News: American Rescue Plan Act expenditures on education

For what education programs did states spend ARPA funds?

In March of 2021, the US Congress passed and US President Joseph Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act. One part part of the ARPA expressly designates funds to be used for K-12 education.

SEC. 2001. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND.

(a) In General.—In addition to amounts otherwise available through the Education Stabilization Fund, there is appropriated to the Department of Education for fiscal year 2021, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $122,774,800,000, to remain available through September 30, 2023, to carry out this section.

That is a lot of $$!

Grants made from the ARPA education funds are to address matters such as identifying and providing services for homeless children and youth and to allot funds to states that are to make sub-grants (to local education agencies) that focus on helping learners catch up from losses in learning that resulted from the pandemic as well as existing educational programs under various congressional programs (including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and myriad other activities. Frequently, the language in the law emphasizes "evidence-based " activities, interventions, and programs.

It's going to be very interesting to see how state education agencies and LEAs spend the funds. Will the programs selected for funding actually have evidence of effectiveness?

Parents and teachers can assess the grants that are being made in various states by searching a data base created by National Conference of State Legislatures. (The data base covers not just education grants, but one can filter the grants states are making so that oone only sees grants related to education.)

Here are links to a House of Representatives version of the law and to the NCSL's database. If readers explore the data base and find interesting (i.e., valuable, non-evidence-basesd, or whacky) uses of the funds they consider worth reporting, please add a comment to this post describing the finding.

For additional discussion of the ARPA, see the guidance issued by the Government Finance Officers Association.

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