What We’re Tracking: Education

This is the latest installment in our series highlighting the policy areas we’re watching leading up to inauguration–and how we’re expecting President-elect Biden’s administration to approach them. Read our previous entries on Health Care, Food & Ag, Tech, Climate and Foreign Policy.

More federal dollars are on the way for education. 

The bill President Trump signed in late December will deliver much-delayed annual funding for federal education programs and $82 billion in education-focused COVID relief

K-12 schools will receive $54 billion to spend on PPE, cleaning supplies, technology and more while higher education institutions will see $23 billion to support student tuition aid.

State governors will receive $4.1 billion for education, with $2.8 billion of that sum for private school COVID relief. Those dollars are already on the way— and more may still come.

In the short term, President-elect Biden’s Secretary of Education nominee Miguel Cardona will focus on reopening schools and measuring learning loss, with his long-term goal to close the achievement gap

While many education groups have praised Cardona’s classroom teaching background, others express concern that he hadn’t taught long enough and that he lacks sufficient management experience. But with the Senate in Democratic hands, his confirmation seems secure. (Deputy Secretary Mick Zais is currently in charge following Secretary Betsy DeVos’ early exit). 

Biden’s incoming staff are already discussing major changes in higher education, including a legislative push to erase $10,000 in student loan debt for every borrower and a possible extension of the existing pause on student loans and collections.