In the last two years, an unprecedented increase in funding has flooded into schools around the country courtesy of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) package. While ESSER’s primary intent was to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on schools and students, it may also be illuminating a much bigger truth.
What if the lesson we are supposed to learn from ESSER isn’t about the power of one-time relief or struggles to spend it, but instead about the necessity of an increased, recurring investment in our schools that educate those who have been historically underserved?
The first two rounds of federal ESSER funds are posing challenges for the 6,988 school leaders who must allocate the dollars, a recent report from the Association of School Business Officials finds. The reasons aren’t as simple as one might think. These challenges are directly connected to the chronic underfunding of our schools across the country — especially those in underserved communities — which is an issue with implications far beyond ESSER funding, according to a July 2022 report from the Economic Policy Institute. …Read More