Warren, Murphy, Booker, Wyden, Markey Urge Senate Leadership to Include Long-term Investments for K-12 Schools in Next Funding Package
Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D- N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urging them to include additional long-term funding for elementary and secondary schools in the next funding package to help accelerate students' academic progress, address students' social-emotional needs, and target the significant inequities in public education, which have been worsened by the pandemic.
"It is critical that Congress provides sufficient, long-term funding to address the existing and worsened inequities facing our students," wrote the Senators. "Providing funding for evidence-based interventions, including high-quality tutoring, summer and out-of-school-time programming, and social-emotional supports, would have a significant effect on students' long-term success and meaningfully address the challenges the pandemic has created for students and their families."
The nearly $122 billion in relief under the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund has been crucial in helping states and school districts safely reopen and sustain safe operations. However, this aid must be obligated by 2023, and the consequences of the pandemic for children's academic and social development are likely to be long-term.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, elementary and secondary public schools lacked sufficient funding and resources to provide all students with a high-quality public education. This challenge has been exacerbated by the pandemic and is likely to dramatically worsen achievement gaps for students of color and students in low-income communities. Among other challenges, students are experiencing significant instructional loss and increased mental health needs.
Recently introduced legislation, such as Senator Booker's Partnering Aspiring Teachers with High-Need Schools (PATHS) to Tutor Act and Senator Warren's Educational Equity Challenge Grants Act, provide a model for addressing students' academic and social-emotional needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Summer camps and enrichment programs have also been shown to have positive academic and social-emotional effects, which will be even more crucial in addressing the trauma of COVID-19. Evidence-based interventions, including high quality tutoring, summer and out-of-school-time programming, and social-emotional supports, would have a significant effect on students' long term success and meaningfully address the challenges the pandemic has created for students and their families.
This letter is part of Senator Warren's ongoing efforts to help address the existing and worsened inequities facing our students. In March 2021, Senators Warren, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced the Educational Equity Challenge Grant Act to create a $100 billion application-based grant program over the next ten years to help accelerate academic progress and address students' social, emotional, mental, behavioral, and physical health needs related to COVID-19.
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