American Rescue Plan to help schools

Classroom Progress Report

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State United Teachers union, known as NYSUT, is looking forward to schools receiving additional federal money thanks to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that was recently signed by Pres. Joe Biden.

“We have seen so many struggles throughout this year and bringing us $9 billion for k-12 and billions of dollars for higher ed that is a real rescue package,” explained Andy Pallotta, the President of NYSUT.

According to Pallotta, roughly $2.5 billion will be going towards higher education in New York. He said this federal funding will help schools that have been financially strained by the pandemic. Specifically, how will they spend the money?

Pallotta has some ideas. “I’m hoping that one of the things this federal money will be spent on is making sure that all of the programs that are in place continue, that there will be no cuts to education. And also, one other thing we have been ringing the bell on is, how about COVID testing?”

Pallotta said that as of now, only 57 out of 700 districts are actually doing COVID testing. With the federal government saying that standardized testing is still happening this spring, NYSUT would like to see more testing for the virus being done as well.

The Board of Regents on Monday acted on a series of emergency regulations to allow for exemptions to diploma requirements for the June and August Regents Exams this year. This includes actions to cancel the August Regents Exams and, should the U.S. Department of Education deny the Department’s waiver request, only four of the June 2021 Regents Exams will be administered.

“I’m hopeful that the Department of Education—the federal Department of Education—will grant New York State the waiver and we won’t have to have any Regents Exams. But in the event they don’t, essentially they have covered all the areas. It would an English Regents, Living Environment, Earth Science, and Algebra,” explained Bruce Potter, the Superintendent of Mechanicville City School District.

Superintendent Potter said school districts can provide their own student learning assessments. Like him, NYSUT is also applauding the Board of Regents.

“So what they are trying to do is mitigate the amount of stress, the amount of anxiety that students are dealing with at this time,” Pallotta stated.

They are hoping this will influence policy makers in the federal government to not have standardized tests this year.

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