The Biden administration recently announced additional actions to improve instruction and accelerate academic success nationwide as students begin the new school year. The announcements include actions to:

  • Improve reading and math outcomes for students, with about $50 million in funding going to states to fund literacy interventions and supports.
  • Expand school capacity by building a diverse educator workforce and infusing approximately 187,000 new tutors and mentors into schools.
  • Support evidence-based strategies to reduce chronic absenteeism in schools.
  • Support states in leveraging funding through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to meet the growing mental health and safety needs of students.

The latest actions are part of the U.S. Department of Education’s “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” effort to transform education and bring parents, teachers, community leaders and students together around what truly works — based on decades of experience and research — to advance educational equity and excellence.

“To address years of decline in core areas like math and literacy, made worse by challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s vital for schools to focus relentlessly on strengthening instruction, providing targeted supports such as extended learning time, and working intentionally with families and caregivers to ensure our children and youth are present and fully engaged in school,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “From continued investments to strengthen literacy instruction, to exciting progress towards recruiting 250,000 tutors and mentors through the National Partnership for Student Success, to historic support for students’ mental health and wellness, the Department of Education will continue to partner with educators, school leaders, and state and local education officials to increase successful academic outcomes for all students.”

The recent announcement includes:

Improving Student Reading & Math Outcomes
  • Delivering additional funding to States for literacy interventions: Reading on grade level by third grade is crucial to future academic success. When students read on grade level, they are more likely to come to school, be engaged, and graduate on time. To advance effective literacy practices, the USDOE announced about $50 million in new grants to support states and educational partners in developing and implementing evidence-based literacy interventions and supports. Read more about the awards here.
  • Elevating evidence-based practices to improve math instruction and student outcomes: Even before the pandemic, gaps in mathematics performance were widening. In the coming weeks, the USDOE’s Institute of Education Sciences will convene researchers and practitioners to share effective strategies for national, state, and local leaders in PreK-12 math instruction and STEAM pathways for student success in school and beyond. The 2023 IES Math Summit will highlight districts that have made progress in improving student learning and outcomes and address key math instructional issues, including differentiating instruction for diverse learners, high-dosage tutoring, and high school pathways. IES invites interested participants to register here.
  • Improving access to data to help students learn on grade level:  The administration will engage school districts and their partners to improve access to formative and diagnostic tools, alongside the information they receive from annual statewide assessments, to help schools better improve achievement by targeting high-dosage tutoring or other individualized supports to students who need it most.
  • Helping schools better identify students who need additional support: The USDOE will launch resources this fall to support schools’ efforts to frequently review student-level data and identify a range of supports for students with varying levels of academic, social, emotional and behavioral needs. The USDOE will invest over $21 million for a technical assistance center focused on multi-tiered system of supports and positive behavior intervention and supports over the next five years. 
Addressing Absenteeism
  • Increasing attendance at school: The USDOE will hold states accountable for ensuring they fulfill commitments they have made to collect chronic absenteeism data and monitor states on the interventions they use to support schools targeted for improvement, including through the use of school improvement funds. The USDOE will also offer guidance to states on leading practices for responding to chronic absenteeism – deploying its Student Engagement and Attendance Center to disseminate evidence-based strategies and actionable tools for engaging students and their families. 
Expanding the Capacity of Schools to Deliver High-Quality Support for Students
  • Answering the call to get more adults in schools supporting students: The USDOE,  AmeriCorps and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University launched the National Partnership for Student Success, a public-private partnership in the summer 2022 to bring new tutors and mentors into schools by 2025. Researchers from JHU recently released new findings showing that, in the last school year alone, an estimated 187,000 caring adults stepped forward to provide additional supports to students. Join NPSS here.
  • Support for educators and school staff in addressing school needs: No in-school factor matters more for student learning than the availability of well-prepared and supported educators. The USDOE will continue its support to states in launching and scaling high-quality apprenticeship programs for teachers and regularly update new data tools that help track progress in addressing shortages at the state level. 
Leveraging BSCA to Address Gun Violence and Improve Student Mental Health
  • The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act secured $1 billion for states to invest in improving school climate and safety and another $1 billion supporting school-based student mental health services. The USDOE will continue to highlight ways to leverage BSCA funds to improve school climate, student attendance, and mental health to meet the growing needs of students, and how additional grant opportunities like the Full-Service Community School Program and the Promise Neighborhoods Program can be used support student health and well-being and school attendance and engagement. Additionally, the Department will work to increase the number of states and schools that offer school-based services for children enrolled in Medicaid and ensure that schools are trained and equipped to bill Medicaid for eligible services through expanded use of the Medicaid Technical Assistance Center, jointly administered by the Department and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Read the full fact sheet.