NASP Urges Swift Passage of FY21 Federal Education Spending Bills

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Bethesda, MD—The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) applauds the House Labor, Health, and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations subcommittee for rejecting many of the Trump Administration’s proposed budget cuts and providing an increase in federal education investments for FY21. Although significantly more federal funding is needed to truly address the inequality and inequity that exists in our public school system, we recognize that this year’s tight budget caps made larger investments difficult. As such, we are grateful that the LHHS subcommittee continues to value our public education system.

NASP is particularly pleased with the $10 million within the School Safety National Activities program to continue funding for grants to increase the number of school psychologists and other school mental health professionals. While the funding is a drop in the bucket given the scope of the nationwide shortage problem, NASP is thankful to Congressional appropriators for recognizing the need to address the lack of access that students have to mental health services in schools. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising toll inflicted on communities across the country as a result of police brutality, systemic racism, and structural inequity, meeting the mental and behavioral health needs of our students is more important than ever.

Of course, the FY21 appropriations legislation does not negate the need for additional emergency spending legislation to help schools address the unique needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Significant federal investments are necessary to help preserve existing staffing positions, including school psychologists and other school mental health professionals, improve access to technology and distance learning initiatives, and to ensure schools are able to safely reopen for in-person instruction. We call on Congress to provide increases in federal education investments via the regular appropriations process and act quickly to pass additional emergency spending in line with the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) as introduced in the Senate, and the HEROES Act, which has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

NASP encourages this bill’s swift passage by the full Appropriations committee and the House and urge the Senate to adopt a spending bill that, at a minimum, includes the $10 million dollar mental health grant mentioned above and reflects the spending allocations noted below.

  • $25 million for firearm injury and mortality prevention research
  • Mental health resources for children and youth, including $107 million for Project AWARE, and $72 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative
  • $21 million for the Zero Suicide program; $21 million for the Suicide Lifeline
  • $16.6 billion for Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies
  • $14.1 billion for Special Education, including $13 billion for IDEA Part B grants to states
  • $2.2 billion for Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants (Title II-A)
  • $1.2 billion for Student Support and Academic Enrichment State Grants (Title IV-A) that supports availability of a well-rounded curriculum, safety and health programming, and the effective use of education technology
  • $172 million for a Social–Emotional Learning (SEL) Initiative to support SEL and whole-child approaches to education

NASP remains committed to working with Congress to ensure that FY2021 federal appropriations maintain critical investments needed to provide a high-quality public education, in an environment that is safe and supportive for all students.