U.S. Department of Education Continues to Provide Flexibility to States
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced new flexibilities to use federal education dollars for technology infrastructure and educator training on distance learning.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, provides the ED new authority to waive specific parts of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to ease the burden on the public education system as America’s schoolchildren learn from afar. These flexibilities are temporary and related specifically to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The waivers would enable states and districts to have more flexibility over how they use Title IV Part A funds, which are dedicated to student support and academic enrichment, for technology infrastructure, and professional development to quickly train educators on virtual learning. Additional flexibilities would enable states to move resources to the areas of highest need. Waiver requests will be fast-tracked with a 1-day approval timeframe.
How this impacts CEC members: Because the waivers are intended to make it easier for students to access technology and for educators to effectively use that technology for instruction and other student supports, your school district and/or school could directly benefit. Your Governor in consultation with the state’s education chief will determine whether to apply for the waiver and ideally would then communicate such flexibility to district decisionmakers/leadership.
To view ED’s announcement of new flexibilities, go here.