New Dashboard Showcases Innovative Education Ideas
From lockdowns to remote learning, everyone from academics to politicians will debate and dissect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on American students — and the federal government’s $189 billion response — for years to come.
But we can’t wait years for the answers and direction we urgently need now.
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Families, school leaders and educators need real-time insight into what can make a difference in getting back to school. Policy makers need an immediate view of the most promising ways to invest historic sums in education.
Reports of widening student achievement gaps and fatigue among parents, students, and teachers are cause for grave concern. Combined with the polarizing political fights and the whiplash of reopening policies, it’s easy to see how one might feel like it’s all futile.
While there are challenges, there are also bright spots where schools are innovating. Aided by a strong federal response in two jurisdictions, some states and districts are developing new ways to meet challenges and improve student outcomes despite remarkable adversity.
As leaders of three organizations dedicated to strengthening and supporting our education systems, we firmly believe that our country’s schools can emerge from nearly two turbulent years strongly positioned for success. America’s schools have the potential to make generational progress by providing high-quality education, supporting students and families, and equipping and empowering educators.
Our organizations are proud to launch a new tool this week that showcases innovative, high-potential actions that states, districts, and schools are taking right now that deserve further consideration and emulation.
Our platform – the Ed Recovery Hub – identifies strong recovery practices for a variety of school community needs. These include promising approaches to accelerate student learning, support educators and families, and improve facilities and technology.
Not only will we consolidate these innovations into a convenient online platform for school districts, but we will also provide useful context. The practices will be reviewed by a panel of national education experts from leading parent, teacher and civil rights organizations to offer deeper insight into how these investments will benefit schools and communities. students.
Already, we have seen promising and bold actions by several states and districts using relief funds to face adversity with ingenuity:
In Arizona, state and district officials are coordinating the large-scale expansion of early childhood education programs, in addition to statewide upgrades to K-12 transportation systems.
Texas is making a strong statement in favor of using data to focus instruction and boost student learning, while individual state districts are making potentially transformational investments in coaching student success and their teaching staff.
Connecticut is using federal COVID-19 funding to re-engage students who have become disconnected during the pandemic by providing in-home family support for children returning to school. It also helps address potential health or wellness needs, while helping families navigate learning supports like tutoring and summer school.
Practices like these and many more highlighted on the EduRecoveryHub show a concerted effort by states and districts to support schools and families — not just to deal with the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, but to rethink the ways in which they can succeed in the essential tasks of educating, protecting and empowering children and their communities.
Have we captured all the good examples? Definitely not.
There are certainly more instances of transformative work being done by dedicated educators and K-12 administrators. In the coming weeks, we will work to bring them to the attention of all states and school districts. We will update existing examples and seek the partnership of allies who share our passion and concerns and who could lead their own recovery financing efforts.
The pandemic has strained the country’s education system more than at any other time in modern history — and the country has responded with unprecedented federal resources.
Americans have the opportunity and the responsibility to ensure that these resources lead to the improvements school systems need to weather the storm and improve student outcomes.
Jim Cowen is executive director of the Collaborative for Student Success. Robin Lake is director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education. Chad Aldeman is Policy Director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University.
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