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How Can Schools Use Federal Funds for a 'Well-Rounded' Education?

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One of the big selling points of the Every Student Succeeds Act is that it gives schools a chance to move beyond just reading and math and offer students a broader, "well-rounded" education that includes things like the arts, humanities, and hands-on career focused experiences.

The U.S. Department of Education is hoping states and districts embrace that flexibility. And Wednesday, they released guidance explaining how schools can use federal funds they're already getting to further the goal.

The department has lots of suggestions. Some examples include:

  • Using funds from the Perkins Career and Technical Education program, which is financed at about $1 billion, to give students hands-on job, real-world experiences in the workplace. ESSA_button.jpg
  • Using money from Title II—that's funds for teacher training and development—to bolster teachers' know-how in the humanities and arts.
  • Using Title I funds for disadvantaged kids to fund field trips that can help students explore the humanities. (The guidance doesn't say this explicitly, but it sounds like a field trip to a museum to learn about art history would fit the bill.) Check out our recent story about how art history education is changing thanks to technology.
  • Using 21st Century Community Learning Centers money to provide students with extended-learning or summer programs that have an arts or humanities twist.
  • Using Title I funds for disadvantaged students to help districts and schools offer advanced classes in the humanities, like Advanced Placement English. 

Much more in this guidance document. The Education Commission of the States also recently put out some advice to states on this issue of a "well-rounded" education.


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