Available Federal Education Funding for Professional Development Programs

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By Julia Ramsey

Recent changes to federal education funding structures like Title II, the CARES Act, and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund — among others — mean that these dollars are now available to invest in long-term PD solutions for continuous improvement.

Title II: Preparing and Retaining High-Quality Educators
Title II authorizes programs to improve teaching and leadership through professional learning at the state and district levels. Allowable use of Title II funds focuses on job-embedded, evidence based, and classroom-oriented activities. Recent updates have also expanded the scope of allowable use of funds to all teachers, staff, school leadership, and paraprofessionals such as teaching assistants, instructional support personnel, interventionists, and any educator who works directly with Title I children.
How KickUp aligns to Title II funding options >>

CARES Act: Infrastructure and Training for Online Instruction
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes an Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) that provides $13.5 billion in funding relief for K-12 schools. While the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) had previously limited districts’ ability to use federal funds for technology infrastructure, Congress introduced specific waivers to repurpose these existing funds for distance learning supports.
How KickUp fits in with CARES Act requirements >>

Other Federal Sources

Many federal programs currently fund professional development in all states. Most funding for professional development comes from the following programs:

Title I, Part A — Education for the Disadvantaged
Provides for professional development “necessary to assist teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, other staff, and parents in identifying and meeting the comprehensive needs of eligible children” to “local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families.”

Title I, Part C — Education of Migratory Children
Provides for “professional development programs, including mentoring, for teachers and other program personnel” specifically in support of migratory children.

Title I, Part D — Neglected and Delinquent Youth
Provides for “appropriate training for teachers and other instructional and administrative personnel” in meeting the educational needs of neglected, delinquent, and at-risk children and youth.

Title III — English Language Acquisition
Provides for professional development specifically designed to increase the English language proficiency (ELP) of English learners (ELs) and immigrant students by providing language instruction educational programs and meeting academic content standards.

Title IV, Part A — Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants
Provides for professional development for effective use of data and technology, academic assessments, career and technical education, and family and community engagement.

Title IV, Part B — 21st Century Community Learning Centers
Primarily supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children; also requires grantees to set aside 5% of the award amount for professional development. 

Title V, Part B — Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) Small Rural Schools (SRSA)
Provides rural, low-enrollment LEAs with additional funds for activities covered by Title I-A, Title II-A, Title III, and Title IV-A and -B.

Title VII, Impact Aid
A highly flexible funding stream for eligible school districts serving federally connected children on military bases, Indian lands, and subsidized housing. Districts may use Title VII funds at their discretion, including professional learning.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Act
Provides for professional learning to “facilitate and enhance the identification, enrollment, attendance, and success in school for homeless children and youth.” May not be used for activities impacting non-homeless children.

Career and Technical Education (Carl D. Perkins Act)
Provides grants to “vocational and technical education program[s] that… provide professional development programs to teachers, counselors, and administrators” (among other activities).

Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) Act — Special Education
Provides for professional learning and collaborative planning related directly to the provision of special education. Specifically, awardees may use up to 15% of their IDEA Part B funds to support Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS) to provide early intervening services for those students not yet identified as needing special education or related services.

State Funding

Rethinking K-12 Education Models Grant
11 states have received over $180 million in new grant funding to “rethink education” to better serve students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant supports states’ efforts to create new, innovative ways for students to continue learning in ways that meet their needs. All awarded states, including Texas, Louisiana, New York and more, will use part of their funds for professional development purposes. Click here to see the full list of awardee states and amount of funding.

Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund
Governors may provide subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs) within their jurisdiction that have been “most significantly impacted by coronavirus” to support their ability to continue providing educational services to their students, and to support the “on-going functionality” of these entities. The LEA may use these funds for any activities that are authorized under the ESEA, but are encouraged to apply for funding supporting the effective delivery of online instruction. Read your state’s GEER Fund application on the USED website to find out if makes allowances for professional development use.

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