Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Education

Governors Urge Betsy DeVos: Give Us Coronavirus Aid and Guidance Quickly

By Andrew Ujifusa — April 04, 2020 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The National Governors Association wants U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to release emergency education aid within the next two weeks in order to help state executives address critical needs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter two governors sent to DeVos Friday on behalf of the NGA’s education and workforce committee also asks her to give them, their peers, and education leaders maximum flexibility in how they spend the money; a fast process for approving waivers from federal accountability mandates; and more information about the funding provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act signed into law by President Donald Trump last month.

The letter underscores a crucial issue with respect to the CARES Act and its billions in aid for K-12 schools: speed. Even as states scramble to help students connect with educators so that some form of learning can continue, the relief money could take weeks to reach states and then educators and students in need, according to the timeline laid out in the law. DeVos has 30 days after the CARES Act was signed to officially invite states to apply for the aid, and must approve or deny those applications within 30 days of receiving them.

School districts will get at least 90 percent of a $13.5 billion pot earmarked to help them address critical needs in the face of the coronavirus. And a separate fund of nearly $3 billion can be directed by governors to both K-12 and higher education.

“States need time to establish both structures to evaluate student needs and processes to rapidly deploy these funds. That work cannot begin until the Department provides guidance about how and when it will send funding to the states,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, told DeVos. “We urge the Department to act quickly to distribute these funds.”


See: Education Week’s Map of Coronavirus and School Closures


In an interview with Education Week blogger Rick Hess, DeVos said the Education Department is “focused on implementing the CARES Act,” but did not provide a timeline for when and how exactly states could access CARES Act money. She also said the Trump administration has taken prompt action to help educators and students, and that the president has been “very supportive of our decisions to provide as much flexibility as possible to ensure learning continues for students of all ages.”

Education advocates and some lawmakers are already looking ahead to another round of coronavirus relief that many of them say should focus on access to the internet and connected devices. But Congress won’t be back for over two weeks, and more federal aid money for schools (assuming it’s included in a new aid bill) could take several weeks longer than that to be enacted.

The CARES Act makes it clear that school districts can use the money for a wide variety of purposes, from helping students learn remotely to mental health services. Schools that tap the aid money are supposed to make every effort to continue paying teachers and other staff amid the upheaval, as states and local communities brace for a major economic downturn.

For more on the education and other emergency funds in the CARES Act, see the chart below:

Photo: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testifies at a House appropriations subcommittee budget hearing in February. --Graeme Sloan/Education Week


Follow us on Twitter @PoliticsK12. And follow the Politics K-12 reporters @EvieBlad @Daarel and @AndrewUjifusa.

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP
Education Massachusetts National Guard to Help With Busing Students to School
250 guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans, as districts nationwide struggle to hire enough drivers.
1 min read
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass. Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, activated the state's National Guard to help with busing students to school as districts across the country struggle to hire enough drivers.
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass.
Michael Dwyer/AP
Education FDA: ‘Very, Very Hopeful’ COVID Shots Will Be Ready for Younger Kids This Year
Dr. Peter Marks said he is hopeful that COVID-19 vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds will be underway by year’s end. Maybe sooner.
4 min read
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021. On Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, Marks urged parents to be patient, saying the agency will rapidly evaluate vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds as soon as it gets the needed data.
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021.
Jim Lo Scalzo/AP