US Department of Education approves Texas’ ARP plan, $4B heads to schools

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FILE – In this May 18, 2021 file photo, fifth graders wearing face masks are seated at proper social distancing during a music class at the Milton Elementary School in Rye, N.Y. As the nation closes out a school year marred by the pandemic, some states are now starting to release new standardized test scores that offer an early glimpse at just how far students have fallen behind — with some states reporting that the turbulent year has reversed years of progress across every academic subject. New York, Georgia and some other states pushed to cancel testing for a second year so schools could focus on classroom learning. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The U.S. Department of Education announced the approval of Texas’ plan to use the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER).

Texas received $8,279,059,186 in March when the Biden-Harris administration released two-thirds of each stated ARP ESSER funding, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Now that the state plans were approved, Texas is set to receive $4,148,464,08, totaling to $12,418,588,778.

“Texas plans to use ARP ESSER funds to address the academic impact of lost instructional time for Texas students, and plans to offer high-dosage tutoring, high-quality instructional materials, and job-embedded professional learning to help address the academic impact of lost instructional time.”

U.S. Department of Education via a press release.

The state’s plan prioritizes supporting student’s mental health needs and addressing the “lost instructional time as a result of the pandemic through summer, extended learning, and afterschool programs.”

Some of the highlights for Texas’ plan are:

Returning to In-Person Learning in 2021 Safely Reopening Schools and Sustaining Safe Operations:
Texas schools will be required to offer in-person instruction in the Fall. Local educational agencies (LEA) will be able to have screening testing funded by the American Rescue Plan. LEA will also have the option to offer COVID-19 vaccines to students and teachers as a vaccine provide.

Investing in Summer Learning and Addressing the Academic Impact of Lost Instructional
Time
:
Texas Education Agency plans to use ARP funds to invest in summer learning programs for
students and “will use design-thinking based processes to extend the school day and year.”

-Expanding Afterschool Programs:
TEA also plans to use the funds to offer “evidence-based comprehensive afterschool programs.” The programs will involve high-dosage tutoring and job-embedded professional learning

Texas was among the seven states that received approval from the Department; Arkansas, Washington D.C., South Dakota, Massachusetts, Utah, and Rhode Island were the other states that received approval.

In total 39 states and D.C. submitted their state plans; however, the Department requested more information before approving the plan, according to the press release.

The Department reached out to the states that have not submitted a plan, and “the vast majority of which are due to state board of education or legislative review requirements.”

Texas’ LEA use of funds will be due on July 27, 2021, according to the press release.

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