By Lauren G. Smith and Karen E. McPherson, USA TODAY ContributorsThe federal government is paying nearly $400 million to more than 200 school districts across the country to help more students with disabilities read, write and learn, the Education Department announced Wednesday.
The grants, which cover all the districts, are aimed at providing additional tutoring, reading materials and supplies to help students with reading and writing disabilities get ready for the second grade, the department said in a news release.
For those who don’t qualify for the grants, the money will help with the costs of books, supplies and transportation.
For the first time, the federal government has offered financial support to a district to help them hire tutors, teacher assistants and support staff for reading and spelling, according to the department.
The new funding will be used to support schools with more than 1,200 students, or 1% of their enrollment, according the department, which also said it would be used for tutoring for teachers and other staff members.
The federal Department of Education is providing funding to assist school districts that are working to make reading and language arts instruction accessible to students with literacy disabilities.
The federal government will also pay for support staff and other costs associated with preparing and distributing textbooks.
The program is part of the Obama administration’s $1.9 billion initiative to help children with learning disabilities.