$ 7 billion for faculties in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Educators, students and families face a number of new challenges in overcoming the learning loss that has been caused by largely distance learning over the past year as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available and schools prepare to be fully again for that open personal learning.

To aid in this process, Governor JB Pritzker announced the release of a new 180-page guide to renewing learning resources to help school officials identify and address the key challenges they face.

Pritzker said that Illinois school districts can expect around $ 7 billion federal funding to ease the transition to face-to-face learning, largely through the recently passed US rescue plan. About 90 percent of this money is provided in the form of direct payments.

In addition, higher education institutions in Illinois are receiving approximately $ 1.3 billion from the third round of federal aid, which was approved in December, for a total of $ 2.5 billion in all three rounds of federal funding, mostly from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Find.

“With these huge new resources comes the big challenge that most districts have never faced – how to avoid making the last 12 months a lost year for our students,” said Pritzker at a news conference at South Elgin High School in the western suburbs of Chicago, the second largest school district in the state. “To revitalize learning for teachers, students and educators, our response must be intense, holistic and practical.”

The Resource Guide is the work of the Illinois P-20 Council, an agency founded in 2009 that provides studies and recommendations for all levels of education from preschool to post-college education. The guide was developed in partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Community College Board, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, and the Governor’s Office for Early Childhood Development with support from A Better Chicago and Advance Illinois.

Just as the pandemic exacerbated inequalities that already existed in the country’s health system, state superintendent of education Carmen Ayala said it also disproportionately impacted low-income students, who often have limited or no access to home computers or broadband. Have internet services. as well as students of color.

But she also said that when schools reopen after the pandemic, they will have new resources to address underlying inequalities.

“With the inflow of federal funding and the Guide to Renewal of Learning Resources, we now have a unique opportunity to transform student learning systems and reshape our new normal so our students can return to a more equitable educational system. more individual and more responsive to their needs, ”she said.

Melissa Figueira, senior policy associate at Advance Illinois, said this had also dramatically impacted enrollment at all levels of education – an estimated 1.9 percent decrease in preschool education in 12 schools, with the largest decrease in kindergarten through third grade too there was a 5 percent decrease in post-secondary enrollment.

The resource guide includes 12 topics that districts and higher education institutions may want to consider to adequately address the short-term and long-term effects of the pandemic.

These include ways to support enrollment and retention, redesign the school calendar by expanding the school days and year, ways to provide learning experiences outside of the classroom through tutoring, before and after school programs and summer camps, and improving both classroom availability and behavioral counseling.

In addition to the resource guide, the governor’s office issued a statement saying that state education agencies will focus on four main goals to support schools: high impact tutoring; Partnerships between social and emotional learning communities; Interim evaluations to measure the impact of the pandemic on student learning; and promote enrollment in both early childhood programs and higher education.

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