Across the nation, districts’ early plans to spend billions in federal school funds are largely focused on one-time expenses like facilities upgrades, filling budget gaps, and rewarding educators. There are fewer signs of strictly academic investments like high-dosage tutoring, expanded school years, or strategic changes to instruction and curriculum systems. Chad Aldeman, policy director at the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University, said many district plans made little mention of programs or investments geared toward the most vulnerable students. “The pandemic has affected different students differently, and we’re seeing a lot of one-size-fits-all,” he said.

According to the American Rescue Plan, districts will submit spending plans to states by August, though they’ll have until September 2023 to spend the sums. After releasing updated guidance on how districts and states can spend the unprecedented amount of funding, Ian Rosenblum, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, discussed the process and priorities that states will be expected to follow with FutureEd. Rosenblum highlights the multitude of ways schools will be allowed to spend funds, including on academic recovery programs like tutoring and summer school, expanded social-emotional supports and resources, and widespread efforts to identify and re-engage students who have become disconnected from school systems.

Beyond issues of new federal funds, here are 10 other updates from across the country about how states and school systems are confronting the challenges posed by the coronavirus emergency — and working to preserve student learning amid the pandemic:

Tennessee is among a handful of states boosting the base salaries of educators as schools, parents, and officials emerge from the pandemic with a newfound respect for teaching. Teacher salaries in the state continue to trail neighboring states, though Gov. Bill Lee has made improving teacher working conditions, training, and pay a goal of his tenure.

Read the full article about the decline in high school grads seeking college enrollment by Joshua Parrish at The 74.