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In a significant legal settlement, California schools must allocate $2 billion of their remaining COVID relief funds specifically for tutoring and other initiatives to assist high-needs students. This decision emerged from a lawsuit initiated by families in Oakland and Los Angeles, represented by Public Counsel and Morrison Foerster, who argued that their children experienced severe learning setbacks during the pandemic.

The lawsuit highlighted the challenges faced during the early days of COVID-19, especially by low-income families who struggled with online learning due to a lack of technology and inconsistent class structures. The impact was evident in test scores, with notable declines among Black and Latino students in English language arts and math.

This settlement, praised by various educational experts and advocates, is seen as a crucial step towards making California’s education system more equitable. It mandates using Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant funds for targeted tutoring and additional instructional time, focusing on students who are behind. Schools can also collaborate with community groups for extra services, such as after-school or summer programs.

Oakland REACH, a parent-led nonprofit, is highlighted as a successful model for school-community partnerships. The settlement is expected to support similar initiatives across the state, emphasizing the role of parents and caregivers in educational recovery.

UCLA researchers commend the settlement for its potential to narrow the achievement gap exacerbated by the pandemic. The agreement also introduces a simpler public complaint procedure to ensure accountability in using these funds.

In conclusion, this landmark settlement represents a historic investment in California’s education system. It aims to rectify the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on Black, Latino, and low-income students. It’s a step forward in addressing long-standing disparities and ensuring a more equitable educational landscape in the state.

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