Advocates ask for COVID-19 funds to help students from low-income families

By Rocio Hernandez
Published: Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 8:03am

The Arizona for Latino Leaders in Education advocacy group and others have sent letters to Gov. Doug Ducey and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman asking for investment in efforts to help students negatively impacted academically by the pandemic.

Many Arizona families, especially low-income families and communities of color, have been hit hard during the pandemic, and that negative impact is affecting students academically, said ALL In Education Executive Director Stephanie Parra. She cites recent statewide assessment results which showed achievement gaps among students of color and students in poverty. While those gaps aren't new, Parra said they've been exacerbated during COVID-19.  

The letter recommends strategies to address these issues such as investing in parent and family engagement programs and tracking these strategies. 

“If we are going to make sure that our students get caught up and make sure they have all the resources that they need to be successful, parent and family involvement is going to be absolutely critical," Parra said. 

During the pandemic, Arizona received $4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief dollars to invest in K-12 education and Parra said ALL in Ed and other community advocates want to make sure these funds are investments on the students and families that need assistance the most. 

The Arizona Department of Education has already made investments in some of the areas the letter recommends such as a laptop/hotspot partnership with the City of Phoenix and a project to expand rural broadband and looks forward to discussing other ideas with ALL in Ed, it said in a statement to KJZZ. 

The governor’s office is still reviewing the letter, it said.