ED approves first 7 state plans for ARP funds; $6 billion released

One state plans to create a tutoring corps. Another plans to promote student engagement.
By: | July 7, 2021
(AdobeStock)

Seven states received approval from the U.S. Education Department on July 7 for their state plans using American Rescue Plan Act funds. ED distributed the remaining funds to those states.

The plans detail how states are using and plan to use ARP ESSER funds to safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the needs of students, including by equitably expanding opportunities for students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The approval of these plans enables states to receive vital, additional American Rescue Plan funds to quickly and safely reopen schools for full-time, in-person learning; meet students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs; and address disparities in access to educational opportunity that were exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a department press release. “The state plans that have been submitted to the Department lay the groundwork for the ways in which an unprecedented infusion of federal resources will be used to address the urgent needs of America’s children and build back better.”

The diversity of the plans so far hints at what may be to come from the rest of the states around the country. Here are highlights of the state plans approved today, resulting in the release of about $6 billion in ARP ESSER funds:

  • Arkansas created the Arkansas Tutoring Corps that trains qualified tutors who provide instruction or intervention for students for at-risk learners or those impacted by lost instructional time.
  • Washington, D.C., is offering Out of School Time grants that will assist in providing summer programs for students to improve their academic performance.
  • Texas plans to offer high-dosage tutoring, instructional materials, and professional learning to address the impact of lost instructional time.
  • South Dakota plans to focus on strategies to help engage and reengage students who have missed out on instruction and educational opportunities over the last year.
  • Massachusetts will use part of the funds to support Acceleration Academies, which gives students the skills to learn and build skills in small, hands-on learning environments. This multi-year program will potentially impact more than 50,000 students statewide each year.
  • Utah will fund summer learning and afterschool programs through a competitive grant process for districts and community organizations to help support the academic and social, emotional, and mental health needs of students.
  • Rhode Island will be expanding summer learning options with its All-Course Network platform, which works to offer free instruction to students on everything from AP classes to animation courses.

The department dispersed $81 billion of the ARP ESSER funds to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The remaining portion of funding to states will be made available once plans are approved.