American Education Secretary Miguel Cardona stated on Thursday that the country’s schools must move more quickly to assist millions of children who have fallen behind due to the pandemic. “We have to make up for lost time,” he explained.
Keeping schools open is no longer enough, Cardona said in a speech outlining his priorities. He urged schools to use billions of dollars in federal funding to expand tutoring and mental health counselling, as well as to close achievement gaps that have widened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
He sees an “opportunity for a reset in education” and says the goal is to make schools stronger than they were before.
“Despite the fact that our country is experiencing a surge, I know our children cannot wait any longer,” Cardona said from the department’s headquarters. “They’ve been through enough, and now is our chance.”
He took a tougher stance on school closures, which are considered as a political risk for Democrats due to growing parental dissatisfaction. Most schools have remained open despite the spread of the omicron variant, although sporadic closures have caused upheaval in some areas.
“Reopening schools safely is the baseline, but it’s not enough,” Cardona added. “We’ve got to make up for lost time.”
He believes that schools should now devote their whole attention to assisting pupils in recovering, particularly those from communities that had educational disparities prior to the pandemic.
To begin, he advised all schools to provide at least 30 minutes of tutoring three days a week for every kid who has fallen behind in their studies. He stated that schools should try to double the number of counsellors, social workers, and mental health workers on staff, a goal previously established by the US President Joe Biden.
The education secretary stated that schools should be able to meet those objectives with federal funds from Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which provided $130 billion to the nation’s schools last year.
Cardona stated that the funds should be distributed immediately in order to hire more counsellors and other staff members.