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Ed. Note: This is a press release from the White House urging states and schools to use the $122 billion in COVID-19 emergency funds issued two years ago for research-based interventions that will help students recover from learning loss. The release cites a “two to four months” learning lag; new data shows students are at least four to nine months behind. The federal funding stream requires only 20% of the payments to be used for learning loss. Here, President Joe Biden calls on schools to use far more for high-dosage tutoring, summer school, and afterschool program, although most of the money has already been allotted and will run out in November 2024.
America’s students are on average two to four months behind in reading and math because of the COVID-19 pandemic. President Biden understands the pain and loss our nation’s students, families, and educators are experiencing, and is committed to supporting our nation’s children. That’s why President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided an historic $122 billion in funding to help schools safely reopen and stay open, combat learning loss, and address student mental health and other needs.
Today, President Biden is calling on schools to use the $122 billion in ARP funds to provide high-quality tutoring, summer learning and enrichment, and afterschool programs that are proven pathways to helping students make up for lost learning time and succeed in school and in life, including by supporting their mental health. Building on President Biden’s call to action in the State of the Union, the Biden-Harris Administration is also joining with leading organizations to launch the National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS) to provide students with an additional 250,000 tutors and mentors over the next three years.
We know what works: fully staffed schools, and personalized support for students through high-quality tutoring, summer learning and enrichment, and afterschool programs that help students not only make academic gains, but also stay connected to school and one another. The steps announced today will further help ensure America’s children have what they need to thrive.
Use American Rescue Plan Funds to Provide Additional Instruction So Students Can Make Up for Learning Time Lost During the Pandemic
Thanks to the ARP, states and schools have the funds they need to help students recover from the pandemic. A majority of schools are already using these resources or have developed their plans to provide tutoring, mentoring, summer learning and afterschool programs, and to support staffing. Independent experts at Georgetown University have found school districts plan to spend over half of the $122 billion in ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding for these purposes.
To ensure students are set up for success, the President is calling on states and school districts to continue using American Rescue Plan funds to fully staff schools and provide high-quality tutoring, summer learning and enrichment, and afterschool programs to support, on average, an additional four months of learning gains in reading and math. These programs are most successful when paired with initiatives that support student well-being and mental health, like arts and music, and the programs like those supported by the National Partnership for Student Success.
- High-quality summer learning and enrichment: Multiple studies indicate that high-quality summer learning and enrichment programs lasting five weeks, with at least three hours of academic instruction per day, can help students gain roughly an additional two months of learning in math and one month in reading.
- High-quality tutoring programs: Research has consistently shown that high-quality tutoring programs of a range of durations can produce about five months of additional learning. The best programs provide tutoring three times per week, for 30 minutes each day, and use teachers and well-trained volunteers.
- High-quality afterschool programs: High-quality afterschool programs are associated with academic gains of roughly the equivalent of four months of learning, with positive impacts on attendance and student behavior as well. These high-quality programs include a concrete focus on skill development, including personal and social skills, and provide opportunities for students to practice new skills.
To help parents and schools ensure these critical supports are available in every district, the Administration is taking the following actions:
- Tracking Progress in Providing Additional Learning Opportunities: The Institute for Education Sciences, the Department of Education’s statistics, research and evaluation arm, will use monthly surveys to track schools’ continued progress in providing summer learning and enrichment, tutoring, and afterschool supports.
- Empowering Parents: Most decisions about how schools invest ARP funds are made at the local level and districts are required to engage families, educators and other stakeholders as they create their plans for using these historic funds. The Department of Education recently launched its National Parents and Families Engagement Council, and has created a new tool to help families and communities engage with district leaders around ensuring recovery funds are meeting students’ needs. Using this interactive map, families and communities can review how their state and district plans to spend their ARP funds. Parents and families should engage their local leaders if plans do not adequately address the needs of their students.
- Highlighting Schools Effectively Supporting Student Success: Today, the Department of Education is launching a campaign through the Best Practices Clearinghouse to highlight states and schools using ARP funds to support learning recovery and student mental health in evidence-based ways. The Department is calling on education leaders to nominate work for national recognition through the Clearinghouse.
- Highlighting How States, Cities and Counties Can Help: Ensuring our students have the supports they need to succeed cannot fall on education leaders alone. States, cities and counties can use the American Rescue Plan’s $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to support student success. As outlined in a new White House toolkit, SLFRF can be used to hire and retain school-based staff; build the educator pipeline; and invest in other ways to support our students, including academic and mental health supports.
Recruit 250,000 New Tutors and Mentors to Help Students Succeed
Research shows that high quality tutors and mentors positively impact student achievement, well-being, and overall success. In fact, the CDC released analyses in March finding that students who are connected to adults and peers at school – the kinds of connections that tutoring and mentoring programs can foster — reported better mental health outcomes than those without such connections. However, many schools need help recruiting and training the caring adults who are essential to implementing these high-quality, evidence-based programs.
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration, led by AmeriCorps and the Department of Education, is joining forces with leading national education, youth development, and service organizations and the Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center to launch the National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS). NPSS will help expand high-impact tutoring, mentoring, and other evidence-based support programs that help students succeed. The NPSS will bring together school districts, non-profits and higher education institutions to recruit, train and place screened adults in high impact roles as tutors, mentors, student success coaches, integrated student supports coordinators, and post-secondary education transition coaches, with the goal of ensuring an additional 250,000 adults serve in these roles over the next three years. This will also help build the pipeline of educators. As more Americans gain experience working in our schools, more will seek out roles as teachers and student support professionals.
To support this effort, AmeriCorps will prioritize the American Rescue Plan’s $20 million in Volunteer Generation Funds to assist non-profit organizations in recruiting and managing up to 200,000 additional volunteers in these critical positions in schools. The Department of Education has also made it clear that schools can use federal education funds as matching funds for AmeriCorps programs, making it easier for schools to partner with AmeriCorps grantees to support students.
President Biden is calling on Americans to come together to support our students in a number of different ways:
- Individuals, from young adults to retirees, can learn more about supporting youth through a range of volunteer and national service opportunities, through AmeriCorps and the NPSS.
- Community-based organizations and school districts can expand or improve tutoring, mentoring and other programs through the NPSS or through AmeriCorps
- Employers across the country can pledge to support their employees in serving as volunteers, amplify these opportunities to serve, and get help in supporting these volunteer efforts.
- Colleges and universities can learn more about and sign up to partner with K-12 schools and community-based organizations, providing their post-secondary students with meaningful opportunities to support K-12 students’ success.
Organizations participating in NPSS include Accelerate, Afterschool Alliance, American Federation of Teachers, American School Counselor Association, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, City Year, Communities in Schools, COVID Collaborative, MENTOR, National 4-H Council, National College Attainment Network, National Education Association, National Student Support Accelerator, National Summer Learning Association, AASA: the School Superintendents Association, and Voices for National Service. For a full list of participating organizations, visit https://www.partnershipstudentsuccess.org/.