New ED guidance promotes best practices for recovering lost learning

ED's Return to School Roadmap focuses on supporting students' social, emotional, and mental health
By: | September 1, 2021

The U.S. Education Department released guidance promoting best practices and evidence-based approaches to address lost instructional time, which can be supported with American Rescue Plan funds.

Strategies for Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Address the Impact of Lost Instructional Time” is a resource to support educators as they implement, refine, and work to improve their strategies for supporting students. It is part of the department’s Return to School Roadmap, a guide that focuses on building school communities and supporting students’ social, emotional, and mental health.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all students, it has deepened pre-pandemic disparities in access and opportunities for students of color, multilingual learners, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students. Schools can use ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds to respond to the urgent needs of students, address gaps in educational opportunity, and build local capacity to sustain meaningful and effective teaching and learning.

ED announced allocations to each state educational agency under the ARP ESSER fund totaling $122 billion in relief for K-12 schools. Districts are directed to use at least 20 percent of their ARP ESSER funds to address the impact of lost instructional using evidence-based interventions.

“Our country’s students—particularly our students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, students experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities, and multilingual learners—have faced immense challenges amid the pandemic, especially with regard to lost instructional time,” stated U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a press release.

“Nationally, we know that disparities in access to educational opportunity — including access to rich, rigorous learning experiences; talented and diverse teachers; school counselors and high-quality social-emotional supports; and safe, welcoming schools existed long before COVID-19,” he continued. “Our work as a nation must be to eliminate these disparities, and we must do so with urgency. Our students don’t have a moment to wait. I’m proud that these new resources will help states and districts to accelerate learning, especially for those students who need the most additional support.”

Johnny Jackson covers special education issues for LRP Publications.