In 2020 and 2021, Congress passed three stimulus bills that provided nearly $190.5 billion to the American Rescue Plan – Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP-ESSER) Fund. States receive funds based on the same proportion that each state receives under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title-IA. In addition to many other uses, funding can be utilized for purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, connectivity, assistive technology, and adaptive equipment) for students that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors. This includes simulation equipment.
It's essential for CTE leadership to be included in conversations around spending related to relief funds, as the distribution process of the funds are intricate, and there is no clear-cut requirements that funding be used on CTE programs.
Here are some key things to keep in mind:
- Understand where decisions are being made at a state level and a local school district level
- Advocate, advocate, advocate for your program
- Outline your “wish list” and develop a solid business plan
When determining what will make the largest impact for your simulation program, it can help to create a wish list. Weigh the benefits of upgrading existing equipment, expanding the curriculum, improving reporting, and even hiring additional staff to maintain and oversee simulations. By clearly outlining what would improve efficiency and learning outcomes for your organization, you will have the basis to make your case for funding.