When Congress approved the American Rescue Plan earlier this year – earmarking an incredible $190 billion for education – state education agencies were tasked with identifying the leading issues facing their schools and students and submitting plans on how they would address those issues with their share of the federal aid money. FutureEd recently analyzed the 42 plans submitted and found states are pursuing a variety of goals but with several common issues emerging.
Expanding learning opportunities and addressing students’ social and emotional needs were the most common areas of urgency, and a majority of states presented their plans for taking these on. Other findings include:
- FutureEd found many states are doing more to increase instructional time, and 24 states are funding various forms of tutoring through increased tutoring capacity, summer programs, and youth development programs.
- 31 states have dedicated funding to address students’ social and emotional needs through increasing the number of school counselors and mental health professionals in schools, investing in culturally relevant school discipline practices, and strengthening school climate.
- Across the board, states are also heavily investing in strengthening their teacher workforce and improving their data systems and analysis capacity.
Here at America Succeeds, our Equity in Education platform pursues five systemic changes: growing equity in STEM, recruiting and retaining teachers of color, achieving funding equity, strengthening equity through social-emotional learning, and expanding equity in course options. Together, these help ensure every student has equitable access to quality education and businesses have diverse talent and leadership pipelines for generations to come.
We intentionally picked these five pillars of equity because change within those areas will have both present and future implications. Expanding the opportunities available today for all students, ensures that in the future, companies are built with a deeper, more capable workforce. And, there is even greater urgency to pursue these systemic changes now as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and collectively reimagine the future of our communities.
The corporate sector has demonstrated its commitment to making progress on diversity and equity within its workforce time and time again, but the gaps are still overwhelmingly present. As we at America Succeeds work to engage our partners in educational systems change, businesses can further accelerate this work by getting involved to ensure their diverse talent pipeline goals become a reality. States will soon begin implementing the plans being supported by the COVID-relief money, and companies have a unique opportunity to support these education efforts to bring positive change to our classrooms and workplaces like no other time in history. Join us.
For more information, check out our website at AmericaSucceeds.org.