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Allocation of CARES Act Education Funds Prompts National and State Education and Civil Rights Groups to Take Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 5, 2020) – Yesterday, the Collaborative for Student Success, along with nine organizations representing the education and civil rights communities, sent a joint letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Last month, the Department of Education allocated billions of dollars in emergency funding appropriated for state and local education agencies as provided under the CARES Act. While we are appreciative that funding is being swiftly distributed, we believe that to meet the needs of our most vulnerable students both during and following the pandemic, we must prioritize transparency in how these funds are spent.

We applaud the Department’s readiness to track how funds are being used with the Certification and Agreement that agencies must complete to receive CARES Act funding, including the requirement that they submit a proposed budget.

However, in order to guarantee equitable distribution, more data will be needed once states, districts, and schools start spending these funds. The Certification and Agreement form states that “the Secretary may require additional reporting in the future…” We think it is critical that this authority is used to ensure funds are spent with fidelity and that the needs of our most vulnerable students are met.

To encourage transparency and equity, the Collaborative for Student Success, in coordination with nine education and civil rights organizations, sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos outlining several potential items that the Department could require state and district agencies to report.

Additionally, we ask that the Department of Education make these reports publicly available to help highlight efforts to promote equity and innovation while allowing outside organizations to more effectively assist districts and schools in serving all students.

It is our hope that the Department will consider this request to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used in an effective way that helps all students attain a quality education during and after this global emergency.

To read the full letter and list of potential transparency requirements for states and districts that were sent to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, click here.

P.S. We would appreciate your help in distributing our letter to the Education Secretary. To share, click on the text below:

We stand united with 9 partner organizations in urging the @usedgov & @BetsyDeVosED to include reporting requirements to increase transparency & equity as states and districts begin to spend #CARESAct funds. Read our letter to the Department here:

About the Collaborative for Student Success

At our core, we believe leaders at all levels have a role to play in ensuring success for K-12 students. From ensuring schools and teachers are equipped with the best materials to spotlighting the innovative and bold ways federal recovery dollars are being used to drive needed changes, the Collaborative for Student Success aims to inform and amplify policies making a difference for students and families.

To recover from the most disruptive event in the history of American public schools, states and districts are leveraging unprecedented resources to make sure classrooms are safe for learning, providing students and teachers with the high-quality instructional materials they deserve, and are rethinking how best to measure learning so supports are targeted where they’re needed most. 

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