At least $11 million in federal Covid relief intended for disadvantaged students in Oklahoma failed to reach them, according to a new report by the National Opportunity Project.
The Educational Assistance for Non-public Schools (EANS) program was created by Congress to be a lifeline for independent, private, and religious schools serving largely low-income students most affected by Covid. But the guidance to states for distributing EANS funds was unclear at best—and at worst seriously flawed, creating a lack of transparency and consistency in disbursing the critical aid that has allowed hundreds of millions to be diverted away from the most at-risk students.
Oklahoma EANS Funding: By the Numbers
Getting Remaining Funds to At-Risk Students
Public schools received hundreds of billions of dollars of emergency aid from the government, but aid for nonpublic schools was more restricted and had more strings attached. Although low-income, minority, and at-risk students at these schools suffered from school closures and government policies like their public-school counterparts, federal funding for nonpublic schools focused on mitigating the effects of the Covid illness itself, rather than long-term learning loss and mental health needs.
NOP has discovered some governors have taken advantage of a statutory spoiler that allows funds intended to help schools and students to instead be used by governors on pet projects—many of which have little to do with K-12 education.
Armed with the knowledge that $11 million may still be available in Oklahoma to address Covid-related learning loss, parents and stakeholders are empowered to ask questions and advocate for the needs of the state’s youngest students.
- Read the Report: From shutdown to shut out: How America’s low-income students continue to be hurt by Covid policy
- Download the Issue Brief