Schools in New York have been slow to spend federal aid sent to them in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an analysis released by an education advocacy organization on Tuesday found. 

The report released by the New York Equity Coalition found school districts as of August 2022 have spent less than 10% of funding meant to boost learning after the pandemic disrupted classroom instruction.

“These are challenging times for students, teachers, and families,” said Jeff Smink, deputy director of The Education Trust–New York. “New York was hit especially hard by the pandemic, which makes swift and urgent investment of these relief dollars particularly crucial to creating an equitable future. The choices school leaders make at this moment will carry a long-standing impact on our students, our communities, and our state’s overall recovery.”

Learning loss has been considered an especially acute problem for low-income students after schools resumed in-classroom learning. Many students from poorer backgrounds lacked the technology to learn remotely and many fell behind as a result. 

Overall, New York ranks 49th across the country in total funds that have been spent, about 19%. 

The group is urging state education officials to push districts to spend more money on learning acceleration programs and put a priority on research and evaluation of tactics that could be promising. They also argue there should be focus on teacher diversity and recruitment. 

The findings of the report dovetail with an analysis conducted earlier this month by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office, which also found New York schools and districts had unevenly spent the money.  

That report found the state's five largest school districts have only spent a small percentage of their pandemic aid on early childhood education.