Opportunity in Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the daily routines of nearly every American, including all 56.1 million K-12 students. As we move closer to the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, yes. every kid. believes every family and every kid deserves the flexibility and support necessary to address every individual student’s needs. The COVID-19 disruptions and the ways in which schools, districts, and states have responded, impact every child differently. To help families, educators, and school leaders respond, yes. every kid. has developed a COVID-19 Playbook, “Opportunity in Crisis.” The playbook consists of ideas that will arm parents with important questions and ideas, encourage school and district leaders to insist on more local autonomy, and provoke policymakers to recognize that the impact of COVID-19 on schooling requires bottom-up solutions and not one-size-fits-all, top-down mandates.
The needs of each state, community, school, and family will be different, and yes. every kid. is ready to help leaders find solutions that meet the needs of their unique circumstances.
1 Core Belief:
Every state, every local community and every family deserves the flexibility and ability to respond to schooling differently in the age of COVID-19. This isn’t a strategy, as much as an ethos embraced from day-one to trust individual states, districts, communities, schools and families impacted by COVID-19 and future flare-ups, and respect the individual comfort level of each student to attend or optout of in-classroom education.
3 Sample Policy Solutions:
- Provide funding resources directly to families, via education grants, stipends, or family-directed education accounts to help pay for courses, devices, connectivity, tutoring and other forms of learning as chosen by parents.
- Create safer, smaller schools for in-person learning through staggered schedules, reimagining when and where the school day takes place, and partnering with community organizations to allow for continued learning.
- Provide schooling credit for learning, wherever it occurs, through policies that allow students to earn course credit for learning opportunities that take place outside of their main school, including online or in-person, at places like Boys & Girls Clubs, 4H, music lessons, after-school clubs, etc.
5 Fast Ideas:
- Distance learning reciprocity allows students to enroll in online courses/programs approved by other districts and states.
- Gubernatorial discretion over federal funds to meet state needs and the permanent removal of top-down federal regulations, including standardized tests, arbitrary seat time requirements, and other top-down federal mandates.
- Rethink professional development through educator-directed training. Many educators have expressed being unprepared to meet today’s teaching challenges, especially in online settings. PD dollars should be shifted to educators to allow them to seek out the training they feel they need to better serve students.
- When it is safe to do so, allow teachers to offer mini-classrooms or micro-school settings to instruct and remediate students. Directly fund teachers from the state based on student enrollment in programs they offer.
- Provide school-level financial control to school leaders and unbundle funding formulas so funds follow students to the school, course, or provider where they are learning. Almost all funding formulas envision a world where a child is in one school for a specified number of hours, days, weeks, and months.
For more information and access to the full COVID-19 playbook click here.