Chris Hayes asks about billions of ‘memory-holed’ Covid relief for schools, gets buried in brutal reality

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Far-left MSNBC host Chris Hayes has performed an extremely rare act of actual journalism by asking a genuinely tough question about all the essentially missing relief money that was doled out to schools across the country for “Covid preparedness.”

“I feel like there’s a weird memory-holing of the fact last spring Congress distributed $123 billion dollars to K-12 schools for Covid preparedness. That’s nearly $1 million *per school*. So big q is: what was that used for?” he tweeted on Wednesday.

“There are, of course, literally tens of thousands of different answers to this question and I think they are going to vary quite widely.”

He was 100 percent right about there being many different answers.

View his tweets below:

One reason is that some states used the COVID relief money to “recruit and retain teachers.”

“In plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, states are detailing how they will use COVID-19 relief funding to recruit and retain teachers, including strengthening the teacher pipeline through ‘Grow Your Own’ programs, offering financial incentives, providing staff mental health supports and creating alternative licensure routes,” the education-focused news site K-12 Dive reported in August.

Illinois, for instance, set aside money “to support affinity groups in order to improve teacher satisfaction, efficacy and retention.”

Another reason is that some states, including California, used the relief funds to bless teachers with bonuses of up to $1,000 per teacher.

“Dozens of school districts and states are spending big chunks of their historic federal stimulus cash on one-time bonuses to teachers and staff, over the objections of some parents and others who claim such payments violate the intent of the federal funding,” The Wall Street Journal reported in July.

The actual “intent of the federal funding” was to equip schools with the tools needed to sustain in-class learning through the pandemic.

Yet during the first week of schooling in 2022, over 5,000 schools across the nation were shuttered for at least one day because of the pandemic, according to Burbio, a data tracking service that’s been monitoring school closures since 2020.


(Source: Burbio)

Notice the use of the term disruption. Burbio defines a “disruption” as “a school moving away from regular in-person instruction caused in some way by the pandemic” for “one or more days” during a given one-week period.

The most publicized disruption has been the one in Chicago, where a 73 percent majority of the 22,000-strong Chicago Teachers’ Union voted on Tuesday to essentially strike until schools return to remote learning again.

In tweets, the union announced that teachers would only return to in-person learning once the “current surge in cases substantially subsides” or the mayor institutes policies to provide them with “safety” from the pandemic.


But as Hayes noted in his rare act of actual journalism, these “safety” issues should have already been addressed by all the COVID relief money that was doled out first in 2020 and then again in 2021.

“Between March 2020 and March 2021, Congress appropriated nearly $190 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding for K–12 schools. Passed in three waves, each significantly more generous than the last, ESSER is by far the largest federal infusion ever provided to K–12 schools—more than 11 times annual Title I spending and almost five times as large as total federal K–12 spending in 2019–20,” according to analysis from the American Enterprise Institute.

So where did all the money go, besides recruiting and retaining teachers? Below are such additional places where the money went:

In short, it appears a large chunk of the money was either wasted or unspent? But why?

Hayes’ more conservative critics say it’s in part because the government is and has always been wildly incompetent, and in part, because this government in particular — the Biden administration — is more interested in appeasing teachers’ unions than in advancing the well-being of schoolchildren.

The hope, of course, is that Hayes eventually figures this out for himself.

However, it appears he first has some homework to do …

(Source: MSNBC)


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