RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Some Virginia families can soon apply for grants to use on tutoring for K-12 students as part of a $30 million investment aimed at helping offset pandemic learning losses.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) proposed the investment in K-12 learning recovery grants last October following the release of Virginia’s results on a national education assessment that showed declines in reading and math.
Students living in households with incomes no higher than 300% of the federal poverty level — $59,160 for two people, $74,580 for three and $90,000 for a family of four — can receive a $3,000 grant. All other qualifying students can get $1,500.
Youngkin announced the upcoming release of the grants Wednesday, money his office said can be used “for qualifying education services.” The proposal from last October said families could use the learning recovery grants for one-on-one or group tutoring in-person, virtual or both.
“These targeted resources for parents will ensure that many children in Virginia have access to the tutoring, summer enrichment programs and other specialized services they need in order to reach their full potential and combat the severe learning losses,” Youngkin said in a statement.
The governor’s office said in its release that a “parent-friendly, accessible, and secure online service” would be available to allow K-12 students who qualify to access the “vetted and approved services.”
A Youngkin spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about the specific programs and grant application process.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress — often referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card” — gives an overview of student achievement among fourth and eighth graders.
Youngkin’s administration called the latest scores, which showed declines in math and reading in Virginia and nationwide, “catastrophic.” They were the first released after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor laid blame on the State Board of Education under Democratic leadership, claiming it lowered educational expectations.
Democrats and education officials under then-Gov. Ralph Northam (D), including former Secretary of Education Atif Qarni, disputed the assertions and linked the declines to learning loss across the country.
Youngkin’s office accompanied the rollout of the grants with a platform called Virginia’s Visualization and Analytics Solution (VVAAS), a tool open to all K-12 school districts for tracking students’ academic growth, projections and “diagnostic reports for student groups.”