Prichard Committee to Kentucky’s education leaders: Use CARES funds to ensure excellence with equity and innovation in education | Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

Prichard Committee to Kentucky’s education leaders: Use CARES funds to ensure excellence with equity and innovation in education

Prichard Committee to state education leaders: Equitable use of CARES funds required to ensure all students’ needs are met

Live discussion on student equity scheduled for April 27

LEXINGTON, KY (April 22, 2020) – Citing the need to provide equitable education opportunities for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds, abilities and races, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence called on Gov. Andy Beshear and state education leaders today to distribute federal emergency funds to education institutions across Kentucky in an innovative, equitable manner. 

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, Kentucky was allocated a total of $400.5 million to assist the state department of education, school districts, childcare centers and colleges and universities during the COVID-19 outbreak. The allocations include:

  • $193.2 million from the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund;
  • $43.8 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund;
  • $156.8 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund; and
  • $67.7 million from the Child Care Development Block Grant. 

In an open letter to Gov. Beshear, the Kentucky Department of Education, the Kentucky Board of Education, and the Council on Postsecondary Education posted on the Prichard Committee’s website Wednesday, President & CEO Brigitte Blom Ramsey underscored the increased need for mental health services, supports and resources for homeless students and those from low-income homes, direct support for special education and English language coordinators, and childcare support for frontline workers from all backgrounds.

“While the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the lives of families from all demographics and socioeconomic backgrounds, we are writing today in the interest of our most vulnerable students – those who are economically disadvantaged (especially those struggling with food or housing insecurity), have disabilities, or are English learners, “ said Blom Ramsey. “In Kentucky’s K-12 system alone, 60.7% of its 646,766 students are identified as economically disadvantaged. Research shows that missed learning time can be highly damaging to students who are already underserved.”

In the open letter Ramsey said schools and universities must start planning now for the challenges when in-person classes resume, including how to leverage the summer months and how to structure the 2021 school year. 

“Determining the extent of learning loss will be critical to triaging student need upon return to school,” said Ramsey. “Plans should address how districts will assess learning loss, support students who are struggling academically and students in transition years (e.g., high school seniors or eighth graders), and provide mental health and counseling support that many will need.”

On Monday, April 27 at 4 p.m., the Prichard Committee will facilitate a Facebook Live discussion titled “Equitable Education Funding and the CARES Act.” Invited panelists are Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Brown, CPE President Aaron Thompson, and Education Trust President & CEO John King (former U.S. Secretary of Education under President Obama). The discussion will be livestreamed at facebook.com/prichardcommittee.

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