Study Shows COVID School Relief Funds Inadequate to Improve Student Success

The federal government is giving billions of dollars to states and school districts to address student learning losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, but student performance is declining nationwide and there is a need to fix it. funding may not be sufficient.According to the greatest needs New Analysis Released Tuesday.

A new study from the American Association for Educational Research found that federal emergency aid specifically allocated to schools to deal with student learning losses totaled about $189 billion, while schools had about $500 billion. I needed a dollar.

While the need for additional resources may be great, the study authors are asking the federal government to review recent national standardized test score results. shows a decrease Get your students up and running before they give your state or school district more money.

“The scale of student learning loss is enormous. [Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief] Funding to rectify even greater learning losses.” In an interview, Matthew P. Steinberg, one of the study’s authors, referred to pandemic support provided to schools in the past two years.Steinberg too He is Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy at George Mason University’s Sharl School of Policy & Government and Director of EdPolicyForward.

In their analysis, the authors compared federal spending during the pandemic to spending during the Great Recession. In both cases, we found that there was a problem with how the money was distributed and whether it was allocated for specific uses, and that it did not meet its intended policy goals.

“Despite the fundamentally different impacts of the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. society, particularly the U.S. K-12 education system, documenting commonalities in federal policy between the two crises We can,” write Steinberg and his co-authors, author Kenneth Shores, an assistant professor of education and social policy at the University of Delaware’s School of Education and Human Development.

President Joe Biden signed the U.S. Rescue Plan in March 2021, allocation $1.9 trillion in federal aid to the Emergency Relief Fund to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan included funding for schools to address student learning losses, safely open schools, address student mental health, and address other pandemic-related needs.part of those funds set aside Specifically, it reduces learning loss. The federal government has not yet distributed all the relief money to schools.

“States and school districts have the resources they need to address the impact of the pandemic on student learning…the state should support students with disabilities, English, and learners and students experiencing homelessness.” ,White House Said A year after Biden signed his aid package.

The federal government is keeping the rest of the aid, but the education department should consider spending on students who need it most, Steinberg said.

“From a policy perspective, increasing federal aid may be politically difficult, but the cost of repairing the losses (income in the case of the Great Recession or income in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic) Furthermore, while we are not proposing to limit federal aid to specific uses (e.g., categorical aid), it would be helpful to have consistent and complete data collection. Absences can constrain accountability efforts and reduce political support for federal aid,” the report said. .

The Ministry of Education did not immediately return a request for comment.

What do students need to recover from?

A recent national report found that 9-year-olds in this country were significantly behind in math and reading performance during the pandemic. And while no group of students was unaffected by a drop in standardized test scores, it was only a widening performance gap between black and Hispanic students compared to their white and Asian peers. did.

more:Nine-year-olds see ‘biggest score drop’ in reading, first-ever drop in mathematics

Steinberg said the federal government should investigate the most affected students and provide additional funding to schools in those parts of the country to address the learning losses.

“Rather than focusing on districts that need federal assistance the most and advancing specific quotas or block subsidies, spending needs to be more flexible over time,” Steinberg said. , added that federal block spending may have increased. State-by-state performance disparities for poor students. States with similar levels of student poverty are more progressive than others and can decide how much Title I funding they receive for schools with large numbers of children from low-income families.

What can the federal government do?

As school districts respond and seek to mitigate student learning losses, researchers are recommending changes to the way the federal government distributes taxpayer money to school districts. And they said there was too little accountability for how the district spent those money.

“Policy makers should require, or at least provide incentives to, school districts to use federal aid to remediate student learning losses,” Steinberg said. “This is much more important than using it, for example, to build new facilities such as playgrounds that have little to do with meeting the academic needs of students.”

Steinberg and Shores write that greater state- and district-level transparency in spending during the crisis will help policymakers address disagreements. There is no national database that tracks how aid is being used, but during the pandemic, groups including FutureEd, an independent think tank at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, have analyzed Some of the available data on local district and state aid expenditures.

One suggestion the authors put forward to the federal government is to require all school districts, or at least some school districts, to report how their income is spent to the National Center for Education Statistics.

And future spending by governments during such crises will depend less on convenience distribution mechanisms, such as state funding schemes and Title I allocations, to adequately meet the very different learning needs of students. It should not depend, but instead be more closely linked to policy objectives.” Steinberg and Shores point to national losses in their analysis.

Please contact Kayla Jimenez at Follow @kaylajjimenez on Twitter. Study Shows COVID School Relief Funds Inadequate to Improve Student Success

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