We are deeply concerned with provisions of the HEALS Act, which proposes $70 billion to support K-12 schools in navigating the fallout from the COVID-19 global pandemic, two-thirds of which is tied to the physical reopening of school buildings. With many districts unable to safely reopen at this time because of high community transmission rates, many schools stand to lose out on a substantial portion of the HEALS Act’s promised resources, which they desperately need to ensure high-quality teaching and learning continues for the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, the $70 billion allocated to K-12 schools is far short of the funding that national experts estimate will be necessary to fully support educators, students, and families at this time, especially those from marginalized groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Many of our organizations believe that K-12 schools need between $175 billion and $200 billion.
COVID-19 Education Coalition Supports the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act and Increases in Federal FY21 Education Appropriations
The undersigned members of the COVID-19 Education Coalition offer the following statement on the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) and FY21 federal education appropriations:
As states and districts continue preparing for the upcoming school year, national data reveal the critical need to support educators’ capacity to deliver effective and equitable online learning experiences. For example, a recent survey revealed discrepancies in the quality of instruction available to students from higher-income versus low-income families. Although the CARES Act provided some federal dollars to support educator professional development, experts agree that the current education stabilization funds are inadequate to fully support schools, students, educators, and families through the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The effects of COVID-19 on students and families require district leaders to collaborate with local stakeholders — including administrators, classroom teachers, school support staff, parents, and students — to plan strategic actions that allow digital learning to effectively and equitably continue into the summer and beyond.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Turnaround for Children, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), and the New Hampshire Society for Technology in Education (NHSTE) — who are members of the broader COVID-19 Education Coalition — provide three key considerations that districts must keep in mind as they build immediate and long-term plans: equitable infrastructure, active digital learning content, and educator capacity building.