education received in FY 2022 but about $8.5 billion less than the President requested for FY 2023.

Critical programs that address the educator workforce saw increases including:

  • $70 million for the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP), which funds comprehensive educator preparation programs such as residencies. This is a nearly $11 million increase from FY 22 levels
  • $15 million for the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program, which funds educator preparation programs at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. A $7 million increase over  FY22 levels. Report language was included that encourages the Department of Education to create a mandatory (absolute) priority when it runs the grant competition for comprehensive educator preparation programs.
  • $115 million for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part D – Personnel Preparation program (IDEA-D-PP) – a $20M increase. 

The bill’s report also mentioned the May 25th teacher shortage hearing, held by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. (report pages, 15, 275, and 777). In total, the $38 million increase for the higher education focused educator preparation programs – TQP, Hawkins, and IDEA-D-PP nearly doubled last year’s increase of $20 million to the programs collectively.

Key Programs Related to Educator Support and Preparation 

Program Current level  FY 2022 2023  President’s Request; Discretionary House Recommended FY 2023 level Senate Draft  FY 2023 level FY 2023 FINAL 
IDEA Personnel Preparation $95M $250 M $250M $190M $115M 
Teacher Quality Partnership Grants $59 M $132 M $132 M $75M $70M 
Hawkins Centers of Excellence $8 $20 M $30 M $12M $15M 
Title I-A $17.5 B $20.5B $20.5 B $20B $18.3B 
Title II $2.17B $2.149 B $2.27B $2.25B $2.19B 
IDEA Part B $13.3 B $16.2 B $16.2 B $15.3B $14.19B 


In a statement, Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona applauded the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to education:

“The bipartisan funding package reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to increasing equity in educational opportunities and outcomes for our students… We at the U.S. Department of Education look forward to raising the bar on this progress to continue to deliver on the Biden-Harris Administration’s firm commitment to investing in education as the foundation of opportunity for our young people, for our working families, and for our nation.” 

The legislative text can be found here. The Labor-HHS-Education bill is Division H, beginning with the Department of Labor on page 938.  Title III, Department of Education (ED), is on pages 1069-1097.

Report language describing the intent of the bill can be found here. The section for Department of Education (ED) programs starts on page 147. Congressional earmarks – officially called Community Directed Spending – for the Labor-HHS-Education bill start on page 178, with Department of Education earmarks listed on pages 329-393.

2. In the States: Indiana Superintendents Struggle to Fill Positions with Qualified Candidates 

In a recent survey of school superintendents across the state of Indiana, 95% of respondents say they are contending with a shortage of qualified candidates to fill vacant teaching positions. School district leadership identified the greatest shortage areas continue to be special education, science, math, English, foreign language and elementary education. The survey was sent to all 291 traditional public school superintendents in Indiana, which resulted in 176 responses, or a 60.5% response rate.

Of the 95% of respondents indicating a shortage of qualified candidates for certified positions, 80% percent indicated shortages in special education; 60% had shortages in science and 58% reported shortages in math.

Additional results show:

  • Just over half of respondents, 55.1%, indicated the use of teachers outside their licensed areas to address the shortage. Of those using teachers outside their fields, nearly 22% had five or more teachers outside of their licensed areas.
  • 37.5% of respondents indicated they were using full-time substitutes for teaching positions, and of those, 22.6% used four or more full-time substitutes.
  • Nearly  91% of surveyed superintendents used emergency permits, and of those who did, nearly 33% of the school leaders said they needed at least six teachers emergency permitted staff to fill open vacancies

The survey’s accompanying report suggest that districts must focus on both recruitment and retention by way of creating incentives to work in the district, creating an environment that teachers will not want to leave, and opening new pipelines to the profession.

3. New Resources for Educators  

  • AACTE has a toolkit out for local advocates focused on teaching diverse and inclusive curricula materials and defending diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Higher Ed Dive this week reported on the 7 higher education trends to watch in 2023.

I hope you all enjoyed some well-deserved rest over the holiday break.

It feels great to be back.

Until next time, see you on Twitter!



Do you have a question about Washington Update? Want more information? Have an interesting story about the educator shortage in your state? Email me, let’s have virtual coffee: