Nebraska Education Commissioners Tells Congress How COVID Funds Helped Students


      Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matthew Blomstedt testified Tuesday at a U-S House Education and Labor subcommittee hearing in Washington on meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of students in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

     Blomstedt discussed how Nebraska educators used federal COVID-19 relief funds to support students during school building closures, reopen schools for the 2020-2021 year and address ongoing academic impacts and social-emotional needs.

      Blomstedt said the “Federal investments made in education across Nebraska are critical support for students’ academic, social and emotional needs,” with the state striving to invest and target funds where they are most needed. 

      A former teacher, principal, and local school superintendent, Blomstedt said Nebraska is just beginning to see the fruits of those investments and will continue to measure progress in the year ahead.

      Also testifying was Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. Blomstedt and Schwinn are board members of the Council of Chief State School Officers. 

     Schwinn discussed how Tennessee schools used the different federal relief packages to support students throughout the pandemic and through ongoing recovery efforts.

    Schwinn said the state paid a particular focus on improving early literacy, accelerating academic achievement for all students, and expanding the educator pipeline.      She called the pandemic “a pivotal moment in education, but what we do now has the power to define our field and our country,” adding that “our kids deserve our best now more than ever.”