The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 passed by Congress recently includes significant aid for public education, with about $4 billion for New York’s K-12 public schools and $450 million for child care. In response, the public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education released the following statement:
“As the pandemic rages on, our public schools have struggled to create a safe environment and engage students in learning, whether in person or remote. That is because schools are not receiving nearly enough resources to take on the monumental challenges of COVID-19. Several thousands of students in New York, most of them in low income, high need schools, still do not have a device or internet to access remote learning resources and classrooms.
“Thanks to Senator Schumer, New York state will receive $4 billion for K-12 education from Congress to help provide the resources and tools students need to get through this crisis. With the new federal aid package, public schools will finally be able to ensure that every student engaged in remote learning has a laptop and is connected to high speed internet. Schools will also be able to provide cleaner air in classrooms, to update or repair their HVAC systems. It means schools will now have the funding to hire school nurses, guidance counselors, psychologists and social workers to address students’ health and social needs caused by the trauma from this pandemic.
“New York State is also slated to receive almost $450 million in new child care funding as part of the new relief package. The state has to act swiftly to get this funding out to providers and to families that need subsidized child care. This crucial funding will ensure essential workers have access to the childcare services they need, and childcare providers are able to keep the doors to their businesses open.
“In order for New York’s children and families to receive the relief they so badly need and for the stimulus money to have its intended impact, Governor Cuomo must prioritize our children by investing in childcare and education in the 2021 NYS budget. It is now up to Governor Cuomo to ensure that the federal relief package reaches public schools immediately to get a laptop in the hands of every student, internet in every home, nurses in every school and guidance counselors to support every child.”