The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) announced that it will invest an additional $4.2 billion for K-12 schools. The federal funds will be allocated to Tennessee schools over the next 4 years, according to the TDOE press release. The funding is a combination of different types of federal emergency relief funding.
TDOE clarified that the funding will be allotted to specific programs and initiatives. $120.7 million will go toward the Tennessee Literacy Success Act and Reading 360, $170.5 million for the Tennessee Learning Loss and Student Acceleration Act, $35 million for the 2022-23 math textbook adoption process, $32 million for online resources, $32.6 million for Innovating High Schools and Advanced Courses, $17.8 million for mental health supports, $56.5 million for K-12 open-source readiness coursework and statewide professional development, and $21 million to support the educator pipeline.
Governor Bill Lee asserted that this funding would prove essential for restoring student performance after the 2020 pandemic.
“This historic amount of federal funding provides an opportunity to innovate and transform the trajectory of Tennessee schools and students,” stated Lee. “It’s imperative that we keep student achievement at the center of all decision-making to put them on a path for success in our classrooms, postsecondary and workforce.”
State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), the Senate Education Committee Chairman, assessed that the funding was being applied toward programs and initiatives proven to work.
“By using evidence-based practices to improve student outcomes, the funds will ensure Tennessee continues our commitment to provide innovative education programs,” said Kelsey.
The federal relief funds were calculated based on Tennessee’s share of Title I funding.
One of Lee’s major initiatives this year focused on educational funding. As The Tennessee Star reported, Lee promised in his State of the State Address to fully fund the Basic Education Program (BEP) and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) outcomes-based formula to ensure student recovery from the pandemic.
Another one of Lee’s promised investments in education concerns a $200 million expansion of broadband internet access. An additional $15 million was funded in March.
As Lee explained during his State of the State Address, education continues to be one of his primary focuses.
“The reason that we place so much focus on education is because students should be prepared for productive lives, not just the latest standardized test,” said Lee. “Students should be prepared for life beyond the classroom.”
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