The devastating impact of COVID-19 continues to linger for many of our nation’s students, resulting in a recent push by the White House calling on schools to focus on evidence-based strategies for educational recovery. School districts are being urged to spend federal pandemic aid before the deadline to spend those funds – or seek an extension for some of the funding.

The end of the federal aid will leave many districts in a precarious place. But that loss of funding will be felt most acutely in Michigan’s higher-poverty districts, many of which have been depending on the funding to support critical needs, as we noted in a recent commentary.

The nearing deadline to spend pandemic aid has White House officials urging schools to focus efforts on high-dosage tutoring, extra learning time such as summer learning and extended or afterschool learning time, and ways to increase attendance, according to a recent Chalkbeat Detroit article by Kalyn Belsha and Erica Meltzer.

These are “three evidence-based strategies that improve student learning,” federal officials noted in a fact sheet on the administration’s new Student Achievement Agenda for 2024, which was announced this month.

According to the Chalkbeat article, “Federal officials say states can now seek permission for schools to spend the last and largest pot of COVID relief money on these kinds of efforts over the next two school years.” Schools previously had to spend down these funds by January 2025, the article noted. The White House effort comes as student test scores continue to be behind pre-pandemic levels in many states, including in Michigan.

The article highlights examples of several states and districts the Biden administration notes that have invested in tutoring, including Maryland, “which launched a tutoring corps to focus on middle and high school math this past fall,” and Washington, D.C, “which is tutoring students in math and English language arts.”

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