It is week 64 of our new reality and as we start the month of June most schools are finishing up one of the most challenging years on record and preparing for an uncertain future.
Over the past two weeks, we announced a new policy framework to guide our approach to this recovery phase called “Believe in Better” and a new 50CAN president for this new era: Derrell Bradford. We are aiming for more than a return to normal because with everything students have been through the past year they deserve better than more of the same.
“Better” means expanding educational choices rather than taking them away. It means providing tutoring, mentorship and summer camp for all rather than the lucky few. It means leveraging free internet and devices to open up a world of learning. It means honoring a family’s right to know what’s working by tracking every dollar that’s spent on behalf of their children. And, most importantly, it means ensuring that every student is on the path to the career they choose so they can find their fit and live a meaningful life.
This week we focus on the first pillar in the Believe in Better framework–“The education that’s right for you”–by spotlighting the efforts to protect virtual learning options and direct more of the $192 billion in federal funding to families.
FROM THE FIELD
The GeorgiaCAN team celebrated the governor’s signing of SB 47, which expands the state’s special needs scholarship program. Kimberly Leftwich, a mother in Cobb County who has worked with GeorgiaCAN over the past year, spoke to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the importance of the expansion: “There’s a lot of kids falling through the cracks.”
DelawareCAN secured an important step forward for one of its policy goals when the Delaware General Assembly advanced a bill to the Governor which incorporates black history into school curriculum. The campaign was driven forward by graduates of DelawareCAN’s Youth Advocacy Council.
ConnCAN’s effort to diversify Connecticut’s teacher workforce took another step forward last week. With 34 votes in favor and only one opposed, the Senate advanced a bill to the House to help create pathways for more teachers of color. ConnCAN’s work to reform Connecticut’s school funding system also took another step forward when the bill was passed out of the full Senate.
The efforts of Transform Education Now to expand high-dosage tutoring across Colorado took another important step forward when HB 1234 was voted out of the House.
HawaiiKidsCAN’s David Miyashiro continues to make the case for a robust set of summer offerings for students, with interviews in Civil Beat and Hawaii Public Radio, where he also discussed his latest wins.
JerseyCAN has championed making tutoring a central element of the Garden State’s recovery plan, securing a key victory when the Murphy Administration included a robust program in its “Road Forward” initiative in February. Last week, it was announced that Katherine Bassett will serve as the inaugural director of the New Jersey Summer Tutoring Corps Program.
NewMexicoKidsCAN’s Executive Director Amanda Aragon was recognized as one of Albuquerque Business First’s 2021 Women of Influence.
Moment of Resilience
Eighty-nine-year-old Delores Spencer has been an educator since 1958 but her online tutoring sessions during the pandemic turned her into a viral sensation, driven in part by families’ increased connectivity through free internet and devices programs. “The virtual class on Facebook is free and has been viewed by students and parents both in the United States and in various countries worldwide. She even offers one-on-one sessions,” writes the Atlanta Black Star. You can watch “Mrs. Spencer’s Math Lab” every Tuesday on Facebook Live at 7pm ET.