Awash in Federal Dollars, Schools Have a Chance To Reinvent Themselves
Infusion of federal cash offers a chance to test new models for local schools
After an unprecedented infusion of federal money in local schools to deal with the devastation and learning loss stemming from Covid, the public is learning that districts and states have billions still waiting to be spent.
As schools use the dollars to pay for tutoring, teachers, and technology to accelerate student learning, they also should use the money to create a new range of schooling models to leapfrog the performance of today’s schools.
New York City, for one, still has $4.4 billion in stimulus funds that must be spent by the 2024–25 school year. Out of the $3.02 billion budgeted for 2021–22 school year that concluded, over half a billion dollars in federal money have yet to be committed.
Many schools have used the dollars they have spent to contract with tutoring companies, mental health services or Covid-related infrastructure, including better air flow in classrooms, air purifiers, and personal protective equipment.
Those are important. But experts are alerting educators that the investments in tutoring, accelerated and remediation classes, summer school and other such techniques to catch students up barely scratch the surface of what students need.
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