How States Are Using Federal Funds for Learning Recovery

In March, the U.S. Department of Education released two-thirds of states’ American Rescue Plan (ARP) allocations for elementary and secondary schools and noted that the last third will arrive only after the department approved the state’s plans detailing how they are using their federal relief money to safely reopen schools, sustain operation, and support students and educators.

FutureEd has distilled the 51 plans submitted by state education agencies so far on how they’re spending their federal dollars into a single spreadsheet to show what they’re prioritizing for learning recovery. With all state plans submitted, we’ll be providing updates on approval.

While plans were due June 7, several states requested extensions, and the final plan, Florida, arrived Oct. 6. State agencies also have discretion over only 10 percent of the total allocated funding with the remaining 90 percent going to schools districts or charter schools, i.e. local education agencies.

Our spreadsheet reflects answers to questions states were required to answer, starting with their most effective strategies from the past year and top priorities going forward. Because states are required to spend 1 percent of money on summer programming and 1 percent on afterschool initiatives, states had to detail their evidence-based plans. They were also required to provide plans to address missing or unengaged students and support the educator workforce.

State plans often gave insight into other initiatives like accessing high-quality curriculum, creating a welcoming and engaging school climate, implementing high-dosage tutoring, and improving data capacity by implementing early warning systems and other strategies.

The plans vary, with some providing detailed dollar figures for each initiative and other offering minimal information. We included dollar figures when provided, which represent use of ARP ESSER money unless otherwise specified. Some states are allocating most of their money to their localities, so their plans incorporate guidance rather than detailed plans.

View our state plans spreadsheet (including tabs for the spreadsheet and a glossary of terms)

View the U.S. Education Department status update

Read our analysis of the state plans

Read our analysis of Congressional Covid relief spending

Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.