K-12 Education Advocates urge accountability and “transparency” with Federal Aid

Pastores, padres, y líderes

Thank you for staying up to date and engaged with how the COVID-19 has impacted the nation’s educational systems and conventional ways of learning. 

As you may already know, with the passing of the CARES Act means that of $31 billion allocated to emergency funding for K-12 and higher education, $13.5 billion will specifically go toward public education. And as we laid out last week, it is important for federal aid to (1) serve historically disadvantaged students, (2) make online instruction available when possible and to as many students as possible, and (3) extend learning opportunities when school resumes. 

Now that funding has been awarded we welcome the often long and cumbersome task of ensuring that state and educational leaders distribute funds faithfully and that stakeholders are aware of their intended and actual use. The work of accountability of the $13.5 billion began this week when the Collaborative for Student Success, in coordination with 11 education and civil rights organizations such as Education Trust, Learning Heroes, and National Center for Learning Disabilities, to name a few, sent a letter to Betsy DeVos, Secretary of the Department of Education (ED). In the letter the advocacy groups urged ED “to require basic reporting of the intended and actual use of the funds by state education agencies.”

The twelve organizations asked ED to provide an “online system” that will collect and disseminate information to the public on how states, districts, and schools use CARES Act funds. The groups hope that the system will demonstrate if and how the funds have directly impacted the education of disadvantaged students. They write, 

We ask that [ED] undertake [an] . . . initiative with the supplemental funds under the CARES Act to collect and make public information on how these stimulus funds are being spent and their impact on the education of students. This public, online repository will help highlight efforts to promote equity and innovation, allowing outside organizations to more effectively assist states, districts, and schools with their COVID-19 response efforts.

Pastores y padres, please consider adding your voice in advocating for sincere and meaningful accountability and transparency of how education leaders use your tax money during the COVID-19 season. 

Thank you faith leaders, for all you do in the ministry of advancing Hispanic student achievement.

Forward and higher in Christ,

Rev. Girien R. Salazar
Executive Director, FE Coalition