Message from Secretary of Education, Miguel A. Cardona, Ed.D.

Good afternoon,

The U.S. Department of Education sent the following notice to all chief state school officers yesterday about monthly surveys to school districts and public school staff, pertaining to COVID-19 recovery efforts.

NSBA's Office of Federal Advocacy and Public Policy 

June 28, 2021

Dear Chief State School Officer:

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many unforeseen challenges for everyone in the education system. We need to better understand how the pandemic has affected students and educators in order to successfully rebuild. In an effort to provide national, state, and local decision-makers with rich information about the impact of the pandemic on schools, including data on the status of in-person learning, the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will be conducting a recurring survey called the School Pulse Panel with local educational agencies (LEAs) and public school staff. Because you are a critical leader, we seek your support encouraging your LEAs and schools to participate in this historic effort.

The School Pulse Panel, a survey created in support of the recent Executive Order on Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers, is designed to provide education leaders like you with information needed to make evidence-based decisions about policy and resource allocations that support recovery as schools return to in-person learning. The survey was designed by NCES in coordination with several federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is an information collection effort coordinated by the federal government to understand the impact of COVID-19 on education. It will be conducted monthly from September 2021 through the end of summer 2022 and will take the place of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2021 School Survey. Completion of the survey may be done by LEA and/or school staff and is expected to take roughly 4-5 hours per month to complete. Due to the high burden of this collection, LEAs agreeing to participate will be compensated $5,000 for the year. The intent of the compensation is to offset the staff time necessary to complete this regular data collection on behalf of NCES.

To reduce national burden, NCES will administer monthly data collections with a small, representative sample of approximately 1,000 public schools to gather information focused on school reopening efforts, virus spread prevention and mitigation strategies, mental health services offered for students and staff, and federal fund use, as reported by LEA and/or school staff. Some requested information will be disaggregated by student demographics, including race/ethnicity, disability, English-language learner status, free- or reduced-price lunch status, or other appropriate indicators. Facts and findings from the monthly surveys will be released through web tables and an online dashboard within a few weeks after each survey session.

Thank you for considering supporting this important survey and encouraging the LEA and school leaders within your state who are invited into the sample to participate in this important data collection. We believe all students in our public education system deserve the best education possible. If you have any questions, please contact School Pulse Panel project director Rachel Hansen at [email protected].


Miguel A. Cardona, Ed.D.

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