Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the approval of New Mexico’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and distributed remaining ARP ESSER funds to them. New Mexico’s plan details how the state is using and plans to use ARP ESSER funds to safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most, particularly those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, the Department distributed two thirds of the ARP ESSER funds, totaling $81 billion, to 50 states and the District of Columbia. The remaining third of the funding to states will be made available once state plans are approved. New Mexico is receiving more than $979 million total in ARP ESSER funds, and today’s approval of their plan will result in the release of the final $327 million. Additionally, the Department approved plans for Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, and Kansas. Earlier this month, the Department approved the plans for 11 other states and the District of Columbia.
“I am excited to announce approval of New Mexico’s plan,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “It is heartening to see, reflected in these state plans, the ways in which states are thinking deeply about how to use American Rescue Plan funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities, particularly as we move into the summer and look ahead to the upcoming academic year. The approval of these plans enables states to receive vital, additional American Rescue Plan funds to quickly and safely reopen schools for full-time, in-person learning; meet students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs; and address disparities in access to educational opportunity that were exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The state plans that have been submitted to the Department lay the groundwork for the ways in which an unprecedented infusion of federal resources will be used to address the urgent needs of America’s children and build back better.”
“The state of New Mexico is proud to have the ARP ESSER state plan approved,” said New Mexico Secretary of Public Education Dr. Ryan Stewart. “This plan reflects the input of hundreds of stakeholders throughout the state. The use of these funds will bring relief and opportunity to every student in our state, and will position New Mexico to bounce back strongly from the pandemic. We look forward to the impact these investments will have on students and educators for years to come.”
“The pandemic posed a serious challenge to our students, teachers, and schools, and it’s crucial that students, families, and teachers have the resources and support that they need to learn and succeed,” said Sen. Ben Ray Luján. “The American Rescue Plan included robust support for K-12 schools, and I’m glad that the Department of Education approved New Mexico’s plan to respond to students’ needs and ensure that they can safely return to school, accelerate their learning, and address disparities that were exacerbated by the pandemic.”
“Faced with an unprecedented pandemic, Congress and the Biden Administration responded with life changing resources for our communities,” said Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez. “The American Rescue Plan provided the investments needed for our students and teachers to get back into the classrooms. I’m glad to see the Department of Education approve New Mexico’s plan to keep our schools safe and help our most vulnerable students thrive as we come out of this pandemic. These funds will allow our schools to address learning loss and help our students and educators through the social and emotional toll of the pandemic.”
The ARP ESSER state plans approved by the Department today, including New Mexico, show how states are using federal pandemic resources to support safe in-person instruction and meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students—with a focus on the students most impacted by the pandemic. For example:
- Addressing the Academic Impact of Lost Instructional Time: The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) will use $22 million in ARP ESSER funds to support strategies to accelerate learning. This includes professional learning on academic acceleration, communities of practice for educators and administrators, developing high-dosage tutoring programs which include evidence-based curriculum and pedagogy, and peer-to-peer tutoring and mentoring.
- Investing in Summer Learning Programs: NMPED established a joint internship in tribal, county, or municipal governments, between NMPED and local municipalities for students and to reengage at-risk youth for the 2021-22 school year using $6 million in ARP ESSER funding. In addition, NMPED will use $3.8 million in ARP ESSER funding to provide grants to districts and partner organizations to run summer programs in five key areas: 1) STEM programs, 2) outdoor, environmental education programs, 3) museum-based, arts, or cultural programs, 4) at-risk youth and teen-oriented programs, and 5
- Investing in Afterschool Programs: NMPED will provide a request for applications to community organizations to provide evidence-based services to students, including expanding Community Schools, which provide extended learning time and wraparound services. These programs will use hands-on learning experiences and encourage discovery and team building. NMPED also will use ARP ESSER funds to provide paid internships for high school students.
A total of 41 states and the District of Columbia have submitted their ARP ESSER state plans to the Department. The Department is reviewing the plans expeditiously and is in contact with states to ensure their plans meet all necessary requirements in order to access the remaining funds, as outlined in the ARP. The Department also is in contact with states that have not yet submitted plans, the vast majority of which are due to state board of education or legislative review requirements.
The distribution of ARP ESSER funds is part of the Department’s broader effort to support students and districts as they work to reengage students impacted by the pandemic, address inequities exacerbated by COVID-19, and build our education system back better than before. In addition to providing $130 billion for K-12 education in the American Rescue Plan to support the safe reopening of K-12 schools and meet the needs of all students, the Biden-Harris Administration also has:
In addition to the actions the Biden Administration has taken to reopen schools, the President has proposed critical investments through his Build Back Better agenda that will enable schools to rebuild stronger than they were before the pandemic, such as investing billions to build a diverse educator workforce, expand access to pre-K to all families, and invest in school infrastructure, among other provisions.