Shawn Joseph Explores the American Rescue Act’s Provisions for Education and Provides a Road Map Forward | The Global Dispatch

In 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Act . This $1.9 trillion legislative act provides much-needed funding for federal, state, and local governments still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the essential parts of the American Rescue Act is its focus on school funding. The Act includes $165 billion in education funding, with $122.8 billion for K-12 public schools. Schools and students have experienced significant adverse effects due to the pandemic’s impact. This funding is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine how we educate and support students. Now, is the time to pay the moral debt owed to generations of historically marginalized students and make key investments that will move this nation forward.

Now is the time to focus on equity between school systems with different levels of resources and close opportunity gaps.

Shawn Joseph , an experienced educator, and administrator shares four special focus areas that states and local school districts should consider when allocating this funding.

1. Building the Capacity of Teachers and Principals

Principals are another key element to student success. While a principal is not involved in daily hands-on work with students, they are instrumental to the school’s safety, health, and learning environment.

The Wallace Foundation published a detailing the importance of principals in determining student achievement. The study found that replacing a below-average principal with an above-average principal resulted in almost three more months of learning per year for students. Principals have broad influence over the schools they lead, and their support of classroom teachers and contribution to a positive working environment make teachers more effective.

2. High-Quality Tutoring in Reading and Mathematics

Evidence-based methods for this type of tutoring support having the same tutor work with a student for an extended period of time, such as an entire school year. In the most effective model, an individual tutor works with only one or two students at a time. They use a skill-building curriculum that aligns with the reading or math curriculum used in the school system. Tutoring should also be targeted toward a student’s individual needs.

Overall, the tutoring must be based on state and local standards. It must be rigorous and consistent. School systems that put these tutoring systems into place using their American Rescue Act funding will see great strides in their students’ achievement.

3. Eliminating the Digital Divide

School systems should use their federal relief aid to ensure that their students can access online education and participate fully in shifting to an online model for homework and school progress.

4. Investment in Socio-Emotional Learning

The coronavirus effectively shut down arts and athletics for many students in public schools. These activities are important outlets for students and support a well-rounded academic career. It is hoped that schools will use their American Rescue Act funding to help support these curriculum areas.

Dealing with an Educational Windfall

Special care must be taken to ensure that historically marginalized Black and Brown children are supported. Unless these students receive equitable support, their communities will continue to suffer from the effects of COVID-19 education loss due to school closures and the damaging effects of the digital divide.

As an educational leader, Shawn Joseph believes strongly that the needs of underserved communities should be given priority when allocating American Rescue Act funds to the schools. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “It did not cost the nation much to integrate. It did not cost the nation anything to give citizens the right to vote. However, we cannot get rid of poverty unless it costs the nation something, which has been America’s greatest problem. It’s an unwillingness to invest in the people who need it most.”

Wisely investing the funds provided by President Biden and Congress should be the top priority for educational systems across the United States. Addressing historical issues of inequity can help underprivileged communities recover from the coronavirus pandemic and support America’s students’ future growth and success.

Author: Jamie Cartwright

Originally published at http://www.theglobaldispatch.com on March 29, 2021.

Dr. Shawn Joseph’s passion for equity and social justice has led him to serve in a number of positions in the world of education.

Dr. Shawn Joseph’s passion for equity and social justice has led him to serve in a number of positions in the world of education.