In response to the latest proposal from Senate Republicans to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, NCLD joined with other civil rights and education organizations to oppose the bill. Together, we urged Congress to pass a Federal COVID-19 relief legislation that pays particular attention to the unique needs of students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, English learners, students with disabilities, and students experiencing homelessness, foster care, or engaged in the juvenile justice system.
On Monday, July 27th, U.S. Senate Republicans announced their proposal to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Importantly, this bill preserves critical civil rights protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and limits the Secretary of Education’s authority to grant waivers under IDEA. However, the emergency education funding provided through the bill falls significantly short of what schools will need. In addition, the proposal diverts much of the already limited funds from public schools to private schools, which do not have to abide by critical civil rights laws like IDEA. These desperately needed federal funds must remain in public schools.
Some of the provisions that would impact students with disabilities include:
- Approximately $5.2 billion for Governors’ Emergency Relief Funds, which can be used for any emergency grants for any part of education;
- Approximately $69.7 billion for the Elementary and Secondary Education Fund, allocated to states based on the formula for Title I of Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA).
- One third of the funding ($23.2 billion) will be available immediately to local educational agencies (LEAs),
- The remaining two thirds will only be awarded once LEAs meet certain criteria: either they are providing in-person education to at least half the students at least half of the school week, or after the governor approves their reopening plan and at least some students are getting in-person education, but if it is less half the students for half the school week then funding is reduced “on a pro rata basis as determined by the Governor”
- States must also set aside funding within this grant program for private schools based on the proportion of private school students they had before the pandemic hit.
- Approximately $29.1 billion for higher education institutions
- $5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)
- $10 billion for “Back to Work Child Care Grants” through the CCDBG for up to 9 months to pay for extra costs associated with the pandemic.
Tell Congress: Pass the RISE Act
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