Gov. Pritzker Signs Education and Workforce Equity Act, Expanding Access, Equity and Opportunity in State’s Education System

Last week, Governor JB Pritzker signed the Education and Workforce Equity Act (HB 2170) into law, which aims to strengthen the state’s priorities in delivering high-quality learning for early-learners and K-12 students by supporting public schools, making college education more affordable, investing in vocational training, and expanding the teacher workforce. As it relates to the afterschool field, the Act requires the Illinois P-20 Council to make recommendations for both the short-term and long-term learning recovery actions for students in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also creates the Whole Child Task Force, which will focus on expanding trauma-responsive school services. 

Resources for Reopening Schools

Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in March 2020, districts across the nation have faced the difficult task of reopening schools safely and keeping them open as community infection rates have risen and fallen. Now, with new federal guidance and states mobilizing resources to support school reopening, local decisionmakers must consider strategies for leveraging these resources to implement reopening plans. To help provide school and early learning communities, as well as policymakers, with access to critical information, LPI has created a website, Resources for Reopening Schools—a collection of curated health and safety resources that include public health research, guidance documents, news articles, and profiles of counties and districts that have opened for in-person learning.

State Funding for Student Mental Health

This Policy Brief explores and describes common sources of funding that states use to support K-12 school-based mental health programming. It includes a 50-state scan that displays how each state funds student mental health services.  For a primer on key terms related to student mental health and wellness, see this new glossary. More resources on student mental health and wellness are available here.

Three strategies for helping students in crisis return to school

A student in mental health or behavioral crisis can display obvious actions such as punching or screaming. But other mental health struggles can be hidden, including suicidal ideations, depression and anxiety. As more students return to school after long periods of virtual learning, schools need to be prepared to respond strategically to all types of intensive behaviors, say school psychology experts. The transition from the home to school after such a long on-campus absence may be very difficult for some students, said Patrice Leverett, an assistant professor of school psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and an expert in crisis response.  

New Report Finds Majority of Cities That Had Afterschool Systems in 2013 Sustained Them Over a Seven-Year Period

Over the past two decades, The Wallace Foundation has learned a lot about how afterschool systems work and how cities can go about building them. One thing that was still unknown, however, was whether cities would be able to sustain their efforts to coordinate the work of out-of-school-time providers, government agencies, and others over a period of years. Now, a new report by the nonprofit human development organization FHI 360 offers some answers.

Federal Action Removes Long-Standing Obstacle to School Integration

When Congress passed the mammoth $2.3 trillion federal funding legislation—the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021—last December, most of the press focused on the package’s much-needed COVID-19 relief funds and the narrowly averted government shutdown. But nested within the legislation is game-changing language that removes a long-standing obstacle to states and school districts fulfilling Brown v. Board of Education’s promise of eliminating separate and unequal schools. Effective January 1, 2021, there is no longer a prohibition on the use of federal school transportation funds to support school integration.