Federal funding can help you install air purification systems in your school

Prior to the pandemic, many schools, colleges, and universities had indoor air quality challenges, but the past 18 months has brought a heightened awareness to a growing problem. Forty percent of the nation’s school systems need to replace at least half of their HVAC systems, according to a 2020 study by the Government Accountability Office.

Proper ventilation is a key prevention strategy for mitigating pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, as well as reducing dust, allergens, and VOCs to improve health and well-being.

Many school, district, and higher education leaders are working to improve indoor air quality for their facilities and the government has offered funding to supplement those costs.…Read More

3 reasons E-rate funding remains critical for school internet access

The federal E-rate program remains a vital and trusted funding source to bring “mission-critical” internet access to schools and libraries, according to an annual report tracking trends and developments related to the federal funding stream.

The 2021 E-rate Trends Report, from E-rate compliance services firm Funds For Learning, arrives as school systems work through COVID-related impacts, including the Homework Gap and on- and off-campus broadband needs.

Responses from a record-breaking 2,164 applicants indicate that E-rate remains essential, and network security is now an urgent concern.…Read More

Here’s why out-of-school time learning programs need federal funding

With the allocation of over $15 billion from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARPA/ESSER III) to Texas public education, including almost $3 billion for out-of-school time learning, we find it imperative that afterschool and summer programs in the Central Texas region receive the funding they need to continue providing and expanding learning recovery opportunities.

It is particularly important that this funding reaches the local schools and educational agencies that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those communities in which the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing inequality. Due to the pandemic, many students–especially those of color and those living in low-income communities–are struggling with learning loss, social isolation, hunger, and mental health challenges. Students need to feel safe and supported to re-engage in learning, rebuild relationships, and emerge from this crisis strong, resilient, and hopeful; and we need whole community engagement to make this happen.

We need a comprehensive ecosystem of support to help youth and families recover, and out-of-school time learning is a vital component of that ecosystem. As well as adapting to additional health and safety measures to continue offering in-person care during the COVID-19 pandemic, out-of-school time staff are already helping youth recover academic, social, and emotional learning, and community-based organizations continue to connect families to critical services and resources such as food, technology, and healthcare.…Read More

4 questions to ask about E-rate funding

Today’s K-12 schools are facing a complex web of needs, technologies, and regulations. Digital transformation has led to an expectation by students and faculty of constant connectivity to their school’s web assets. In response, schools have been incorporating programs that allow for more devices and a more web-focused curriculum. These services are critical, but they come at a great cost. Paying for internet access and securing the network do not come cheap.

The E-rate program was developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its subsidiary, the Universal Services Administrative Committee (USAC), to provide federal funding to K-12 schools and public libraries across the country. E-rate gives schools access to necessary technology they otherwise may not be able to afford. In fact, 87 percent of E-rate applicants report that this funding is vital to meeting their connectivity goals.

There are two categories of funding in the E-rate program. Category one funding provides data transmission and internet access. Category two funding supports the critical infrastructure required for security, speed, and compliance, offering schools $150 per student.…Read More

DeVos confirmation hearing elicits intense reactions

Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, emerged from her confirmation hearings with Republicans praising her commitment to school choice and with Democrats voicing concerns over what they see as a lack of experience to ensure equity for students of all backgrounds and abilities.

During the hearings, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) did not back down as he repeatedly asked DeVos to address yes-or-no questions about a variety of education issues, including the Individuals with Disabilities Act–a key federal law that allocates federal funding to schools to ensure the needs of students with disabilities are met.

Kaine and DeVos sparred over the matter of whether all schools–public, public charter or private–should be required to meet IDEA requirements if they receive federal funding.…Read More

New online-learning rule could have worst impact on small states

Online college programs could face high registration fees in many states.

Colleges with online programs might withdraw from states, mostly in the northeast, that have small populations and stringent requirements for distance education courses when the Education Department’s (ED’s) “state authorization” regulation kicks in July 1.

Decision makers from online schools from across the country gathered March 28 at in Washington, D.C. for the annual Presidents’ Forum, hosted by web-based Excelsior College.…Read More

House GOP stops major science, technology bill

Fifteen of 163 House Republicans voted for the America COMPETES Act May 19.
Only 15 of 163 House Republicans voted for the America COMPETES Act on May 19.

It was strike two for a major science funding bill on May 19 as House Republicans again united to derail legislation they said was too expensive.

Going down to defeat was an updated version of the America COMPETES Act, legislation that would have committed more than $40 billion over three years to boost funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other federal agencies involved in basic and applied science, provided loan guarantees to small businesses developing new technologies, and promoted science and math education at the K-12 and higher-ed levels.…Read More