Poll: Georgians back microgrants for kids learning virtually

From a press release:

In a statewide poll of likely general election voters in Georgia, parents of school age children said virtual learning had imposed significant costs on their families, and an overwhelming majority of Georgians expressed support for the state providing microgrants from federal stimulus dollars to offset this cost.

“The move to virtual learning for tens of thousands of Georgia schoolchildren — either because their schools are closed or because a child has an underlying condition — has put a tremendous strain on many families,” said Christy Riggins, the Georgia field director for the American Federation for Children. “Too many Georgia children are falling dangerously behind. Whether it’s working parents who aren’t at home to keep kids on track, a lack of technology or internet connection or a child with special needs, microgrants would provide families with a lifeline to bridge the gap until the students can return to school.”

The CARES Act included $105.7 million for Georgia via the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. Gov. Brian Kemp has the discretion to use these funds has the discretion to provide one-time grants directly to families to help cover the costs they are incurring as a result of many schools not being open for full-time, in-person instruction. South Carolina and Oklahoma have already provided microgrants to families doing virtual learning.

In the poll, which was conducted by Cygnal, Aug. 22-24, parents were asked how much they’ve spent per student on learning supplies, child care, and other education-related activities/supplies that they otherwise wouldn’t have needed to spend:

·         16.5 percent answered under $100

·         34.8 percent said between $100 and $500

·         42.3 percent said more than $500

·         6.3 percent were unsure

All voters were asked if they’d support microgrants.

The question read: “Educational microgrants are small grants given directly to families to help cover the cost of education. Microgrants can be used for things like computer hardware, internet access, online courses, tutoring, learning pods, school supplies, and educational services for students with disabilities. Do you support or oppose using some of the $570 million in coronavirus relief funds that Georgia received from the federal government to fund microgrants?”

·         77.4 percent expressed support (43.8 percent strongly support, 33.6 percent somewhat support)

·         13.8% opposed (4.2 percent somewhat oppose, 9.6 percent strongly oppose)

·         4.9 percent answered neither support nor oppose 

·         3.9 percent were unsure  

“Georgians back microgrants because they understand not every family has the resources to educate their child at home, and not all children can learn virtually,” Riggins said. “We all want kids to get back to normal as quickly as possible, but until that happens, this program will bridge the gap in a way that will pay dividends literally throughout the students’ entire lives.”

The Cygnal poll, conducted on behalf of a coalition of groups including the American Federal for Children, has a margin of error of 3.87 percent.

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