It’s week 112 of our new reality.
“Public school enrollment dropped more sharply in school districts that remained remote longer compared to those that reopened for in-person learning sooner,” writes Lauren Camera for US News. “While enrollment in the country’s K-12 public schools has declined nationally–dropping roughly 3% during the 2020-21 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics–it’s rebounding in districts that reopened for in-person learning faster and continuing to decline in those that did not.”
At the same time, after more than two years of constant disruptions to their children’s education, a new NPR/Ipsos surveyfinds that parents rank education as a top issue, behind only inflation and crime, while expressing some optimism that things may finally be getting better. Yet, while parents’ overall perceptions of their child’s school are improving, the survey finds that 32% of parents believe “my child has fallen behind in school due to the pandemic” and 29% believe “my child dislikes school more now than before the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Who do these parents blame for their child falling behind? The survey finds a broad range of answers with 25% saying state education officials, 22% the local school board, 20% school administrators and 17% teachers.
Perhaps most troubling is the finding that the vast majority of parents are not aware of any special recovery programs for their children, with just 14% saying their school offers in-person tutoring and only 12% saying their school offers in-person summer camp.
Clearly there is a lot more work to be done.
Last time in the New Reality Roundup, we focused on the continuing student absenteeism crisis in our schools and the importance of educating parents on their options.
This week we look at a breakthrough win on education funding in the Volunteer State and exploring an exciting new educational model from Khan Academy that points the way forward to a more open and connected world.
FROM THE FIELD
With the Aloha state wrapping up their legislative session on Friday, HawaiiKidsCAN celebrates the passage of three of their priority bills, all focused on ensuring that students have a clear pathway to a career that matters: SB2826, which creates the first state-funded incentive program to reward schools that help students with career readiness; SB2824, which modifies Board of Education qualifications to include members of important industries in the state, an important step in solidifying emergent career readiness programs; and SB2141, which moves computer science courses from an elective in high school to a requirement for graduation.
At GeorgiaCAN, the team is also celebrating Governor Kemp’s signing of HB517 into law, which increases the tax credit scholarship available to Peach State families. The new law, whose progress we’ve followed in past issues of this newsletter, will provide scholarships to an additional 4,000 students so they can select the school of their choice.
DelawareCAN’s Britney Mumford penned an op-ed for Delaware Online urging a rejection of the charter school moratorium being considered by the legislature.
We also launched the fourth cohort of 50CAN’s National Voices Fellowship. Meet the ten impressive education leaderswho will be elevating their voices to a national audience.
Moment of Resilience
The Tennessee House of Representatives, in this image provided by Chalkbeat, meets on the floor shortly before passage of the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement Act. Each legislator in the picture is an important relationship, nurtured through six years of work by TennesseeCAN. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Lee, who calls the legislation “the most substantive reform to education funding in more than 30 years.”