In 2020-21, Congress passed three signature funding bills to address the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the nation’s education system: the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act; the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation (CRRSA) Act; and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act.
Federal financial support for education was directed to local education agencies (LEA) and state education agencies (SEA) through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund included in all three bills, with LEAs receiving approximately 90% of ESSER funding and SEAs receiving up to 10% for state-level activities.
Throughout the pandemic, Florida has implemented ESSER funding strategies across CARES, CRRSA, and ARP to support:
- Coordination between early learning, K-12, and postsecondary education systems;
- Closing achievement gaps in kindergarten readiness, early literacy, and mathematics;
- Student acceleration through data-driven decision-making; and
- Educators with critical professional development opportunities.
Additionally, both the CARES and CRRSA Acts included funding for Florida through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. Governor DeSantis leveraged this funding to complement ongoing initiatives and activities funded through ESSER with a focus on:
- Rapid credentialing for areas with critical workforce needs;
- Expansion of apprenticeship and dual enrollment programs;
- Summer recovery and learning loss mitigation activities; and
- Career and Technical Education and workforce pathway supports.