Bouncing Back

Student-Centered Policy Priorities for 2021

There is a simple fact beneath all of the tension and competing factors influencing when students return to school, it’s still the most conducive learning environment. Our public education system isn’t only underprepared to deal with large-scale disruption or significant changes in technology or demands, but also unprepared to deal with disruptions in the ways of teaching and learning.

With severe learning loss, especially in students of color and those who have fewer resources at home, transitions from traditional in-person education to online, pod-based, and homeschool programs, and the interruption in assessment data, we won’t fully comprehend the effects of this epidemic for years to come. Without a coherent strategy, our education system will not be “back on track” anytime soon. Here, we examine a possible policy agenda for the advocacy community in 2021.

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Now more than ever, we need to have a laser focus on increasing the ability of teachers to be effective and the strategic distribution of our most effective teachers. Teachers will be this nation’s only vaccine against learning loss.” Kate Walsh, NCTQ


20% of Families

Approximately one in five families reported that for their children, reliable access to the internet or a computer could be a barrier to completing homework. Unsurprisingly those barriers are most stark for urban, low-income, and rural students.

$23 Billion

The disparity in funding between white and non-white districts in the United States is $23 billion. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, these same communities are also heavily impacted by the economic downturn. More than ever, fair and equitable funding is essential, and it will be up to states to ease the pain.

56.6 Million Students

The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the 2019-2020 school year in the United States, which resulted in 56.6 million students converting to remote learning or having their school year end early. Summer learning loss is estimated to occur at a rate of between 25-30% for students in a typical year, with higher rates among Black and Latinx students.

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