Innovations in Education: Re-Imagining Education for a Big, Bold Future – Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

Innovations in Education: Re-Imagining Education for a Big, Bold Future

Prior to the pandemic, Kentucky was ranked 26th nationally on 4th grade reading proficiency; just 35% of Kentucky public school 4th graders scored proficient or above on 2019 NAEP reading tests. Kentucky ranked 39th on 8th grade math proficiency, with only 29% of Kentucky public school 8th graders scoring proficient or above on 2019 NAEP tests.

Inequities were also apparent in the delivery of education for students of color and low-income students, with vast differences showing through on state assessments between student groups. Over the last 12 years, from 2007 to 2019, our results have been stagnant for African American 4th graders, holding flat at only 14 percent at or above the reading proficiency standard on NAEP. Similarly, we have failed to deliver for African American eighth graders in mathematics. In 2007 and in 2019, only 11 percent were at or above the NAEP math proficiency standard.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid these inequities bare, not only adding another layer of inequity – the digital divide – but making it difficult to provide traditional instruction for the students who were  already succeeding, and nearly impossible to provide resources and adequate instruction to remediate the kids who were already behind.

“As we move into the 6th month of the pandemic and a new school year, innovations are being made to help ALL kids in each school and district,” said Prichard Committee President and CEO Brigitte Blom Ramsey, “but we must lift up those examples of innovations to create a truly equitable system when we emerge from this difficult time in our nation’s history.”

Re-Imagining Education

As we move into the 6th month of the pandemic & a new school year, innovations are being made to help ALL kids in each school and district. Sharing these examples will help create #equitywithexcellence for a #bigboldfuture!

Posted by Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence on Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Panelists explored the theme of re-imagining public education during the Prichard Committee’s latest episode of “Innovations in Education” this week. Panelists included:

  • Denise Forte, the senior vice president for Partnership and Engagement at The Education Trust.
  • Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), a non-partisan research and policy analysis organization developing transformative, evidence-based solutions for K–12 public education.
  • John P. Bailey, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), works on finding new ways to reskill individuals who have lost their jobs during times of economic disruption, whether because of normal business cycles, automation, or artificial intelligence.
  • Alex Spurrier, senior analyst with Bellwether Education Partners in the Policy and Evaluation practice area. Prior to joining Bellwether in March 2019, Alex worked as a senior data scientist at the Kentucky Center for Statistics.

“So many educators and students are rising to the occasion,” said Lake. “There’s a lot of latent problem-solving potential that we hadn’t tapped yet. We have to identify these innovations, adopt them, and move them.”

Key Takeaways

  • Forte said that a new report from The Education Trust shows that engagement in districts to students and families has increased rapidly in the pandemic. “It’s so critical that students know that they are still cared for in light of the pandemic. Any opportunity to engage students is so important,” she said, adding that the flipside is many districts are also reporting that they’ve lost from 10-20% of students and weren’t able to reconnect over the summer.
  • Spurrier and Bailey discussed the emergence of “micropods” – parents in local communities working together to provide home-learning and support for their kids throughout times of virtual learning. Spurrier pointed out that pods can be seen as inequitable, as parents from lower-income families cannot pay tutors or take time off work to help tutor their own children. He’s published an article about how pods can be more equitable. Bailey said, “Pods didn’t exist 5 weeks ago, and it’s too soon to say what the impact will be. They mean different things for different people.”
  • Lake addressed the challenge of student assessments, but said that results for will be critical in gauging where students stand academically. “Now is a really important time to think about how assessments evolve. Teachers and parents know that data matters. We need to use this moment to reinvent assessments so they are meaningful and powerful.”

Innovations in Education will return on Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. for a special episode during our Annual Meeting.

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