The Biden administration is calling on colleges and universities to use 15% of the money they receive over the next two years through the Federal Work-Study program to help address K-12 learning loss.
In a letter sent from the Department of Education, colleges are being encouraged to help schools with tutors, mentors, student success coaches and other roles that support students. The administration says it wants an additional 250,000 Americans to serve in these roles.
"As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our students' learning and mental health and has widened long-standing inequities and opportunity gaps for low-income students, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities," the letter from Education Secretary Miguel Cardona reads.
The administration says that it has received commitments from 26 colleges and universities so far. One of them is Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
"We know the profound impact of the pandemic on K-12 students in Baltimore. They have lost months and years of academic preparation that will have lingering effects on their economic opportunity in the years to come," Ron Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University, said in a statement. "Through the National Partnership for Student Success, our work-study students will be able to make a measurable and meaningful difference in the lives of future learners while also learning new skills and engaging with our neighbors and communities."
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Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress indicates that the pandemic put students anywhere from 15 to 24 weeks behind. Additionally, there is belief that it would take decades for the U.S. education system to catch up.
"Our colleges and universities have always been a driving force in solving America’s greatest challenges; and, today, we’re calling on these critical institutions to stand up once again by using Federal Work-Study and other dollars to help accelerate learning and recovery in our K-12 schools," said Cardona.
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