Educators and ESSER: How Pandemic Spending Is Reshaping the Teaching Profession

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While teacher shortages dominated education news coverageThumbnail of the cover for the Educators and ESSER report, linking to the full report. during the summer, the tremendous amount of federal pandemic-relief money that states and school districts are pouring into the profession—and the funding’s substantial consequences for longstanding policies and practices in the more-than-three-million-member occupation—has received far less attention. Local education agencies are on pace to spend as much as $20 billion on instructional staff under the 2021 federal American Rescue Plan, making teachers the single largest investment under the plan nationwide.

To understand state and local policymakers’ strategies for bolstering teaching resources in the wake of the pandemic, FutureEd analyzed the Covid-relief spending plans of 5,000 school districts and charter organizations representing 74 percent of the nation’s public-school students. And we examined additional documents and conducted a range of interviews to gauge how the nation’s 100 largest school districts plan to reinforce their teaching ranks with the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) aid.

The result is a comprehensive picture of state and local spending of recovery resources on the nation’s teaching force. And it’s clear that momentum is building behind several spending strategies with important policy implications, including an emerging commitment to extra pay for longer hours, and bonuses that break with traditional pay schedules to combat widespread teacher shortages.

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How the 100 Largest School Districts are Using Covid-Relief Money for Teachers

An infographic showing trends in spending on teachers

In Demand: The Real Teacher Shortages and How to Solve Them

Post-pandemic teacher supply and demand trends and strategic solutions to shortages

A collage of graphics showing trends if spending federal Covid-relief aid.

6 Ways to Breakdown How Districts are Spending Federal Covid Aid

FutureEd’s analysis of Covid-relief spending plans from more than 5,000 school districts and charter schools educating 75 percent of the nation’s students