It is week 200 of our new reality.
When we first launched this newsletter back in March 2020 in response to the unprecedented wave of school closures we wrote: “There are so many things happening in education all at once it can feel overwhelming to just try and keep up. To help navigate this tidal wave of information, each Monday our team at 50CAN will be sending out The New Reality Roundup newsletter. We’ll strive to find the key facts you need to know, dig into the policies and programs under debate, elevate stories of parents, students and educators and highlight the indispensable resources that can help you help those most in need.”
While the schools have long since reopened, the changes these education disruptions unleashed have not gone away. As we write in our new strategic plan: “If the harm of Covid is generational, so is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and responsibility to build the education system our nation’s children deserve so we can right these wrongs.”
It is perhaps fitting that we hit this 200 week milestone at the end of National School Choice Week because as EdChoice’s Michael McShane writes in a new article for Education Next, one of the more positive consequences of the pandemic is that “new school models are having a moment …The first and largest reason is that substantial numbers of parents appear to want them” while at the same time “states are making historic investments in school-choice programs, and particularly education savings accounts, which allow for a level of customization not possible with past voucher or tax-credit-funded scholarship programs.”
While the pandemic-era disruptions to the traditional school model have added fuel to this trend, McShane argues that public policies attentive to the real needs of educational entrepreneurs will go a long way towards ensuring it continues, which is a trend we will be putting a spotlight on all year long.
Last time in The New Reality Roundup, we launched our 2024 advocacy campaigns with 50 goals across 10 states. This week, we look at the push to make tutoring a permanent feature of the American education system and explore the upward trajectory of private school choice.
FROM THE FIELD
As 50CAN President Derrell Bradford announced last week, ConnCAN is welcoming a new executive director, Steven Hernández while also announcing Hamish MacPhail as deputy director. ConnCAN’s new leadership team is hard at work already, participating in the creation of a coalition–New Teacher Track–that will be tackling how new teachers are certified in the state.
NewMexicoKidsCAN welcomed a special guest on the latest podcast episode of New Mexico Rising, where Amanda was joined by NM Secretary of Education Arsenio Romero to reflect back on his first year in the role, the power of relationships with educators and the Secretary’s plans to strengthen structured literacy instruction.
Multiple states collaborated with the National School Choice Awareness Foundation on NSCW events over the past week. HawaiiKidsCAN held a school choice fair that was covered in the Star-Advertiser. DelawareCAN welcomed students and families on Saturday to the Wilmington School Fair, while TEN Executive Director Nicholas Martinez and his team hosted their inaugural NSCW event, featuring over 50 schools from across the Denver Metro Region for families to learn about public and private school options.
Moment of Resilience
An ESA student in Arizona, who had used the funding to work with a speech pathologist, reads a poem that she wrote in celebration of National School Choice Week with the help of mom Stacey Brown.
“School choice can pave the way, To our own space, Where we get to ask questions, And set our own pace.
When we get to choose how to learn and grow, We can reach high high to the sky and say, I am ready with my beautiful colors.”