ERN Statement on USDOE State Plan Template for ESSERF

Press Releases

April 21, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 21, 2021) — Education Reform Now (ERN) Vice President of K-12 Education Policy Charles Barone released the following statement today in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDOE) newly released State Plan Template for the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

“We applaud USDOE for issuing a proposed application template that will help states allocate emergency relief funding to best support student needs. The template would require states to outline how their plans will help get students back to school full-time, accelerate learning, and provide additional, evidence-based supports like high-impact tutoring and summer school in response to COVID-related disruptions in instruction.

With $122 billion allocated to K-12 education via the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund—the largest one-time federal investment in public education—it is critical to have safeguards in place to assure transparency, responsibility, and accountability on the part of states and local school districts.

The template is particularly notable for its emphasis on ensuring that state and local plans demonstrably serve students from historically disadvantaged groups including BIPOC students, those from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, children in foster care, and those experiencing homelessness.

We also commend USDOE for requiring that states solicit input from and engage community stakeholders, including from parents, civil rights leaders, and representatives of both traditional and public charter schools.

History shows that the targeting of resources can transform public education, but only when those resources are paired with evidence-based strategies and reforms that promote social, emotional, and academic learning.

The proposal issued today demonstrates that President Biden and Secretary of Education Cardona understand these lessons and are committed to doing what’s best for students and their families, particularly those most impacted by the pandemic.”