Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that she is dedicating $65 million in Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars to Michigan K-12 school districts and higher education institutions to fund, among other matters, the technology needed to engage in remote or hybrid learning.
The funding will specifically target schools in economically disadvantaged districts. Gov. Whitmer’s office said the funding will help address the digital divide, which “has served as a barrier to remote learning for students and educators across the state.”
When distributing the funding, the state’s framework looks at the number of students in high-need student groups in a district. Additionally, districts will receive funding based on their numbers of economically disadvantaged students, special education students, and English language learners. Whitmer’s office noted that to be eligible for funding, the school district’s concentration of economically disadvantaged pupils, compared to total district enrollment, must exceed 50 percent.
With the funding, education IT professionals will be able to purchase new technology and solutions to meet the needs of students and teachers during the upcoming school year.
The state has said that funding can be used to address several goals, including:
- Connectivity: Devices, internet access, access to remote services, or other similar purposes.
- Student Mental Health: Funding would enhance access to remote and in-person student mental health services.
- Addressing Learning Loss: Funding could be used by districts to offer supplementary content and intervention services to mitigate the impacts of learning loss.
- Out-of-School-Time Learning: Funds could be used to support out-of-school-time learning. These expenditures would ensure students have safe spaces to participate in remote education.
- Remote Learning Materials and Training (digital and non-digital): Funds could address both digital and non-digital content where remote learning continues as an instructional delivery model.
- Teacher Training and Curriculum: Funding could be used to provide additional professional development and curriculum modifications that allow districts to effectively facilitate distance learning while expanding their knowledge of the science of teaching.