While the deadlines for spending federal American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds are fast approaching, the Biden administration recently announced several initiatives to improve instruction and accelerate academic success nationwide–some with funding attached. Under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Education’s “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” initiative to transform education, the new programs are designed to:
- Help schools close the literacy gap. For decades, schools have worked hard to ensure that all students become proficient readers. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and reading scores dropped, likely as a result of school closures. For the 2022-2023 school year, the average National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores for 13-year-olds declined 4 points in reading over the previous assessment administered during the 2019–2020 school year. The administration is now delivering about $50 million in additional funds to advance literacy practices with the goal of having all students reading at grade level by third grade. These funds, through the Comprehensive Literacy State Development and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy programs, can be used to develop and implement evidence-based literacy interventions and supports. You and your education customers can find more information here.
- Elevate student math outcomes. While many students were struggling in math before the pandemic, the gaps in math performance have widened. Compared with NAEP assessments from a decade ago, 2022-2023 average scores declined 14 points in math. The U.S. Department of Education recently convened researchers and practitioners to share effective evidence-based strategies for math instruction and STEAM pathways at the 2023 Institute of Education Sciences (IES) 2023 IES Math Summit. Watch for outcomes from the meeting and possible funding opportunities.
- Help schools identify students who need additional support. The education department is investing more than $21 million to develop a technical assistance center that will provide schools with resources to help them review student data and identify supports for students with academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs—referred to as multi-tiered system of support (MTSS).
- Address chronic absenteeism. Student attendance rates are lower than pre-pandemic numbers. The education department is developing resources to offer states guidance on practices for responding to chronic absenteeism and deploying its Student Engagement and Attendance Center (SEAC) to disseminate evidence-based strategies and actionable tools for engaging students and their families. SEAC will deliver technical assistance on evidence-based practices that states, districts, and schools have used to drive increases in attendance.
- Expand schools’ ability to deliver high-quality support for students. The Department of Education, AmeriCorps, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) launched the National Partnership for Student Success to meet President Biden’s goal of bringing 250,000 new tutors and mentors into schools by 2025. Researchers from JHU released new findings showing that in the last school year an estimated 187,000 adults stepped forward to provide additional support to students in schools—nearly 75% of the goal. Want to get involved? Check out NPSS here.
These new and continuing U.S. Department of Education initiatives to improve academic success may offer opportunities for you and your education customers to get involved and amplify their messages. Want to discuss ways to weave that into your marketing strategies? MDR is always here to help.