Gov. John Bel Edwards has decided to use $32 million of $50 million in discretionary federal dollars for computers and improved internet access for public school students, officials said Monday.

Another $15.5 million will go to higher education, including $10 million to accelerate training for students so they can help re-charge Louisiana’s economy amid massive unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The money stems from the state’s share of a $2.2 trillion stimulus package called the CARES Act.

It is on top of $287 million for public schools and $147 million for colleges and universities, which were announced in April.

Louisiana public schools are set to get an estimated $287 million and child care providers nearly $10 million to help offset problems sparked …

The $50 million is called the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund and includes grants for both public schools and colleges.

LSU is in line to get at least $19 million as part of the $2.2 trillion federal stimulus bill aimed at easing the impact of the coronavirus, o…

The $32 million “will directly support bridging the digital access divide through the purchase of student devices and internet access points,” according to plans spelled out in state documents.

The longstanding problem came to light again in mid March when public schools were closed because of the virus, forcing school districts to scramble amid efforts to continue teaching through distance learning and other steps.

About one-third of households in the state lack internet access, and others are dependent on weak signals.

Also, more than 1 in 4 public school students lacks access to a computer or tablet at home to help with distance learning, according to a state survey released in April.

The gap was one of the major stumbling blocks to continued education when classrooms closed, and is sure to be an issue again with some schools relying on remote learning for at least some students when the 2020-21 school year begins in August.

State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley said Sunday the governor’s injection of dollars for computers means about two thirds of the state’s 720,000 public school students will have their own devices.

“I know the governor is really interested in trying to help all the systems get to one to one,” Brumley said, a reference to all students having their own computers.

“This will certainly help get some there.”

The money for colleges and universities includes $10 million “to produce work-ready individuals to jumpstart the economy,” according to state plans.

Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed said Monday she asked state economic development leaders about a month ago to identify top job needs around the state.

Reed said officials of community colleges were asked to gear up to make credentials linked to those jobs available.

“The goal is to scholarship individuals into a short-term credential that has a job at the end of it so we can allow people into employment at no cost to the individual,” she said.

Another $4.75 million will be used to narrow the digital divide in higher education, including training on how to deliver courses for the state’s roughly 10,000 faculty members.

“When you have a light switch of changing from in-person education to online education there is a lot of work that has to be done to get better at it,” Reed said.

Reed said officials earlier ordered 1,200 laptops that have been delivered to colleges and universities.

A state survey showed the need for 14,000 laptops, 14,000 hotspots and 5,000 ipads.

The $50 million allocation also includes $2.7 million for the state to offer public school students an “online social emotional learning curriculum.”

Check back with The Advocate for more details.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source link

Load More By admin
Load More In Internet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Microsoft's first-party Xbox Games Showcase streams July 23rd – Engadget

Microsoft Microsoft is getting ready to show off more Xbox Series X titles. It’ll hold an …