As students, families, educators, and school communities across the country work to respond to and recover from the convergent crises of the past year, evidence-based, holistic supports are more important than ever.
On February 10, 2021, the House Committee on Education and Labor passed a budget reconciliation bill that would enact key provisions of President Joe Biden’s “American Rescue Plan.” The proposed legislation authorizes significant investment in key priorities, and directs those resources towards programs and services that effectively support and empower all of our communities. Some of the provisions most relevant to the members of the America Forward Coalition, and the communities they serve, include:
- Billions of dollars in funding to support institutions of higher education (IHE’s), strengthen child care providers, expand national service programs, and ensure critical food assistance for families;
- Language requiring that a significant percentage of the $130 billion allocated for safe school reopening be used to support evidence-based, holistic strategies that meet the needs of the whole learner and address the academic, social, and emotional impact of the pandemic; and,
- $100 million for the Institute of Educational Sciences to carry out research related to addressing pandemic student learning loss.
Earlier this week, America Forward led a sign-on letter – joined by more than 30 organizations across the country – encouraging Congressional leaders to support the Committee’s legislation and retain these proposals in a final House bill. You can read the full letter here.
Also in the letter, we urge Congress to continue to provide significant federal resources and funding beyond the reconciliation package, in order to meet the ongoing needs of our students, families and school communities – during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond – including:
- Significant increases to major formula programs in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), including $12 billion for Title I; $1 billion for Title II; and $1 billion for Title III;
- An additional $12 billion for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA);
- Ongoing support for postsecondary education students and institutions of higher education;
- Additional investments in federal workforce programs for adult, youth and dislocated workers programs, adult education, and career and technical education; and
- Funding for national service and opportunity youth programs.
We expect the full House of Representatives to vote on the reconciliation bill in the coming days, and we’ll continue working closely with the members of the America Forward Coalition to advocate for the inclusion of critical priorities, both in this legislation and subsequent policy and funding debates.
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