Realistic, Effective, and Targeted Strategies for the State and Local Districts
In March, 2021, the US Department of Education announced that Connecticut will receive $1.1 billion in K-12 relief through the American Rescue Plan (ARP)’s Elementary & Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF III) fund. These resources are explicitly earmarked for the state and local districts to address issues resulting from COVID-19.
Ninety percent of each state’s K-12 relief allocation is directed towards sub-grants from the state to local districts, amounting to $995 million in Connecticut. Although the state of Connecticut will only retain 10% of the incoming K-12 relief funds, this is the most generous COVID relief package for K- 12 schools to date.
Notably, there are significant set asides for “Learning Loss” interventions. At the state-level, 5%, or $55 million, must be committed to these interventions. At the local level, 20% of the total subgrants, or $199 million, must also be reserved.
With this large influx of one-time funding, the state and local districts will be receiving a plethora of policy proposals. Decision-makers must invest the resources realistically, effectively, and in a targeted way that will maximize a long-term impact on students.
Realistic, Effective, Targeted.
As criteria for whether to invest in a program, state and local decision makers should consider whether policy proposals are:
Realistic: Are they likely to be implemented in a high-quality, timely fashion?
Effective: Do they advance rigorous, evidence-based programming on foundational aspects of public education?
Targeted: Will they have a long-term impact in response to learning losses, academic needs, or the social implications of COVID-19?
Our five recommendations below provide guidance for: state leaders and local district leaders.