Biden will tout one-year anniversary of Covid-19 education funding in Philadelphia

Biden will highlight how that $1.9 trillion package’s education funding delivers “critical resources to keep schools safe and open, combat learning loss and address student mental health,” the official said. The President is expected to speak with teachers about the school’s use of the Covid-19 funds, visit a classroom and hold an extended conversation with students at the majority-Hispanic school.

The President’s visit, first shared with CNN, will come after he delivers keynote remarks at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference.

Signed last year on March 11, the emergency assistance package secured about $128 billion for K-12 schools to help them facilitate remote learning or reopen and operate safely while combating learning losses. Money was also targeted to help students with disabilities and youth experiencing homelessness.

“Especially among our children, whose lives and education have been turned upside down,” he said in those remarks. “The American Rescue Plan gave schools money to hire teachers and help students make up for lost learning. I urge every parent to make sure your school does just that.”

The elementary school Biden is expected to visit Friday has used funding for a number of the measures he outlined, the official said.

Already, the school has set up after-school reading intervention groups for students in first through third grades for those who are struggling to transition back to the classroom or are Spanish speakers, the official said. With the American Rescue Plan funds, the school has hired more academic coaches for teachers and funded after-school “enrichment programs” to improve classroom culture.

“The school has already seen a lot of success with this programming,” the official added.

Biden is expected to celebrate that school’s success, as well as schools nationwide.

According to a fact sheet, the White House credits the American Rescue Plan with increasing school operations from 46% open before the measure to 99% of schools currently open. The White House also credits the emergency package with leading to record growth in local education jobs that it says “are critical to meeting students’ academic and mental health needs,” among other benefits.

“Although there is more work to do to address longstanding educator shortages and return to pre-pandemic levels, ARP has led to record jobs growth in the education sector,” the fact sheet states. “Local governments added more than 279,000 education jobs in 2021 — the best calendar year of jobs growth since records began in 1956 — and added an additional nearly 46,000 jobs in the first two months of 2022.”

Earlier this year, the Biden administration sought to keep schools open as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus swept the US.
The administration announced in January that it would distribute 5 million free rapid tests and 5 million free PCR tests to schools each month in an effort to keep classrooms open. In October, it had released a seven-point plan to address rising mental health concerns among students across the country.

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