South Carolina receives $15 million federal education grant

South Carolina receives $15 million federal education grant
"The Rethink K12 grant will allow our state to address and overcome these challenges not only in the upcoming school year but also in the long term,” State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said. (Source: Live 5/File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Education said they have received $15,049,608 in funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

Officials say the money is for the “Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant”, which requires states to rethink their education models if they want the aid.

The “Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant” is, in turn, a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the S.C. Department of Education said.

“The emergency remote learning that took place as a result of COVID-19 school closures brought to light disparities in our school communities that made student learning difficult in the pandemic environment,” State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said. “The Rethink K12 grant will allow our state to address and overcome these challenges not only in the upcoming school year but also in the long term.”

Officials say Congress set aside 1% of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for grants to states with the highest coronavirus burden.

In April 2020, officials say the U.S. Department of Education announced the “Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant” competition, inviting any state educational agency to apply

Officials with the program say that it supports new, innovative ways to access education with an emphasis on meeting students’ needs during the coronavirus national emergency.

The U.S. Department of Education said applications were evaluated by a panel of independent peer reviewers and the highest-scoring applications received funding.

However they also said, given the nature of the national emergency, states with the highest coronavirus burden were prioritized.

Officials say South Carolina’s application, titled Return to Learn: Delivery Quality Instruction Virtually Anywhere, once carried out, will:

  • Increase availability of remote learning resources to students and teachers in areas of SC that lack broadband access;
  • Improve education resources for specific, identified gaps by developing and curating engaging, high-quality content;
  • Increase teacher experience, confidence, and proficiency with remote learning technology and resources;
  • Improve communication between families, teachers, and schools to support remote learning.

The S.C. Department of Education say that they are partnering with The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee and South Carolina Educational Television, a private industry to carry out the grant activities.

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