OK Feds State Plan for Education Money | local news

OK Feds State Plan for Education Money |  local news

The state will use money to implement a tutoring initiative for early grades, invest in summer learning and expanded after-school programs and “support math acceleration and expand computer science credentials in high schools,” among other uses. The federal education department said Florida’s plan includes expenditures aimed at “addressing the academic impact of lost instructional time” when campuses were shuttered and students were forced to learn online early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida’s delay in submitting its plan was a point of friction between the state and federal education departments last year.

Cardona Get more from the Citrus County Chronicle

“I am excited to announce approval of Florida’s plan,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement Friday “It is heartening to see, reflected in these state plans, the ways in which states are thinking deeply about how to use American Rescue Plan funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities.” Under federal guidelines, the state Department of Education is given control over 10% of the money for Florida, with the remaining 90% going directly to school districts.

Florida nonetheless submitted its plan days after receiving Rosenblum’s letter, on Oct. 7. Corcoran wrote that the state’s plan to spend the money would advance four goals: closing achievement gaps, improving reading and math outcomes, bolstering outcomes in other content areas and enhancing student services and supports. Jared Ochs, a spokesman for the state education department, disputed in an Oct. 6 email that the state had missed the June 7 deadline. Ochs wrote that the state had notified its federal counterparts in May that the department “would not be able to submit the state plan in June and would require additional time.”

“FDOE’s (the Florida Department of Education’s) delay raises significant concerns because of the unnecessary uncertainty it is creating for school districts across the state and because it is hindering their ability to confidently plan for how to use these funds to address the needs of students,” Rosenblum wrote. Ian Rosenblum, a deputy assistant secretary for policy and programs at the federal agency, wrote a letter to state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Oct. 4 that said Florida was the lone state or U.S. territory with a plan still outstanding.

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