Georgia, South Carolina win more than $33M for virtual learning programs

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Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 12:45 PM EDT
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The Georgia and South Carolina departments of education will receive millions in funding to expand virtual and personalized learning in the states.

Georgia officials said the state received $18.5 million through a Rethink K-12 Education Models grant.

Georgia will use its funding to improve the professional learning available to leaders and educators on personalized learning, expand student connectivity and improve the infrastructure of – and expand access to – the Georgia Virtual School. The program is a virtual learning effort directly run by the Georgia Department of Education.

South Carolina is receiving $15 million through the program that it will use to “provide all students access to a robust virtual education ecosystem, including the use of ‘datacasting,’ an innovative concept that can help provide instructional content to students without internet access,” according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Education.

“The emergency remote learning that took place as a result of COVID-19 school closures brought to light disparities in our school communities that made student learning difficult in the pandemic environment,” South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said. “The Rethink K12 grant will allow our state to address and overcome these challenges not only in the upcoming school year but also in the long term.”

The U.S. Department of Education announced the Rethink K-12 Education Models grant competition in April 2020, inviting any state educational agency to apply. The program supports new, innovative ways to access education with an emphasis on meeting students’ needs during the coronavirus national emergency. Eleven states received grant awards ranging from $6 million to $20 million.

Applications were evaluated by a panel of independent peer reviewers, and the highest-scoring applications received funding. States with the highest coronavirus burden were prioritized.

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