K-12 Education & COVID-19: When Flexible is Just as Important as Federal Funding
Published: April 15, 2020
Why being flexible in times of coronavirus is so important and arguably more important than federal funding.
The United States Department of Education has been rolling out various changes and flexibilities in regards to funding, spending, online learning, and practically anything to help K-12 and Higher Education institutions with combatting COVID-19. With more than $30 billion allotted for education related needs across the country the U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been addressing areas that the Federal Government just cannot throw money at such as IDEA requirements, special education, and professional development.
Today the Secretary DeVos proposed a new funding priority that targets teachers and how they are receiving professional development. Professional development is an area of spending that has seen both increases and decreases in procurement activity through bid opportunities over the last two years. Education institutions, especially within K-12, are finally responding to outcries of teachers that they need more training.
DeVos has been responding to an unprecedented time with attempting to get schools to think outside the box and today's proposal continues that trend. DeVos is calling states to revisit their professional development efforts in order for "teachers to be empowered, through stipends or vouchers, to select and access professional development courses and opportunities that are relevant to their personal needs or career goals instead of having one-size-fits all programming dictated to them by the state or local education agency."
With other flexibilities used in this difficult time, the education world is being encouraged, and possibly forced, to get out of its comfort zone and typically ways. Most school districts across the US have procrastinated on the "digital gap" of broadband access and cannot use Chromebooks and iPads to put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound; schools need to act and, if nothing else, use the viral pandemic as a catalyst to grow stronger.
For the full press release from the U.S. Department of Education, please go here.